Molly Cruitt was WashU Olin's digital content specialist for nearly three years until late 2020. She is passionate about telling great stories and showing the lesser-known side of things. Molly holds a master of arts in communication from Saint Louis University and loves dogs, food, and crafting.
The conversation began with a discussion one might not expect in a business school: how did OJ Simpson get away with murder?
“The prosecution had their entire careers riding on this case. The whole world was watching, and they missed it,” said Liberty Vittert, professor of practice in data science, during a lifelong learning presentation to 140 virtual attendees last Thursday.
Vittert revealed that the crucial mistake the prosecutors and jury made was a misunderstanding of data that failed to see through the defense’s misrepresentation. While the defense emphasized that the likelihood of a woman dying at the hands of her abusive partner at one in 2,500, a statistic no one could convict with, that statistic refers to women who are living and their likelihood of eventual death. The case at hand involved a woman who had been killed, who’d been abused before her death: in that case, the likelihood of her abuser being her killer jumps to 90%. Had the prosecution noted this distinction, the defense’s case would have fallen apart.
For Vittert, the O.J. Simpson case is a striking example of what she tries to teach her students: data does not exist in a vacuum. Though she noted a recent tension between a reliance on data and a focus on human emotion, Vittert explained, “the future is about bringing them together.”
Vittert is a data scientist, first and foremost—“We can get incredible things from data. Things we couldn’t otherwise see,” she explained. “But that data won’t mean anything if we divorce it from human touch.”
For the majority of Vittert’s presentation, she focused on four key questions we need to ask if we want to understand a statistic.
The first thing we’ve got to determine, according to Vittert, is who this data is about—and whether that’s the same as whom we want to understand from the data.
This brings her back to the Simpson trial: the statistic presented by lawyer Alan Dershowitz was about women who are victims of domestic violence and their likelihood of dying at the hands of their abuser—but what the jury needed to understand was the likelihood of a woman who’s been killed having died at the hands of someone who’d abused her.
Once we understand the person, group or thing to whom the data refers, Vittert explained, we need to understand what we want to know from our data.
Referencing an explosion of headlines surrounding the role of chocolate in preventing Alzheimer’s in women, Vittert explained that the amount of chocolate one would need to eat to receive the study’s purported benefit from flavonoids amounts to twenty cups of hot chocolate per day.
“You have to think about what you really want to know,” she said.
A third crucial question posed by Vittert: how is the data presented? Vittert used the story of a finding that eating French doubled one’s chance of death. When presented in that way, the finding is shocking—but a deeper look revealed crucial elements to the case.
The study examined men aged sixty years old—who on average, have a 1% chance of dying. When those same men ate French fries or any fried potato three times per week or more, their death rate rose to 2%.
“That effect is still bad,” Vittert explained, “but saying that we move from a one to two perfent death rate sounds a lot different than doubling your risk of death.”
The final question Vittert posed is one with enormous consequences for data scientists and marketers: Why should we care? Though this question is important as a person examines data that’s laid out in front of oneself, it’s also crucial to the way we present data in an attempt to make an impact.
Referencing her own research on the Syrian refugee crisis, Vittert explained, “We have to turn numbers into something people understand—and something that matters to them personally.” That means breaking down a massive statistic that’s too complex for our brains to understand, and relating it to a personal, human touch point.
And that’s the most important part of studying data, Vittert says. “Data is the closest thing we have to a crystal ball—but we have to retain our own experience and our own intuition—to make sure we ask the right questions of that data,” she implored the audience.
“If we’re able to do that, we can use statistic to deliver true value in our personal and our working lives.”
Cozen O’Connor named trial lawyer and Olin alum Karl O. Riley, BSBA ’06 — who for the past two years has served as law clerk to the Honorable Johnnie B. Rawlinson at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, in Las Vegas — as the new office managing partner of its Las Vegas office. One of the first African Americans to be named office managing partner for an Am Law 100 firm in Nevada, Riley joins the firm as a member within the firm’s Commercial Litigation department. Additionally, Riley will be a part of the Labor & Employment, Class Actions, and Appellate practice groups.
