At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), a well-known U.S. university, North American red oaks line both sides of the campus. During the fall, their red leaves are like fire. Many students are enjoying the large lawn in front of the dome auditorium, sitting on the ground chatting or lying down to read or sun bathe, quiet and comfortable. Associate Professor Fang Yi Lo passes by them and smiles.
This is Fang Yi Lo’s second time at UIUC. She first came in 2007 when she received The Graduate Students Study Abroad Program, sponsored by National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) from the National Science and Technology Council as an undergraduate student. Twelve years later, she came to the University of Illinois for the second time as a Fulbright Scholar in 2019.
She went to UIUC twice because she loved the academic environment and atmosphere. Now, coming to National Sun Yat-sen University, it feels like she has found this for a third time.
“Champaign is a pleasant town to live in. It’s a university town without walls, and I think NYSYU is a bit like that,” said Associate Professor Fang Yi Lo.
Associate Professor Lo is a new faculty member of the English-taught Bachelor of Business Administration (IBBA) program at NSYSU’s College of Management for the 2023-24 academic year. She also teaches courses in the International Bachelor of Business Administration (IBMBA) and Global Human Resources Management MBA (GHRM) programs. Her research interests include international business management, strategic management, and organizational theory and management.
Associate Professor Lo has an impressive resume, with a PhD, many years of teaching experience, and now a faculty position teaching in English at the College. Read on to find out more about her life story!
Practical Training as a Doctoral Student – International Exchange
Expanding her horizons and improving her English and presentation skills
Associate Professor Lo’s master’s thesis, “The Relationships Between Sources of Competitive Advantages, Centrality, and Performance: In Healthcare Industry” explores the relationship between competitive advantage and hospital performance in emerging healthcare alliances. She was awarded the National Science and Technology Council’s 2002 Master’s Thesis Award, a scholarship designed to encourage master’s degree students to enroll in doctoral programs. With the encouragement and advice of her thesis advisor Professor Tzu-Ju Ann Peng, the academic skills acquired during her master’s program, and the support of the scholarship, Fang Yi Lo chose to enroll in the doctoral program of the Department of Business Administration at National Chengchi University, where her primary specialization was international business and her secondary specialization was strategic management.
Her time in the Ph.D. program was the foundational period for Fang Yi Lo to expand her horizons and establish international connections and experience. First, she actively participated in various international academic activities. “At the time, the domestic academic circle began to advocate going abroad and the trend was towards internationalization. By participating in international seminars, the international academic community of well-known scholars are right in front of you!” Associate Professor Lo said excitedly. She went abroad at least once or twice a year to participate in academic conferences, publish her research, visit scholars, and interact with overseas academic organizations to increase her knowledge and expand her thinking.
Second, by participating in international academic exchanges, she also improved her English language skills. “In the master’s program, I read stacks and stacks of English papers and writings which helped improve my English skills. With the guidance of my advisor, I also participated in an international seminar in Hawaii where I presented my master’s thesis research.” In the doctoral program, going abroad to participate in international conferences became a regular occurrence for her. Interviewing scholars and interacting with foreigners were all very beneficial for developing her English skills.
Third, the doctoral program has also allowed her to develop her presentation and teaching skills. Fang Yi Lo pointed out that the training of National Chengchi University’s PhD program emphasizes both teaching and research, and that teaching is her vocation. “No matter how profound the theories are,” she says, “if students don’t understand them, they can’t make use of them.” She said that instead of quickly going through ten deep theories in a superficial way, it is better to teach three theories in an organized and in-depth manner.
Fourth, when she went to the University of Illinois as a visiting scholar at the end of her doctoral program, she found that instructors abroad arrive before the students. “I took the early bus and entered the classroom half an hour before the class was supposed to started, and I couldn’t believe the teacher was already at the podium, saying good morning to me. I was shocked!”
Associate Professor Lo said, “This incident had a great impact on me.” She decided that when she became a teacher, she would make a habit of getting to the classroom early. She believes that it is the teacher’s responsibility to start and end class on time. When the bell rings at the end of the class, no matter how exciting the content is, the students will not be interested in listening anymore. Waiting until the following lesson is the best time for students to concentrate and absorb the most content.
Under the guidance of her advisors, Professor Chwo-Ming Yu and Professor Danchi Tan, Fang Yi Lo’s dissertation “Location-Bounded Advantages: Antecedents and Consequences” used case studies, questionnaires, and secondary data analysis to examine the reasons some multinational corporations are successful while others fail in their overseas operations. Some parent companies successfully transfer their advantages to their subsidiaries, while others do not. Why is there such a difference? The dissertation also gives recommendations for how to strengthen management systems in different regions in order to successfully expand their competitive advantages to different international markets.
