While a college English teacher in her homeland of China, Dr. Hua Meng accompanied some students to the United States to take business courses in an exchange program. The trip forever changed her journey.
“I had nothing to do there, so the business professors said, ‘Why don’t you sit in on our business classes? They are completely different animals than your English classes,'” she said.
“There was a click with marketing, and I wasn’t interested in any other subjects. So, I took some other marketing classes.”
Once the exchange program ended, Dr. Meng stayed in the United States and earned master’s and doctoral degrees to complete the transition from English professor to marketing professor.
“I love what I am doing,” she said. “If there is a next life, I would want to be an artist. Business is part art and science.”
Dr. Meng teaches Strategic Marketing in the online Master of Business Administration with track in Marketing program at Longwood University. She is in her seventh year at the school.
“There are differences between teaching in person and online, but I try to make those differences as small as possible,” she said. “I still try to create opportunities to interact with my online students, starting with showing myself more. I have all kinds of videos for my students, like a welcome video and another to navigate Canvas. For each chapter, I have lectures.
“I also do a weekly video to talk about my expectations and the plan for the week. Plus, I have my office hours live, so they can hop in my Zoom session. Sometimes they ask questions, sometimes we chat. It’s more face time to see and talk to each other.”
Dr. Meng is from Chengdu, China, where she grew up with a love of art. She earned a bachelor’s degree and her first master’s degree in English back home before bringing her students to Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2008.
“After the MBA, I thought it was time to go back to teaching English,” she said. “The professors at IUP pushed me to do a Ph.D. I took my GMAT and got admitted to Kent State University.
“I did my Ph.D. for another four years. Then, I was on the job market and joined Longwood. That’s how I converted from an English major to a business major.”
Although Dr. Meng has taught the same course since 2016, she adjusted her teaching style to accommodate the online format.
“We had a small MBA program when I came to Longwood,” she said. “It has since evolved with more students. The major changes I made were based on student evaluations and comments.
“At first, I had a group project and asked them to write a business plan. I figured it may not work well with hundreds of students in the online class everywhere in the United States. They have their own schedules in different time zones. I changed the group project into different discussion boards.
“They still do the same things but don’t need to be interdependent. Another big change is I update my case studies. I use Harvard Business Review cases. I try to keep up with what’s happening. Based on these marketing trends, I change the case studies for the students.”
One of the most appealing elements of marketing that Dr. Meng passes along to her students each year is that it is a field that requires more than one type of skill set and personality.
“Some people can be creative, but they are not very good with numbers,” she said. “You can come into marketing because we need creative thinking for advertisements and communication with customers.”
“We need people to look at data, find trends and make recommendations. If you are an introvert or an extrovert, you can do marketing. There are different types of marketing jobs.”
Food for Thought
Dr. Meng and her husband, Cesar Zamudio, are foodies who love discovering new restaurants while visiting cities on trips, and she has good advice for potential students in the online MBA with track in Marketing program:
“Try,” she said. “Don’t think, ‘I don’t have a business background,’ ‘I don’t know much about marketing,’ or ‘This is not my thing.’ When I look back at my own experience, I was not a business major.
“Keep an open mind, try and work hard. If you don’t have a business background, you catch up first. You will spend more time working but having no business background should not stop you. You have to try new things if you are interested.”
With several years of experience under her belt, Dr. Meng has no plans to do anything but teach for the rest of her career. She loves passing along her marketing knowledge.
“I enjoy when students say, ‘I really learned something from your class,'” she said. “Seeing students learn or seeing their success makes my day. If I know a student is successful and the feedback is, ‘I enjoy this part of your class,’ those little things make me smile.”
Learn more about Longwood University’s online MBA with track in Marketing program.