As a clerk, he assisted with courtroom proceedings, conducted legal research and briefings and drafted bench and en banc memoranda, orders, opinions and memorandum dispositions. He also published opinions on matters ranging from antitrust, constitutional, immigration, criminal and environmental disputes to cases involving commercial, intellectual property, labor and employment, civil rights and habeas corpus issues.
Prior to that, Riley worked at Snell & Wilmer LLP in Las Vegas, where he advised and litigated on behalf of a range of corporate-level clients in the global telecommunications, e-commerce, retail, gaming, banking, and construction industries.
“Since we opened the office in 2018 our goal in Las Vegas has been to provide comprehensive, national representation to Nevada’s thriving gaming, technology, education, and real estate sectors,” said Vincent R. McGuinness, Jr., Cozen O’Connor’s president and managing partner. “As an attorney with clients in all of those industries—including several in gaming technology—Karl is the ideal choice to lead our Las Vegas office. I’m both pleased and excited he’s chosen to join our firm.”
“Karl brings to us impeccable credentials, both for his work with Judge Rawlinson and as a corporate trial lawyer,” added James H. Heller, co-chair of Cozen O’Connor’s Commercial Litigation Department. “His clients run the proverbial gamut and he represents them from complaint through appeal in federal, state, and appellate courts, and in arbitration. Suffice to say I’m very happy to welcome him to our practice.”
A previous chair of the State Bar of Nevada’s Young Lawyers Section and widely recognized as one of Nevada’s top up and coming lawyers, Riley has been named “Young Lawyer of the Year” by the State Bar of Nevada, a “Rising Star of Business” by the Las Vegas Business Press, and an “On the Rise” Top 40 Young Lawyer by the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.
“I chose Cozen O’Connor because I wanted to bring my practice to a full-service firm with a national litigation department. I can now provide a one stop shop for my clients regardless of the type or location of their dispute,” Riley said. “In addition, the firm has also fully embraced the legal profession’s diversity initiatives, which is not only important to me, but to my clients as well.”
It’s a familiar tune by now: We can’t host this annual event in person, so what do we do? Can we even have it virtually? What are we going to do?
Those were all questions Jackie Carter, Diversity & Inclusion Programs Manager, and WashU Olin’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee asked as they began to prepare for the sixth annual Diversity & Inclusion Expo. Typically held during the dean’s welcome back event, the expo brings together groups from Olin and throughout the university to showcase resources and ways students, faculty members or staff members can get involved with multicultural, justice and equity efforts.
Carter and her team’s decision ultimately came down to the importance of such an event for the WashU Olin community: “Diversity, equity inclusion work is not one-person work, and it’s not about just having affinity groups,” she said. And this experience was an opportunity to showcase the depth and the value of diversity and inclusion at Olin.
Over the course of 90 minutes, 18 groups opened Zoom meeting spaces as faculty, staff and students visited and learned about the resources and clubs they can get involved with.
For Carter, the annual expo is an important space for students, faculty and staff to bring their beginning-of-the-year energy and enthusiasm to get involved and learn about opportunities and resources they might not know about.
And for those who attended, that’s exactly what they got. Staff and students reflected on the experience:
“ I learned that the creation of space for faculty and staff voices to be heard came from years of them being silenced and not being heard. Finally, the administration realized that faculty and staff needed to be brought to the table, especially concerning HR issues and issues that are inherently unique to that population. It was good to know that faculty and staff are being thought about. In my previous position, that didn’t exist. Without a diverse workplace, diverse ideas and thoughts can’t emerge.”
“I had the chance to talk to undergraduate students who wanted to know how to engage with the Latin American community in St. Louis. It was refreshing to see people who wanted to connect, share interests and keep a positive attitude.”
Gabriel Samanez, MBA ’21, president, Latin American Business Association
“The Diversity and Inclusion Expo was a great opportunity to connect with students and faculty to share our plans for D&I work this year, and learn about what others are doing as well. We’re looking forward to partnering with other groups on campus to host events throughout the year that champion diversity and inclusion efforts.”
