Chun-Feng (Cathy) Hsu
The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
Hometown: Taoyuan, Taiwan
Undergraduate School and Degree:
Carnegie Mellon University, Master of Information Systems Management (2009-2010)
National Taiwan University, BBA of Information Management; BBA of Accounting (2002-2007)
Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Senior member of technical staff – software engineering — Salesforce.com
Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Earnest, finance operations & engineering, intern
Scale Venture Partners, summer associate
Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided. Looking into startups
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School
Career Advisor (Startup & Venture Capital)
Co-Chair, Chicago Asia Pacific Group
Committee, Emerging Market Summit
Dean’s List (twice)
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Career advisor (Startup & Venture Capital)
Choosing a career path in startups and/or venture capital firms after the MBA is a non-traditional path. Throughout various coffee chats, information sessions and individual sharing sessions with current and incoming students, I feel I am helping them better prepare for recruiting and other upcoming challenges and to set the right expectations for them.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my last few months at Salesforce.com before business school, I worked with my team architect to build a real-time, omni-channel routing platform for the Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud product line, where I was in charge of architecture design and development. The platform now has been expanded to an official product line and is helping many companies better utilize their customer support resources to in turn provide improved service to customers. I feel I have made a great contribution to help people do their work more effectively and to make people happier in the world.
Who is your favorite professor? Marianne Bertrand’s class, The Firm and the Non-Market Environment, addresses firms’ performance from non-traditional perspectives, including regulations, law, activists, etc. and engaged students on how these non-market factors play an increasing role on organizational success. The case studies and discussions in class were so inspiring. They helped me establish a better understanding of how firms shape their strategies in both market and non-market environments.
I also have to mention that Marianne is just an atypical professor from a top academic institution. You feel as if he is a peer when she shows up in the class. You can have all kinds of discussions with her, but she will always guide you to the right track to give clarity to her perspective. I have learned so much from her and would highly recommend all incoming Booth students to take a look at this class.
Favorite MBA Courses? Same as above – The Firm and the Non-Market Environment.
Why did you choose this business school? I wanted to find a place where I could explore all the different opportunities an MBA program has to offer. At the same time, I wanted to find an institution where people are friendly and willing to help each other. I was first attracted by Booth’s well-known reputation in finance. However, after interacting with alumni and students, I realized that Booth’s flexible curriculum and friendly community fit me perfectly. I learned that I could enjoy the best academic programs here. At the same time, I could also explore my own interests. Moreover, I love all my interactions with the alumni, which further convinced me to come to Booth for my MBA.
What did you enjoy most about business school? It was the opportunities to explore different possible careers and the chance to receive a top-notch education — with the latest research results from the best business scholars in the world.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? Business school is full of opportunities so you might sometimes get lost and not know entirely what you are looking for. It is important for students to know what they really want to achieve and to keep reminding themselves along the path. No choice is a bad choice in business school, but only students who are clear about their goals can get the most out of it.
What was the hardest part of business school? Setting priorities. The flexible curriculum at Booth is a great opportunity for students to design their own path. However, the students have to learn and set their priorities earlier than at other programs to take full advantage of the flexibility. When academics, recruiting, and social events all come together, choosing between priorities becomes the hardest thing for students.
What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Be sure to do your homework about the culture and environment at each school, and make sure you know (to a certain degree) what you want to get out of the school. Each school offers different programs and has different strengths and weaknesses. Only when you do enough homework can you get the best out of the school you choose and make your two-year investment worth the most.
“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized I needed to be able to look at things from a bigger picture and understand the underlying business rules to be a better leader in the future.”
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…joining a B2B-focused startup as a software engineer to build brilliant products and help the world become a better place.”
Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Mark Benioff. It is not because he is the CEO of my prior employer. He is such a visionary in business applications where he pushed the slow-moving software industry to new places every year by leading innovations in the industry. Moreover, he demonstrates leadership in corporate social responsibility. He is never shy to advocate and support the right things for society, including gender-equal pay and gay rights.
What are your long-term professional goals? My long-term professional goal is to establish my own business in educational technology or to help small-and-medium businesses improve their performance.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? I don’t think I am successful in any way. However, I want to thank my family the most. It was not quite a “conventionally logical” decision for me to pursue an MBA now when I already had a good career as a software engineer. But my family has supported my decision wholeheartedly and encourages me when I have had doubts. I could never have gone through this amazing journey without their support.
Fun fact about yourself: Even with two-year business school training, my alcohol tolerance is still at one-bottle-of-beer at max.
Favorite book: This might be a little bit odd… I like the Japanese comic book series – One Piece. I like the theme of the series in which characters pursue their dreams with great determination and have gone through amazing journeys along the way.
Favorite movie: Moneyball
Favorite musical performer: Idina Menzel. The Elphaba performance in the musical Wicked is just amazing.
Favorite television show: John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and Criminal Minds
Favorite vacation spot: London
Hobbies? Badminton, TV, gathering with friends
What made Cathy such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?
“Quiet, confident and always moving, Cathy is a bridge-builder within the Booth community linking her classmates with opportunity and with one another. A Taiwanese national, Cathy is a major force with the Asian Student community but is equally impactful in Booth’s venture capital and tech communities. Cathy’s candor and curiosity serve her well and has led to her recognition among classmates as someone to watch in the future.”
Clinical Professor and Deputy Dean,
University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
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