What has been your career path leading up to your current position?
After finishing my bachelors in advertising, I decided to move from China to Belgium to continue my education there. I hold three master's degrees (Statistics, Business Economics, Cultural Studies) from KU Leuven, and obtained my Ph.D. in Communication Science from Ghent University in 2017.
Despite pursuing a Ph.D., I never saw myself going into academia. I always pictured myself working in the industry, which is why I did a master’s in business economics while I was working on my Ph.D. However, a colleague of mine managed to convince me of all the benefits that come with working within academia. Being a researcher means that you have a lot of freedom to schedule your own time and work, and this is something that I really appreciate. Today, I can't picture myself working a normal 9 to 5 job.
After I had obtained my Ph.D., I went back to China to work as an Assistant Professor at Peking University HSBC Business School (PHBS). After many years abroad, it was nice to finally come home to family and friends. The work environment at PHBS was also very nice, we had good research funds, and the research environment was great. However, when Covid hit I got a bit depressed. We were in a lockdown situation without the possibility to go anywhere. I wanted to go back to Europe, and started applying for positions abroad. This led me to my current position as an Assistant Professor here at BI!
What are your current research projects?
Since starting at BI, my research has mainly been focused on consumer technology interaction, such as chatbots. One of my favorite ongoing projects investigates how consumers perceive a human working with another human, versus a human working with a robot.