Alex Halfpap, MBA ’21, president, Olin Women in Business
“In times like these, Olin Black is a space for dialogue and action. We were excited to meet students and staff who are just as passionate about Olin Black’s mission as much as we are. In an hour and 30 minutes we were able to converse with admission personnel, recruiting coaches, and students who want to create a meaningful inclusive and diverse Olin.”
Fanta Kaba and Déjá Miles, officers, Olin Black MBA Association
“We showed our determination to continue the tradition of diversity at the Greater China Club.”
Lin Cheng, MBA ’21, vice president, Greater China Club
“I think this event was valuable because we are surrounded by diversity in our community and it’s our responsibility to keep pushing the needle in ensuring we are living equitable lives. The D&I expo helped to bring us together and showed that students in the community are committed to growing into well-rounded leaders who would acknowledge the diverse perspectives around them while creating an environment for equity and justice to thrive.”
Itohan Enadeghe, co-president, Olin Africa Business Club
Though this year’s event looked and felt different than previous years, Carter is pleased with the results—though she knows this event is just the beginning each year of developing relationships with students, faculty and staff who are determined to embrace diversity and inclusion.
“My hope for WashU Olin is that we can be a place of true inclusion and belonging. That regardless of my race, my background, my gender, I’ll feel a part of it,” she said.
“And that we can all understand that equality isn’t something being taken away from someone else. If I make something better for someone else, it makes the whole better.”
“Sixty-five years after Emmett Till’s death, we’re in the middle of this long summer of Black death. How did we get here?”
Vice Provost Adrienne Davis
On a Zoom webinar attended by more than 200 individuals, moderator Adrienne Davis, vice provost and director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity at Washington University, set the tone for an evening of frank and honest discussion on race. Davis reminded attendees of the upcoming 65-year anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till at the hands of white supremacists.
Moments earlier, Dean Mark Taylor had introduced the evening with a nod to Jacob Blake, a Black man shot several times by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and who lay in a hospital as the panelists spoke—one of countless recent victims of state-sanctioned racial violence.
So began the WashU at Brookings-hosted event, “From Ferguson to Minneapolis: Where do we go from here?” a conversation on race, values and equity in light of current events. Moderated by Davis, the event featured Missouri State Sen. Brian Williams and Brookings Institution fellow Andre Perry.
Williams represents Missouri district 14, part of St. Louis County. He is a member of multiple committees and serves as a board director for People’s Health Center, where he helped develop a behavioral healthcare center for children in underserved communities.
The conversation was far from theoretical; Perry and Williams both shared their own experiences with racial profiling. “If I take off this pin,” Williams said, gesturing to the lapel pin indicating his status as a state senator, “I’m no different than George Floyd, or Michael Brown.”
Perry agreed, sharing, “This is an ongoing conversation I have with my child, with myself. This is something that’s become a 400-year long epidemic, plaguing our communities.”
The theme of an epidemic echoed throughout the evening; Williams asserted that “racism, like COVID-19, is a virus that has yet to eradicate itself.”
Rooted in data
In addition to sharing historical information that contextualized the state of racial tension in the United States, Perry and Williams looked to concrete examples of the present-day roots of racism, and how those roots expand beyond racist attitudes or policing.
“This issue is bigger than police,” said Perry. “There’s nothing that says a Black person doesn’t belong in the economy more than a police officer snuffing his life out. That’s a values statement—and I’m glad we’re having this conversation in a business school. You can’t separate social and economic issues of racism: these attitudes are shared throughout all of society. They just look different.”
Perry cited statistics from his new book—including a study that controlled for education, crime and walkability—and found that homes in Black neighborhoods are undervalued by about 23% in the United States.
Looking to the future
When Davis asked what disparities each panelist would solve if they were given a magic wand, their answers were immediate. For Perry, it would be economic justice—which includes reparations, “not just because of the wealth it would create, but because it’s morally the right thing to do. We’re owed that money.”
