Ten Questions - Lydia Price

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Lydia Price is the academic MBA programme director at Ceibs business school. She began teaching at Ceibs as a visiting professor in 1996 before joining the faculty full-time in September 2003. Previously, she worked as an assistant professor of marketing at HKUST and Insead. She has also been a visiting professor at Beijing University, New York University, and the Catholic University of Lisbon, Portugal.

Prof Price has a PhD from Columbia University. Prior to taking this, she worked in retail management and marketing research in the US. Her current research focuses on marketing and corporate communications and cross-cultural consumer psychology.

Prof Price grew up in Rockaway, New Jersey in the US and now lives in Shanghai, China. She is an avid reader and enjoys performance arts, and an active mother of a six year old, a dog and a hamster.

1. When did you know you wanted to teach?

In many ways I have been heading for a teaching career my entire life. I was a retail manager at the age of 17, and I was already coaching new staff to take on more management responsibilities in the store. So I guess you could say that I began my work in management education at that time.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

There are many, many great things about my job. I work with very talented people every day, and I take great satisfaction from watching young people mature and move forward. I also love the academic environment that allows you to pursue your special interests and try out new ideas in the classroom and in research.

3. What is the best advice given to you by a teacher?

Early in my teaching career a friend who is an excellent teacher told me to stay off the pedestal in the classroom. His meaning was that I should stay close to the students and act like a coach and facilitator of their learning rather than raising myself up as an expert who knows more about business than they do. This advice has served me well.

4. What is the worst job you have ever had?

One of my very first jobs as a teenager was in telephone sales. My task was to identify leads for the field sales team, so that they could visit homes and make a pitch for aluminium siding. After only a few days of cold-calling people, who regularly hung up on me, I gave it up.

5. What advice would you give to women in business?

My advice is to seek balance, get help, and avoid regret. It is very challenging to juggle the demands of a family and a professional career. It requires discipline in time management and a willingness to simply let some things go. I always feel that I should be spending more time with my family and more time with my job. But I don’t do regret.

6. What is the last book you read?

Factory Girls by Lesley Chang. It explores the lives of young women who migrate from the countryside to China’s southern cities in pursuit of a better lifestyle and economic gain for themselves and their families.

7. What inspires you?

I’ve discovered that I thrive on change, and pulling order out of initial disarray. Even in my early retail work experiences I was tagged as a troubleshooter, sent into problem stores to retrain the staff, establish new working procedures and turn the place around. So I guess I am inspired by the challenge of shaping raw potential into something substantial and recognised by others for its quality and clarity of impact.

8. What is your earliest memory of school?

My earliest memory is from kindergarten, trying to read my name from one of my drawings hanging on the wall of the classroom so I could write it down on my current assignment. I was supposed to be able to write my name by myself but I lagged the rest of the class in this. I suppose I was embarrassed, which is why the memory stuck with me.

9. What would be your plan B?

I like to work in a dynamic but nevertheless rigorous environment that involves people, so maybe independent consulting would be a good path for me. I love marketing - my chosen field of excellence - so a marketing job in a fast-moving environment would also have appeal.

10. How do you deal with pressure?

I am most susceptible to time pressure, and I have to admit that it does lead me at times to be impatient and snap at people who are moving too slowly for me. I deal with it by prioritising everything at work and home, and managing my schedule so that top priority items always get the time they need. I’ve learned to let other things go, even if I think at first blush that they are important. I’ve also learned to say ‘no’ more often when others ask me to take on additional tasks. I still say ‘yes’ more often than I should for my own peace of mind, but I’ve gotten better over the years.

Compiled by Charlotte Clarke

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