Department of Communication and Culture

Employee interview #8 Shubin Yu

Shubin (Lance) Yu is an assistant professor in digital communication. His research fields include marketing communications and consumer-technology interaction.

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. 

"Our findings show that when a human and robot work together, the consumer likes the human more than if there were two humans working together. In other words, when a human is working with a robot, we actually show more positive attitudes toward that human. "

Shubin Yu

Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication and Culture

What makes your research meaningful to you?

I like to investigate new things that are not widely known, but have the potential to really affect our lives. How can we optimize technology to serve humans in the best possible way? How can we avoid negative consequences? These are questions that I am interested in answering. 

What is the biggest obstacle you've overcome in your professional life?

The first time I got a paper rejected I felt really frustrated. I saw the feedback as very harsh, and that made me feel terrible. Now I get rejected all the time and I’m completely neutral about it. In fact, I consider negative comments as the most useful ones!

Could you tell us about the courses you are teaching this semester?

I teach Cross Cultural Management and Human-Technology Interaction. I enjoy teaching a lot! My mind tends to get foggy when I spend too much time doing research, so teaching is a way for me to escape and recharge. I also gain new insights and inspiration from my students. 

Lastly, what is a fun fact about you?

I love gaming! My favorite game is the Chinese version of League of Legends. I used to play it a lot with my students in China, but they were really bad, so I had to teach them how to do it. In fact, I like that game so much that I wrote a paper about it.