Williams focused on education: “I would fully invest our public education system to ensure that everyone has a fair opportunity for a quality education.”
Though the topic was tough, the evening inspired hope for a brighter future. “I’m feeling hope in a way I haven’t before,” said Perry. “What’s new right now, is I’m seeing young people of different races and people from around the world demanding change.”
William shared his plans for a comprehensive police reform bill, introduced as Senate bill 16 in the Missouri legislature—and reminded viewers of their civic duty. “It’s time to turn that energy into action—and we do that at the ballot box. This isn’t about you or me. It’s about the future we want for our families and communities.”
Perry encouraged participants to get involved with an organization focused on racial justice—and make realistic steps toward making a difference. “Being remarkable isn’t about you—it’s about joining a remarkable movement.”
Richard Xie (BSBA ’23) received an honorable mention in the 2019-2020 Dean James E. McLeod First-Year Writing Prize for his essay, “Campus Diversity: Chinese International Students amid American Exceptionalism.” Xie was one of more than 100 entries. This is the first year the award is open to non-Arts & Sciences students, and the sixth year the competition has been held. A ceremony will be held in the fall to honor Xie and the other winners. Xie’s essay follows in its entirety.
Campus Diversity: Chinese International Students Amid American Exceptionalism
In 2018, Chinese international students accounted for roughly 30% of all international student population in American colleges (Han), which makes this group the largest among all international students. Correspondingly, Chinese students, through tuition fees, room and board, and other consumptions, contribute an equal proportion to American GDP, approximately 9.8 billion dollars (Barta et al.). Despite coming in large numbers, however, this group of students does not seem to integrate very well in American society. Abelmann and Kang’s research on media portrayal of Chinese students highlights media’s negative reception of the students (385), and Heng’s research emphasizes that Chinese students feel un-welcomed and misunderstood by Americans (841). Perhaps the strongest evidence comes from Cheung & Xu’s research on Chinese students’ intention to return to China after graduation. Their results suggest that Chinese students who choose to stay in America do so because of better career development, and consider political and social factors far less significant as reasons to stay in the US (1619).
In some ways, these data seem to suggest that Chinese students come to the US mainly for financial benefit and professional skill development, and not for loftier ideals such as learning from the democratic system or the practice of free speech. Indeed, that is the rhetoric of certain media reports who portray the majority of Chinese students as passive diploma-seekers who, in return for their money spent on tuition, want only the coveted overseas diploma and work experience, and are hence uninterested in learning from the American values and political mechanisms. However, such narratives not only devalue Chinese higher education as inferior to that of the US, but also manifest a narrow perspective which says that the students from China come to the US for financial gains only (Abelmann & Kang, 392).
Unfortunately, when stories with a single perspective like “the Chinese are not interested in American culture” are told repeatedly, they tend to become facts. The American students who believe in this narrative will view their Chinese peers with prejudices they may not even know they have. In the words of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie, such a single story eliminates the possibility of a fair, well-rounded representation of the Chinese students. It ignores, as so many single stories do, another perspective which is the possibility that the Chinese may have come to the US with open minds, ready to embrace and learn from the American culture; yet they do not feel accepted, and find their values and belief systems underappreciated. As a result, they do not prefer the American society over that of China. While there may be other reasons that Americans overlook this possibility and instead opting for the “profit-seeking Chinese” model, this essay focuses on the argument that it is the belief in American culture’s superiority over all others that induce this single narrative. This argument is introduced as American exceptionalism by Suspitsyna and Shalka in their research (299); in essence, American students who hold this unconscious mentality may portray the Chinese difference in a negative light, and alienate those who seem unable to conform. Such beliefs limit the Chinese students’ expression of talent and skill because it does not foster a positive environment where their differences are valued.
