Never Ending Beginning: See You in New York!

May 11th, 2014 by under China, Fashion, Fun and Fearless, Internationals at Smith, Say What MBAs Say, Uncategorized. No Comments.

A journey has no ending but new branches. Two years back to school has rejuvenated my lust for knowledge, my thirst for soul search, and my passion for life. I will continue my education in data analytics, fashion merchandising, textile design, and exploring cutting edge technology in fabrication and wearable geometry.

I came back to school yet defined; and I left the school forever undefined.

The most commonly seen Constants in my life: Re-definition, Female, and Chinese.

I am intrigued by infinity, and bored by mediocrity.

I push boundaries for Freedom, for Expression, for Dream.

I look at the world through the lens of Golden Ratio and Pareto Principle.

I am about to embark on a journey of uncertainty. If you enjoy reading my often insanely honest thoughts, follow me on Tumblr at chercherboutique.tumblr.com.

See you in the future, where I am a Blogger, Editor, Buyer, Analyst, Fashionista, Deep Thinker, Soul Searcher, Founder and Ball Buster…

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Are You Likely To Become A Victim of Academia Bullying?

May 4th, 2014 by under Internationals at Smith. No Comments.

I have been doing my research on academia bullying and found this website really useful.

Below is an exert from an article of Who Gets Targeted by Bully and looks like I fit into the categories pretty well, which is also a compliment I think.

http://www.workplacebullying.org/individuals/problem/who-gets-targeted/

Targets are independent. They refuse to be subservient. Bullies seek to enslave targets. When targets take steps to preserve their dignity, their right to be treated with respect, bullies escalate their campaigns of hatred and intimidation to wrest control of the target’s work from the target.

Targets are more technically skilled than their bullies. They are the “go-to” veteran workers to whom new employees turn for guidance. Insecure bosses and co-workers can’t stand to share credit for the recognition of talent. Bully bosses steal credit from skilled targets.

Targets are better liked, they have more social skills, and quite likely possess greater emotional intelligence. They have empathy (even for their bullies). Colleagues, customers, and management (with exception to the bullies and their sponsors) appreciate the warmth that the targets bring to the workplace.

Targets are ethical and honest. Some targets are whistleblowers who expose fraudulent practices. Every whistleblower is bullied. Targets are not schemers or slimy con artists. They tend to be guileless. The most easily exploited targets are people with personalities founded on a prosocial orientation — a desire to help, heal, teach, develop, nurture others.

Targets are non-confrontive. They do not respond to aggression with aggression. (They are thus morally superior.) But the price paid for apparent submissiveness is that the bully can act with impunity (as long as the employer also does nothing).

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Happening Now: What If You are Bullied by A Tenure Professor?

May 4th, 2014 by under Fun and Fearless, Internationals at Smith, Say What MBAs Say. No Comments.

That’s because in an administrative role, a bully has the power to make decisions about the target. Part of it is the unique nature of higher education. The tenure process is different than any other environment. Administrators in academia have power over colleagues, and sometimes that power causes them to bully their subordinates.

Dear readers,

It has been six months since I have unfortunately become a victim of a major free-riding and academia bullying incident. I was lucky that the school authorities have received my allegations and started investigation into these issues. However, because of the sensitivity and complexity of the situation, it will be difficult for the school to arrive at a decision promptly enough to the closure of the event – grading.

For the first time, in my life, I have to ask that question: what if you are bullied by a tenure professor?

I also realized that situation can be worsened to an extent that I need law enforcement intervention and I am doing research now and seeking support from external parties. If you have a tip of how to deal with and protect myself from a bullying tenure professor, please send me an email to yang.zhao@rhsmith.umd.edu.

Meanwhile, I found this article really encouraging:

Being Bullied Isn’t Just for Students: Bullying Said To Be Up Among College Faculty

 

 

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Eureka

May 3rd, 2014 by under Fun and Fearless, Internationals at Smith, The Smith Experience. No Comments.

I woke up and the Eureka moment came: let me be zen, be peaceful; don’t react, act; let me put up my fire, and flow like water.

Let me be water, so I can absorb and witness quietly; I can connect, merge, and swallow the fires, mountains, and wave to the sky; maybe one day, I will color the world, like water has colored this planet.

