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Women at Smith: Stella Liu, MS ’13

Sep 22, 2014
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Thinking Globally

International Perspective Shapes Gender Discussions

Chinese expatriate Stella Liu, MS ’13, had the full support of her parents when she arrived in the United States to study business at the Smith School.

“My parents seldom hinder my decisions,” she said. “There was no one standing in my way.”

That is not always the case in Asian cultures, where obligations to the family, community and country can take priority over individual preferences. “Some kids have their future planned or guided by their parents,” said Liu, a financial analyst at GroupM in New York.

Gender often factors into these family conversations. Although women typically work outside the home in China, the country’s one-child policy puts pressure on couples to get married and have a baby quickly.

“It is up to us to take care of our parents,” Liu said. “There is no one else.”

When discussing gender in the workplace, she said people need to keep a global perspective. In some countries women cannot even drive cars or walk in public without male escorts. In other countries women have greater opportunities, and discrimination is more subtle when it exists.

“It is important to keep an open mind to changes and differences,” she said.

Her global mindset has paid off in the United States, leading to opportunities at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and beyond.

Earning U.S. visa sponsorship can be tricky for international workers, but Liu put her trust in the power of focused effort. She said this work ethic is another part of the Chinese culture she is proud to claim.

“We have limitations,” she said. “But we are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve our goals.”


Related story: Smith Builds Momentum on Women’s Issues

Women at Smith

Donna Blackman  Becky Eisen  Carly Fiorina

Brenda Freeman  Stephanie Graf  Terry Iannaconi

Stella Liu  Sherika Shaw Ekpo  Cara Weikel

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.