NCCU Professor Sandra Liu, Pepperdine M.B.A, Ph. D. University of London
The National Chegchi University IMBA continues to be one of the leading IMBA programs in Asia! We recently sat down with Professor Sandra Liu, Pepperdine M.B.A, Ph. D. University of London. Professor Liu worked as a senior executive in the Greater China region for both Bristol-Meyers and Allergan. Dr. Liu describes the benefits of NCCU’s IMBA.
About the IMBA: many people have an entrepreneurial bent – they want to start their own businesses. But, making a business succeed seems to be the hardest thing. What advantage does the NCCU IMBA give?
There are two aspects: one is the program itself, the programming of it. The other one is the courses that they offer. The programming, the way they have designed it, is to enable students to work across cultural boundaries – which is very critical nowadays that we are in the global village. So, the students – they are being cultivated, they are learning to overcome cultural barriers while they are working in groups, solving issues and so on. So that I like the way they have designed it and because of the reputation of the program, and also Chengchi University – their global education or international education is probably one of the best, if not the best. So, they have attracted very capable youngsters to come to the program. Therefore, the students coming here are able to expose themselves and work together with those people who are very capable, they have the global orientation and they have the entrepreneurial spirit – not necessarily all the orientation but, all the time, they are cultivated to become entrepreneurial-oriented. And they also provide the skill sets. So, I feel the programming is important, the brand is important – so that the students can learn from the best. That’s one side.
On the other side, I felt that the courses are very well-structured they were able to learn from the best – I’m not saying that I am the best, but at least my experience is that most of their instructors and professors were retired industrialists. And, they all have PhDs. So, in other words, they were trained with analytical and critical thinking. But, at the same time, they acquired a very broad scope and open-mindedness from their extensive real-world experience. So, I feel that the courses are really well-designed by individual professors and the individual professors have not only the academic know-how but also they have the real-world experience so they were able to bring the real-world examples and to work with the students and challenge them. So, as you can see, it’s not just a brand. I think that the brand has its personality; the brand has – it’s totally grounded in the quality of the academic pursuit. So, I think that the program is very good. And, I hope that this message gets out to the students.
How would you characterize the advantages a person from another country would enjoy getting an MBA in Taiwan at NCCU. Especially, in terms of their ability to do global commerce.
As you know IMBA is essentially a conduit for building a network. As this program attracts quality students and students from overseas they come here, and they are able to build solid networks with those people with positive outlook in their career. So, that’s important. The other important thing is really this academic institution has experience and it has also proven itself that they organize the activities well enough to suit the needs of foreign students. So, the foreign students here not only expose themselves to the academic learning but, then, at the same time really could have different cultural exchanges and even the environment, whereby they are able to learn the global issues and also share views with the local Taiwanese people. And, as you know, Taiwanese people are very entrepreneurial. Truly – very entrepreneurial. So, I feel all the foreign students coming here could be influenced with that kind of a spirit. This place it’s almost like a fighting field so they inevitably get to be cultivated with that kind of a sprit. So, it’s very helpful. And, also the language competencies of their colleagues are very good. You know, a lot of universities in Taiwan they try to change their programming and try to force their faculty to speak English. But, they don’t even speak good English. But, the teachers here they have overseas experience and I feel that their command of English is much better. So, the communication side is more productive.
And, that’s got to make it easier for someone coming from overseas. Again – if the teachers speak good English that makes it that much easier, right?
And, then, the students they can have better command of English so that they are able to exchange views in the class setting – that is also important. So, it’s just a very natural learning environment with English as the medium for instruction.
Which classes were you teaching at NCCU this semester.
I teach strategy and business modeling.
What three books that have been written for the popular market by academics since 2000 would you recommend people to read?
Alex Osterwalder – his work on business modeling. The beauty of his work – of course is everyone is talking about business modeling, canvas, the nine building blocks; the reason that his book seems to tell a good story and he provides good patterns is because that stems from his PhD work and he had conducted consultancy for over 1,000 companies and, so, he really had grounded knowledge in this area. I would recommend his book. And, of course, his second book is on designing the business models. So, those two consecutive books from the same author.
And, the other person I felt is also pretty revolutionary would be Chris Anderson – The Long Tail. That is also a very important book.
Do you think the Green Economy will offer opportunities for Private Development, State Development or a hybrid of the two?
The Green Economy. It has to be a part of all businesses. So, it is, now, we are experiencing the environmental change. But, as we all know, all businesses now are considered as social enterprises because all enterprises are challenged to have a triple bottom line. The triple bottom line is the three “P”s: the Profit, the People & the Planet. You really have to be concerned about the Social Value, you have to be concerned about Environmental Protection Issue. So, these – I feel that all companies will have to work on that. As you know, recently, the meeting, at the meeting, the Chinese government announced that they will be advocating the Carbon Footprint and its a requirement now. And, a lot of the accounting experts are trying to quantify how you are able to take these into consideration for their enterprise value. So, it’s here to stay and everybody has to be concerned about that.
Do you think the Green Economy will be privately led, government led or a hybrid of the two?
It’s a hybrid of the two because there are the policy reinforcements. Because people, you know, for the businesses, of course, now everybody is trying to advocate Corporate Social Responsibility, but, you know, most corporations are driven by profit. So, it’s inevitable that they will compromise certain aspects but, if the government were to have policies in place, and hopefully reinforce those policies, then that will definitely move enterprises in the right direction. So, it has to be a hybrid.