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6 Facts and 6 Questions for Business Women Wanting to Break into Fashion

April 27th, 2014 by under Fashion, Fun and Fearless, Internationals at Smith, Say What MBAs Say, Uncategorized. No Comments.

FACTS

1. Fashion is a shitty industry unless you love it.

2. Fashion pays poorly. Director of Marketing Analytics at Bloomingdale’s is paid $120k, and for smaller retailers, you will not get $60k until you hit director or VP level.

3. Fashion doesn’t give a ***** about your business degrees. An MBA means nothing to them.

4. It’s extremely likely you will get half of the average pay of your MBA classmates at the beginning of your fashion career.

5. If you want to do serious fashion in the U.S. New York is the only place, not one of a number of options. L.A., Chicago, DC all have fashions, but not fashion fashion.

6. Most fashion industry people can not afford what they wear. They are sponsored and they wear freebies.

QUESTIONS

1. Are you ready for an unpaid internship?

2. Are you ready to accept a lower than expected package even you know you are worth more than that?

3. Are you willing to roll your sleeves and do all the dirty work such as cleaning the sole of a pair of pre-loved shoes?

4. Can you stand it that there are a bunch of rich people who do fashion just for fun while it’s your career and you are making a living out of it?

5. Are you willing to deal with drama such as customers who are addicted to free return policies?

6. Are you willing to take on a path with no return and give up your plan to back out and resume a corporate job as a consultant or a marketing specialist?

If you understand all the facts and answer yes to all the questions. You will make it in fashion.

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How Far East Can You Go Before West?

April 15th, 2014 by under China, Fashion, Fun and Fearless, Internationals at Smith, Say What MBAs Say. No Comments.

Count down, retrospect, and celebrate a closure and the new start.

When I was approached by prospective students, about school, MBA, life as an international student, the first thing I often told them was “I might not be the right person to talk to.”

I am not a typical MBA. I struggled, and I chose to stay atypical. “It takes nothing to join the crowd, but everything to be alone.”

I don’t do traditional text based cover letter; I don’t send resume to companies or connect with HRs. Instead, I do an infographic CV and I talk to co-founders and CEOs.

I no longer look for a job. I look for like-minded people to create my job.

I have no concentration or track. I do fashion merchandising, entrepreneurship, graphic design, data analytics, marketing strategy, and consumer insights. They are equally weighted to me.

I have no Plan B. I have no alternative. I have no choice but to stick to my passion and indulge my rest of life in fashion + technology + e-Commerce.

How far east can you go before west? Assume the globe is round or flat, everything will eventually loop up together. My heart triggers my passion, my passion pushes me forward, my forwardness opens doors, and doors reconnect my heart.

Two years of MBA allows me to stop, make mistakes, retrospect, learn, get up, and take a fearless path that is no return. And that’s one of the biggest and fortunate transition of my life so far.

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The Profile of A Free Rider

April 12th, 2014 by under Fun and Fearless, Say What MBAs Say. No Comments.

Never try to debunk a free rider. Identify and avoid a free rider before it’s too later.

MBA is neither heaven nor hell; your classmates are neither angels nor devils. If you want to improve your life and learning experience, try to avoid common free riders and academic parasites, and you need to get to know them first.

Despite a relatively small sample size, most free riders I’ve encountered so far share the following commonalities.

  • Most likely it’s a he, but sometimes, it can be a she.
  • Most likely good looking, charming, and very if not overly personable.
  • He or she leaves almost perfect first impression, often striking you as quick-wit, honest and innocent.
  • He or she makes a lot of upfront commitments.
  • Endowed with talented public speaking skills and enjoys speaking in public.

Ouch! There are plenty of nice and wonderful people like that! Don’t worry, there are traces you can track.

  • Growing more charming and personable in front of bigger groups, authorities, and seniority.
  • Overly eloquent but what he’s just said doesn’t make a lot of sense. (If you are smart enough to realize that…)
  • Most likely a qualitative person and doesn’t sign up for a lot of quantitative courses.

Free riders are known for their ability to free ride without being held accountable of. Trust me. Don’t try to debunk a free rider, just avoid them.

And voilà! Count down to graduation!

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Algorithm Pranks

April 5th, 2014 by under Fun and Fearless, Say What MBAs Say, The Smith Experience. No Comments.

As my affair with data anlytics continues to unfurl, I realize that data and algorithms are naughty and if not handled properly, they are trouble makers. Even those self-claimed data masters have their awkward moments and let me list just a couple that I’ve witnessed recently.