Higher Education in Business Management
Learning and gaining inspiration from students
During the 16 years of Feng Chia University’s existence, Associate Professor Fang Yi Lo has served as the director of the Ph.D. program in business and as the vice executive director of the EMBA program at the Feng Chia University’s College of Business. The composition of the students in these two programs is composed of senior executives, entrepreneurs, and professional managers with many years of experience in the industry who wish to pursue further education, with the former being the highest degree in the field of business administration.
The students enrolled in the Ph.D. program in business and the EMBA program come from different fields and have different specialties. According to Associate Professor Lo, students can not only hear a lot of stories from various industries, but this diversity can also serve as case study material for the class and can even provide inspiration for her own life.
Associate Professor Lo says, “There are many outstanding entrepreneurs and managers among my students. One of the most impressive of them is Chia-Hua Tsai, a female manager who could be considered the best representative of female power.” Chia-Hua Tsai, who has been featured in magazines, is a factory director of Green Point, a cell phone component manufacturer owned by Jabil Circuit, a well-known American electronics corporation. She became the first ever female factory director of Taichung Green Point. Later, she was promoted to department head, in charge of several factories at the same time.
After starting as a work-study basic level operator, she left her hometown to go to Mainland China. Within one year, she made a big leap from finance, personnel, and general management to become the first female factory manager of the company, with her span of control reaching as high as 2,700 people.
Chia-Hua Tsai’s impressive advancement and success are thanks to her “working on the first floor of the factory, eating on the second floor of the factory, and sleeping on the third floor of the factory – spending all of [her] time living in the factory,” as well as enduring the high pressure and hard work of the production line.
Associate Professor Lo admires the spirit of this woman who can stand out in the male-dominated OEM industry and believes she deserved to be encouraged and learned from.
Having heard so many business stories, Associate Professor Lo emphasizes students’ analyzing case studies in her teaching. She says, “When students analyze cases, they need to practice data collection and integration analysis, and through understanding the cases, they can further absorb the theoretical logic and context of management.”
In particular, she encourages the many international students in her classroom to analyze Taiwanese companies. “You came to Taiwan to study, so of course you have to understand the Taiwan enterprises.” Therefore, some international students have chosen TSMC, Hon Hai, PX Mart, Uni-President 7-Eleven and other world-famous, well-managed enterprises as the subjects of case studies.
She spares no effort in serving as a “promotional ambassador” for Taiwan because, as she says: “When the international students return to their countries one day, they are likely to share with people back home that Taiwan has many companies with world-wide importance, such as TSMC, which is one of the top three semiconductor companies in the world. It not only allows foreigners to get to know more about Taiwan, but it also helps to publicize Taiwan in a positive way.”
Being Proactive and Diligent at Work and in Life
Recognizing how hardworking NSYSU students are
Associate Professor Lo often broadens her students’ horizons by taking them to visit world-renowned companies and organizations, such as Intel, one of the top three semiconductor companies in the world, and the headquarters and practice facility of the Denver Broncos, an American football team, as well as a fund-raising dinner for the Governor of Colorado.
During her second visit to the University of Illinois as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar, she was invited, through the support of the American Fulbright Scholar Program, to participate in a visiting scholar conference in Minnesota to learn about the development of Minnesota’s major industry, agriculture: its imports and exports, and the dilemmas that it is facing, as well as the ways that governmental entities are assisting in solving them.
In addition, visits to two universities were arranged, to the University of Minnesota, where participants discussed with local professors and bankers how to help the local agricultural industry, and to St. Olaf College, a small university which emphasizes research in specialized fields. The visits were an opportunity to develop collaborative research through in-depth exchanges with Fulbright scholars from around the world.
Besides being proactive in her work, Associate Professor Lo also integrates herself into local life. Her family lived in Champaign, Illinois, during her Fulbright grant, and her two daughters attended the local elementary school. In order to experience her daughters’ school life and to experience the cultural differences, she served as a volunteer at her daughters’ school.
Interestingly, when the American teachers saw that Associate Professor Lo was Asian, they immediately invited her and her husband to come and teach math to the children after school because of the stereotypical American impression that Asians are good at math. So, Associate Professor Lo took a break from being a higher education teacher of adults to devote herself to elementary education.
Now that she is in NSYSU, Associate Professor Lo praises the NSYSU students for their dedication and punctuality in attending classes. The greatest reward of being a teacher is not money or fame, but to see the students grow and improve. Associate Professor Lo says, “It makes me happy to see my students gradually becoming more responsible and independent.” Bravely accepting new knowledge and teaching in an approachable manner, Associate Professor Lo aims to implement NSYSU’s school motto of “Erudite, Interrogated, Deliberate, Discerning, and Persistent,” and will lead NSYSU students to view Taiwan from a global perspective, to connect with the international community, and to broaden their horizons.