Evidence of this belief can be found in previous research done on how American media reports view the Chinese students. Suspitsyna and Shalka’s extensive research focus on articles relating to Chinese international students that have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education (“the CHE”). Their work filtering through four years’ worth of the academic newspaper echo Abelmann and Kang’s finding that the US media tend to describe China and its citizens in a binary fashion (293). In one instant, the media portrays the Chinese students as beneficial to the US as a profitable market and friendly to American values, and in another the same demographic is seen as fraudulent in applications to college and a threat to the organization of US society. Ruble and Zhang, in their research, posit that the lack of real-life interactions makes it hard for Americans to learn much about the Chinese. With what little, and often exaggerated, information they have from the media, American students cannot possibly know all the fine nuances of the Chinese culture and learn about them as equal humans. As a result, American students can only assign various characteristics, or stereotypes, to people from that particular group (Ruble and Zhang, 32). Therefore, as Abelmann and Kang aptly put into words, “[the Chinese are] ‘superior and inferior’ to Americans but never comparable.” (385) This view of Chinese people puts the demographic on either end of the spectrum, yet it is quite unlikely that the Chinese culture is superior or inferior to the American in every way. However, the binary stereotypes constructed by the media are powerful enough to induce Americans to see the entire Chinese population in very narrow ways.
Further, Suspitsyna and Shalka argue that these views are mainly negative ones, a view in accord with Ruble and Zhang’s research, which indicates that negative stereotypes pacify human anxiety when interacting with a new culture (32). They raise the example of the stereotype of Asians being the “model minority,” a title that is deceivingly complimentary: although generally seen as equally successful, the Asian minority is not generally perceived equal in status by the white majority. This stereotype exists, Suspitsyna and Shalka argue (291), to highlight the attempt at imitating the American way of life. Jamaican sociologist Stewart Hall, in his lecture Negotiating Caribbean Identities, establish a similar point: the guest minority often attempt to assimilate to the host majority and can get very close without succeeding, that is, to be a part of the host culture (8). This imitation, however, serves to signify the superiority of the host culture, and by emphasizing the Chinese choosing to study in the US in increasing numbers, the media intends to elevate American superiority in education.
To give a more concrete idea of how much American exceptionalism is prevalent around where this paper is written, the author sent out a survey to American students at Washington University. From 38 responses, the survey seeks to gauge several indicators relating to stereotypes, attribution of causes to differences that exist between the groups, and overall implicit American exceptionalism from an American perspective taken on average.
First, the survey asks the participants to assign identity to stereotypes. By constructing two fictional characters Lily and Tiana, the survey gives them contrasting, stereotypical personalities. Lily is quiet in class, socially withdrawn, and congregates with Chinese students, while Tiana is more engaged both in class and socially, and congregates with American students. Participants, who are all American, clearly identify Lily as Chinese and Tiana as American, and believe that Tiana has a more pronounced American identity than Lily has a Chinese identity.
(1 = very unlikely, 5 = very likely, n = 38)
Lily is Chinese
Lily is American
Tiana is Chinese
Tiana is American
These results show that the average American student at Washington University agree with the stereotype of a disengaged Chinese student. This conclusion is further supported when the same participants are asked specifically on each trait: class participation and social cohorts.
(1 = very rare, 5 = very frequent, n = 38)
Chinese students in-class participation
Chinese students socialize with American students
Chinese students socialize with Chinese students
These results agree with the general stereotype above, which indicates American students at Washington University perceive Chinese students to be relatively quiet in class and self-congregating.
Based on the participants’ stereotypes, the author then measures to what degree the students at Washington University may possess American exceptionalism. The author does this in two separate ways: first, the survey asks if participants believe it is Lily, the Chinese stereotype, or Tiana, the American stereotype, whose behavior ought to change in order to promote diversity on campus. The author posits that if participants possess higher degrees of American exceptionalism, then as they believe American behavior is superior, participants will choose to change Lily’s behavior over Tiana’s, and that is indeed what it is found.
