Qing Wang
Qing Wang: "I don't think women need to behave like men to be successful"

Qing Wang is a professor of marketing and innovation at Warwick Business School in the UK. She is also associate dean for internationalisation.

Prior to joining WBS in 2000, Prof Wang worked in the science and technology policy research department at Sussex University. She has also held visiting professor positions at several business schools, including Insead Singapore and Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management.

Prof Wang grew up in China and has a PhD. In her spare time, she enjoys racquet sports, singing, dancing and reading the works of ancient Chinese philosophers.

1. What does it mean to be a professor?

Asking lots of questions, finding answers to them and telling other people what you have found; influencing younger generations, business leaders and policy makers; being able to discuss academic matters with your own children intelligently and authoritatively; seeing your name in print.

2. What is an average day at work like?

I don’t have an average day. I travel abroad four to five times per year to attend conferences, meet co-authors or visit partner schools. When I am not travelling, I tend to go to my office three to four days per week and spend the rest of my time writing papers.

3. What do you enjoy most?

Teaching 18-20 year old undergraduate students. I feel I can relate to them. I also feel a huge responsibility educating young people like them as I want to give them a good foundation in life

4. Who are your business influences?

William Wilberforce, Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama. I also find myself moved by ordinary people doing extraordinary things. My late maternal grandmother, for example, had a stroke at the age of 60 and lost all feeling in the right side of her body. She then started to learn to use her left hand to write and continued to write to us regularly until she died at the age of 86. She remains the most beautiful and graceful woman I have seen.

5. What is the best piece of advice given to you by a teacher?

One good piece of advice was given to me by my mentor and dear colleague Keith Pavitt, a professor of science and technology at Sussex University. I was in my early thirties, full of enthusiasm and always looking out for opportunities and he quoted Louis Pasteur: ‘chance favours only the prepared mind’. I have benefited from his timely advice ever since: be as well prepared as possible in everything you do.

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

I don’t think women need to behave like men to be successful. To do this may give a woman short term advantage, ie in a male-dominated environment, she can be seen to fit in straight away by acting like a man. However, acting is acting; its shallowness will soon show through and you may lose credibility as well as self identity. If you are struggling in a job, don’t be too hard on yourself as maybe the timing is not right.

7. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?

Be yourself, be rational, be consistent, be well prepared, be willing to discuss and to listen and be friendly and pleasant.

8. What is the last book you read?

Thinking about leadership by Nannerl O. Keohane, the first woman president of Duke University.

9. What is your favourite business book?

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell.

10. What are your future plans?

I used to always have a future plan when I was in my twenties and even thirties. But I have started to focus on the present and have become happier and more fulfilled. It is important to be devoted to your current job. If you are good at it and doing outstanding work, new opportunities in life will present themselves when the timing is right.

Compiled by Charlotte Clarke

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