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“Wealth without virtue is no harmless neighbor.” -Sappho
How businesses and corporations balance the virtue of giving back and profit-seeking is one of my greatest fascinations. For example, the American company Tom’s donates a pair of shoes for each pair sold. Other companies with less socially responsible business models, according to Elizabeth C. Economy’s The River Runs Black, led to environmental degradation in China, public health issues, social unrest, economic loss, and eventually the environmental protection of economically important regions and damages in others. How do companies strategize, allocate resources, and analyze consumer behavior to benefit both the company and the community? How do managers in regulatory economies balance profit and damage to the environment and company reputation? I am interested in exploring the opportunities and pitfalls of sustainable business and learning about the complexity and linkage among business functions and the community. Therefore, I am interested in the Applied Economics and Management major, with an Applied Economics or Strategy concentration, and possibly a minor in Development Sociology.
My interest in management solidified when I started my own Food for Hire community service project for DECA, an international association of marketing students. Heading up communications and operations, I contacted different shelters and smaller grocers to join the system of transportation of produce I created. During the start-up phase of the project, I researched and analyzed each company’s unique profit standing and structure to estimate its level of participation. I coordinated with numerous organizations, developed a system for training volunteers, and maintained communication with my school’s administration, volunteers, and all the organizations involved. Through this extremely hands-on business experience, I was able to apply foundational concepts to analyze business situations and problems. I began to establish a more critical stance towards management and ethical principles associated with business.
I learn best with examples and participation. I am excited to evaluate publicly traded corporations and conduct case study analysis to master foundational business concepts in the Business Management and Organization course. Drawing cases from small business scenarios, the public policy area, and the corporate settings, these labs and applied practices will allow me to become a more well-rounded corporate manager who moves the company to benefit the cash-flow, the shareholders, and the community.
In my hometown in Taiwan and other parts of China, numerous areas have to bear the horrendous consequences of greedy companies that have no concern for public health or the environment. This past August, sodium cyanide explosions in Tianjin exposed 700 tons of highly toxic substances, killed 114 people, and damaged 17,000 homes. The consequences are horrifying enough without considering the long-term environmental and health issues. Often enraged at these ridiculously irresponsible companies, I hope to take my knowledge from my adventure at Cornell and integrate it with my own or other companies, creating socially aware business management plans.
One of the things I cherish most is a thoughtful conversation – with teammates, friends, strangers, family, professors, and anyone with experience or expertise. Since the AEM major has fewer than 100 freshmen every year, I am excited to work closely with passionate peers to gain knowledge and develop mutual respect. We could talk about foreign privatization and its relation to emerging markets, international transmission of U.S. monetary policy, and countless topics I am eager to explore. I want to be part of these conversations and apply the knowledge to my research.
In the AEM major, the unique case studies and computer labs, the applied and hands-on business experience, the availability of research opportunities, the community of open-minded people eager to learn, and the loaded conversations with friends, business experts, and professors will empower me as a well-rounded businesswomen and social worker. I hope to take advantage of these opportunities, and many others that I may encounter, and balance the virtue of giving back and making profit in the future.
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