(1 = very unhelpful, 5 = very helpful, n = 38)
Chinese change behavior for diversity
American change behavior for diversity
Therefore, the results suggest that participants believe the Chinese have greater responsibility in changing their behavior to promote diversity. This is in close accordance with one article investigated by Suspitsyna and Shalka in the CHE. In the article called Selecting the Right Chinese Students by Jiang, the author argues that American universities ought to choose Chinese students who can contribute to a “thriving” campus community over those who present tangible differences. It is this similar call for acculturating to the US with the belief that the American way is superior that led to students who believe they do not need to change; it is the foreigners who should change in order to become more like Americans. Chinese students, who are new to the country, may find it hard to adapt straightaway, and may thus be marginalized and their talents nowhere to be expressed.
The second way the author measures American exceptionalism is through asking participants to attribute the difference to different skill levels of communication and cultural differences. The logic behind these two questions is that it is assumed that because American exceptionalism does not believe other cultures are equal but different, it is impossible to think that differences can be attributed to a different culture. In the eyes of American exceptionalism, American culture is the singular one existing. It is a lack of knowledge of the existence of other equally rich cultures that leads believers of American exceptionalism to conclude that any differences must be based on the same American cultural basis, yet derived from individual deficiencies. And that is indeed the case here.
(1 = very unlikely, 5 = very likely, n = 38)
Difference due to communication skills
Difference due to cultural differences
The difference exists; it is slight, however, indicating that Washington University students in general carry some cultural blindness, but are aware that other equal cultures other than American exists.
My research shows that American students at Washington University, overall, carry the stereotypes that are common to many American college students (Heng, 23; Ruble and Zhang, 32), and they have traces of American exceptionalism as defined in this paper. They are not extreme in their stereotypes and beliefs, indicating that they are aware of differences of cultures. Nonetheless, the belief that differences are due to deficiencies, as well as the expectation for Chinese students to acculturate, contribute to a decrease in the minority’s willingness to communicate, and thus both parties do not realize the potential of an international exchange.
Now, both previous and my research shows that Chinese students, though seen as hardworking and smart, are not very outspoken (Suspitsyna and Shalka 291; Abelmann and Kang, 388; Ruble and Zhang, 32). This can be understood as Chinese students arrive at a completely new and different cultural environment. It is natural that, when faced with a challenging new environment, people are more hesitant to reach out due to perceived unpredictability and anxiety (Ruble and Zhang, 31). As Heng’s research states,
As [one Chinese international student] confided, ‘often times, we are really shy and afraid of a new environment, and we do not know how to initiate a conversation. If people can take the initiative, that would be really helpful.’ [Another Chinese student] also explained that her reservation in asking host peers out stemmed from a fear of rejection: ‘I do not know what are Americans’ thoughts of Chinese. They may think your English is bad so communicating with you is hard…. They may wonder: Why should I play with you, Asians?’ (Heng, 842)
Therefore, Chinese students who are new to America often lack the knowledge necessary to build successful social communication, and are likely to be less confident about themselves.
One way the Chinese students have been building their confidence is through the formation of ethnic enclaves. Such enclaves are usually believed by the majority as closed-off, secret societies that are hard to keep track of, and may present a threat to them. As a result, enclaves are typically portrayed as detrimental to the facilitation of diversity and are not worth investigating (Chen and Ross, 155). In Chen and Ross’s research on Chinese enclaves in American higher education, however, they examine deeply into the activities of the enclaves, and discover that it acts as a safe base from which Chinese newcomers can then choose to branch out of (167). According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, after satisfying one’s physiological needs (needs for food and shelter), one looks to satisfy the needs of love and belonging. These needs are characterized by friendship and family. To Chinese students who are new to the American culture and college campuses, therefore, their most immediate and comfortable source of companionship and family most likely come from other Chinese students (Chen and Ross, 168).