  • Amazon and its recommendation system

Admittedly, I fancy some exotic exercise, such as….pole dancing. Seriously, you get some comfortable stretches through practice which also makes you feel more confident about yourself. So I bought a portable dancing pole through Amazon to skip the crowded studio pole sharing scenes. A week later, Amazon started to send me new recommendations based on my “historical purchases and items I’ve owned”, the highlighted feature recommendation was a pair of silver NIPPLE RINGS! As astonished as I was, getting to know there is a type of product called nipple rings on earth, I wondered what algorithms Amazon’s recommendation system used to jump to the conclusion that me a dancing pole buyer would need nipple rings. Seems to me there is a pretty strong correlation coefficient between “dancing pole” and “strippers”.

  • Pandora and its customized ads

Admittedly, again. I fancy some 90s-00s Hip Hop and R&B. While I’m playing my classic 90s Hip Hop mix on Pandora, I am forced to listen to this ads that basically urges black women to purchase an in home HIV test as they are a particularly vulnerable group to AIDs. So again, another strong correlation between “female”+“90s Hip Hop” and risk of AIDs infection.

While I write these little incidents out rather light-minded, I feel offended by the inherent stereotypes the collaborative filtering system has been coded in predicting customer needs. By far, algorithm still falls short in recommending real custom fit contents, due to the fact, which I believe, of the gap between understanding the complexity of consumer behavior and normalization of certain segments.

Outliers that we often choose to neglect have strong story-telling power, also a secret key to unveiling a hidden new segment.

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Reaching Out II: Beauty Doesn’t Feed You. You have to be beauty.

March 4th, 2014 by under Fashion, Fun and Fearless, Internationals at Smith. 1 Comment.

“God gave you the shoes that fit you, so put ‘em on and wear ‘em
And be yourself, man, be proud of who you are
Even if it sounds corny,
Don’t ever let no one tell you, you ain’t beautiful…”

-Eminem, Beautiful

I came back from Harvard Business School for an annual retail and luxury goods conference and I feel better about myself.  I met some awesome like minded speakers and made some tangible connections that might potentially lead to more open windows.

I came fully ready to challenge the elite ego and I considered myself successful.

I feel slightly sad for people at Harvard that many of them were too obsessed with “status” to ask a risky smart question. I fully understand their insecurity that they had to build a wall against the “non-elites” by not making eye contacts or talking back to non-Ivy Leaguers.

I also know that not all HBS students are like these. The co-founders of the company I am interning in are those humble, smart HBS women that everyone enjoys working with.

To quote Lupita Nyong’O: You can’t eat beauty. Beauty doesn’t feed you. You have to be beauty.

Money. Fame. Status. All the things that can be easily taken away from you can’t feed you. You have to someone that can’t be stolen and again feel proud about yourself.

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Twitter – The Hidden Weapon of Job Hunting

February 12th, 2014 by under Fun and Fearless, Internationals at Smith, Say What MBAs Say, The Smith Experience. No Comments.

twitter-job-search

 

I am very slow when it comes to the adoption of social media related technology. Most people choose to have a user name or a herd of followers as soon as a new thing comes out; I would rather wait until I make sure it is not something like Facebook that feeds you with semi-garbage information. That does not justify that I just registered Twitter and had only 21 tweets and 9 followers.

However, a purely unexpected incident changed my entire view of Twitter and led to new discovery of techniques in job hunting.

I bought a Chanel bag from an online marketplace X and made a comment on its user experience via Twitter.  I assumed that’s how we use Twitter, we tweet things we think about. And then I realized the Founder and CEO of X followed me and private messaged me inquiring for what user experience failed to fulfill my needs. And it was the CEO himself, not some copywriting agencies.  He asked me if I could write him an email and I did and the next thing was I added him on LinkedIn.

What are the rare chances of getting connected with a CEO in real time through online exchange? Well, of course, the comment I made might get me stand out. I’m sure Twitter influencers get tags hundreds of thousands of time daily.

It struck me why not using Twitter to follow the companies and people you admire and reach out to them directly? We international students usually don’t get a chance to meet the hiring managers because HR people are the biggest hurdle. Why not use Twitter or LinkedIn to get around with HRs and talk to the people you wish to work with directly?

It’s just a start but I will share more as I myself exploring social media.

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