I would like to apply for admission to the Ph.D. program in Management to support my lifelong pursuit of a career in Research and Management teaching. I have an interest in gaining knowledge in the performance of multinationals: To determine how competition, style of leadership, organizational structure, production arrangement, and their relationship with the local communities are affected by changes in the socio-cultural environment. To appreciate these concerns, I find it essential to have a strong ground in Economics, Business strategy, and issues related to the perspective of Operational and General Management
A Ph.D. program in Management with a bias in Organizational structure and Strategy change would help achieve this objective. Afterward, I would qualify with significant theoretical and statistical skills to analyze business issues. I would be in a better position to do research. In this regard, I would apply for a faculty position at a leading university to investigate management issues related to culture and its effects on the strategies, structure, and operational systems of multinational organizations
I am confident that my background in academics and management has prepared me for this career. Research has always fascinated me since I was a Law School student. This was where I first freed my mind to see a different picture of the world from what my twelve-year basic education had made me know. I learned new things, absorbed knowledge from great people and their works, and formed a way to think and differentiate many societal aspects from one another.
It was from this new experience that I sensed there was a problem in my country; farmers were losing their land for industrial development in the rural area around our University in 2001. However, most of that land forcibly acquired by the local government ended up lying fallow with only growing wild grass in it. Several questions nagged me. I wanted to know what caused that and whether there was anything that society could do to help those landless and jobless farmers.
In response, My 30 classmates and I organized to get the opinion from both sides. We set to interview those farmers in their homes and local government officials from 15 villages. From the data collected and some historical background research, we wrote a paper,” South Yangzi River Rural Area Land Study” which discussed the surface cause of the problem: The local government had mistakes in its economic development and land policy. The national ownership of land in China was our root concern. We gave suggestions to make laws and “red” policies to protect farmers’ benefits. This was judged as the best-presented paper at a Departmental Seminar.
During my brief two-year study at Law school, I wrote another paper, “Comparison-Economic Development and Environmental Protection in Tai Lake Area.” It was published in Soochow University’s Wangjiang Law School Academic Journal.
My second year in 2001 was my turning point. One day, I went to a Wednesday Public Academic Lecture on campus as usual. That time, it was delivered by Dr. Yang Xueyi, a former judge at Hong Kong High court. He made me understand how important it was for Chinese companies to protect themselves in this globalized world by understanding international business rules. Many listeners were shocked to learn that many Chinese companies were weak in protecting themselves with international law. It didn’t matter to me until I received a call two weeks later from my father. He ran a necktie factory that mainly exported her products to the US.
He had lost a colossal sum of money in those products the previous month when his overseas customer refused to follow the contract they had signed. He had to lower the contract price since the goods had already been delivered at a Miami port. I felt there was a need to know more about our international neighbors. That is why I joined the 1-2-1 Student Exchange Program and came to Troy State University in August 2001.
Studying abroad was not as easy as I had thought. In the first few weeks, I could not communicate with people in fluent English. I was not familiar with the culture of the States. I did not have a friend. I always felt there was a glass wall between me and other people. However, I kept telling myself, “that is why you are here!” In these two years, I learned how to manage my life efficiently. I worked hard in all my courses. My goal was to be the Number one student in my class, something which I achieved many times. My confidence, built up in my studies, gave me the courage to make friends from all over the world despite my poor oral English at that time.
I became a member of the Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM), joined the International Student Culture Organization (ISCO), and participated in the Foundation of Chinese Student Association (CSA) in 2002. That experience not only helped me with my English but also made me understand that becoming a good student with an excellent score was not enough. I had to learn how to be a good person, how to deal with people from different backgrounds, how to organize an event, and how to run a student organization. These lessons became my permanent wealth and memory.
I went back to China for my final year of study in 2003. Many of my classmates were surprised at how I had changed in just two years. I had changed from a typical quiet Chinese student to the most “aggressive student” in my class. I would always ask teachers questions to understand more in what we learned in class. My thesis for my undergraduate studies was on Management Buy out (MBO). It sought to indicate the problems experienced in the MBO process (In China, it is a process of moving the ownership of those public firms from the government’s hands to private management teams) and suggested ways to avoid them, such as taking public auction and bringing in a neutral Assets Estimation team.
Upon graduating from the university, I was offered a job with Cora-creation Ltd., a newly established multinational business trading firm. This is where I learned how to apply the principles and lessons of management in real life. During my first two-year working experience, one of the management problems in the company caught my attention: Her workforce diversity. Since it was a partnership firm co-owned by a Korean, an American, and an Italian and the rest of the employees, Chinese and Korean; there were frequent interpersonal conflicts in the top management team whose composition could have varying views on how to make things work right.
Communication problems within the middle level were also common. Additionally, most of the clients of the firm were from different parts of the world apart from China while all the suppliers were local Chinese businesspeople.
Sometimes I just felt it would be difficult for me to help clients and suppliers to understand one another’s viewpoints. For example, my customers always felt uncomfortable that their Chinese dealers kept asking them to drink alcohol at dinner tables. The Chinese, on their part, told me that those “Laowai” (foreigners) were unfriendly because they refused to “Ganbei” (cheers) or hug wine glasses with them. That firm collapsed two years later because of improper management of the diversity in her workforce and the shortcuts of the partnership model.
It may be said that hard times make people willing to work together break their union, but following the trend of current globalization, cases of people from a different cultural background working together as a management team will be more common shortly. As a challenge, it is important to study how multinational culture and social elements interact with management theory.
The failure of that firm put me at crossroads: I had to either apply for another job or pursue a masters’ degree. I was tired of my previous career so I finally decided to go back to school. Considering the beautiful memory I had before and the fact that it was cheaper, I chose to take the MBA program of Troy University. During this period, I was offered a Graduate Assistant position as a tutor of undergraduate students in Business Statistics, Managerial Finance, and Information systems.
I love the feeling to help and share knowledge with those who desire to know. I remember that smiling face of Holly when she ran into my office and told me she got an “A” in the Business Statistics course and thanked me for helping her. Perhaps it was at that time that I decided to take teaching as my lifelong career. I helped Dr. Fogelberg research intellectual property protection in developing countries especially China and India as well as the stock price of the high-tech companies. That was in summer 2006.
As an academic requirement, I had to finish the paper assigned by every graduate course. I accumulated some research experience although, at this stage, most of the work I had done was just a summary of what people had achieved in a certain area. My teacher once mentioned to me that a Ph.D. was a step further. I am ready to take that step.
After graduating from Troy University, I got a position as a research assistant in Sorrell College of Business at Troy University to work with research professors. I contributed to the electronic model of community economic analysis and data collection for the SE South Alabama Initiative project. As support to the newly established Confucius Institute (CI), the School offered me another position as International Business Coordinator. I am currently working with CI on a trip for local Alabama entrepreneurs to go to China next year. Working closely with those teachers and professors encourages me to become one of them strongly.
I would like to do a Ph.D. at the College of Business, Auburn University for many reasons. I have heard about Auburn’s Ph.D. program in management from my friend- a management Ph. D. student from Auburn and am impressed with the emphasis placed not only on scholarly research but also on practical application. The school’s strengths in organization studies, strategy, and change correspond with my research interests. The faculty’s reputation for excellent teaching, challenging coursework, and excellent facilities are added attractions.
I hope that the admissions committee finds my background and strengths commensurate with the requirements of Auburn University’s Ph.D. program in Management.