As a result, by providing such psychological basis for new Chinese students, enclaves effectively satisfy these students’ psychological needs. According to Maslow, only once the psychological needs are satisfied, that is, only once people feel supported and belonged, will they go on to look for achievement in the general sense (in classes, in social relationships); they will also now look for respect from other people. So the enclaves prepare the students as they are now equipped to go on further and explore the strange world that is the American campuses. To further illustrate this point, Mallinckrodt and Wang, in their paper Acculturation… of Chinese/Taiwanese International Students, interprets Ainsworth’s famous “Strange Situation” experiment and concludes that people who are more securely attached, that is, people who have a more stable and strong relationship with a safe haven, are likely to explore strange environments more extensively (421). In this analogy, then, strong ties to ethnic enclaves enable Chinese students to explore and better expose American students to their unique values.
Another way with which Chinese students can build their confidence is through serious leisure activities, according to Lee, Sung, Zhou, and Lee’s research. Such activities, which are time-consuming and organized, help participants hone their skills and meet similar hobbyists, thereby building a sustainable social network. An example of serious leisure activities taken up by Chinese students at American colleges is intramural sports. Members of intramural sports teams often share information actively outside of the sports context, which helps to build a small circle of friends. This circle of friends then is able to provide social support, which is shown to be significant in school adaptation, both academically and socially (Lee, Sung, Zhou, and Lee, 203).
Therefore, this paper seeks to assert several interrelated points. Going back to the start of the paper, it is shown that American exceptionalism, the belief that the American way of life is the best in the world, ignores other cultures that are equal in quality yet different and hence hinders learning when they meet, as it happens on American college campuses between Chinese international students and local students. It follows that, to facilitate diversity is not to promote homogeneity and adherence to the host culture, but to effectively encourage local students to recognize the value in other cultures and promote them to accept differences and inquire about them instead of ignoring them.
Chinese international students, as newcomers to the US, often require psychological assistance, and such assistance may be procured from fellow Chinese students in ethnic enclaves established on campus. Such enclaves often succeed in building a family and giving a sense of belonging to the international students, which builds confidence for them to explore the new setting.
Ethnic enclaves are not the only solution to address Chinese students’ needs in the US. There are other viable options such as intramural sports and group work in classes. As the overall organizing and governing body, the universities have the capability to give the new Chinese students something beyond the physiological needs. New students are often shy and self-conscious, hence a sense of belonging is significant in helping them become comfortable with who they are so that they are more confident expressing their differences. It is emphasized once more that differences represent value, not deficiencies. And it is through supportive networks and atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement that the value will be given its chance to improve campus diversity.
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Barta, Patrick, et al. “How International Students Are Changing U.S. Colleges.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 2014, graphics.wsj.com/international- students/.
Chen, Yajing and Ross, Heidi. “‘Creating a Home away from Home’: Chinese Undergraduate Student Enclaves in US Higher Education.” Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 3/2015: 155–181
Cheung, Alan Chi Keung and Xu, Li. “To return or not to return: examining the return intentions of mainland Chinese students studying at elite universities in the United States”. Studies in Higher Education, Vol. 40, No. 9, 1605–1624, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2014.899337
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“Suppose you’re a client advisor in the UBS wealth management team. How would you manage your client’s USD 2 million assets based on medium- and long-term investment objectives?”
Throughout the online competition, Jin learned to use UBS’s framework to create a financial profile for her theoretical client, reflecting on the particularities of the wealth management industry in China and experiencing a global perspective for wealth allocation. Jin had two weeks to create and present her solution.
Jin knew competing in this challenge would give her an experience she couldn’t get elsewhere. While she had a strong background in global marketing and accounting, this gave her the opportunity to see the Chinese markets first-hand.
“It was a great learning opportunity,” Jin reflected. “It pushed me to learn more about career options in this field, and it showed me the bright future of the wealth management industry in China.”
Jin credits her focus on visualization, details, innovation and feasibility for her win—from presenting within the brand guidelines UBS would use with a traditional client to fully considering risk levels and objectives.
Olin values this opportunity for our students and young alum to study China’s market from a unique view of UBS, which is a key player in the wealth management industry. WashU and Olin has dedicated resources to bridge students/alumni with global learning and career development opportunities. We welcome and look forward to continuing working with UBS and other top firms in China.