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I was born in Taiwan and I come from a very down to earth background; my parents had five daughters, of which I am the eldest. Bringing up five children meant that my parents had to work incredibly hard running their farm and small business. I have a tremendous amount of respect for my parents and the work they did, especially my mother.

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She supported all of her daughters and never asked for any recognition. She instilled in us that we should not simply expect a lesser achievement than the boys around us, that although it would be a challenge, but we were just as worthy and talented!

Throughout my career, I’ve had some diverse experiences, after finishing my studies in Broadcasting and Television, I worked as an executive producer for a television company in Taiwan. This was a great experience, but I was fortunate to have the opportunity to return to my studies and I discovered my passion for research while I was studying for my MBA at the University of Exeter.

While I was on the MBA programme, I was inspired by one of my Professors to work on my own research project alongside my studies. we submitted a grant application to the Leverhulme trust for my research on Internal Marketing in Higher Education Institutions which unfortunately was unsuccessful, I was disappointed but not defeated! The rejection would not stop me from trying and I decided to seek a PhD scholarship on my own. My determination and passion for research gave me the courage to approach the Dean of the University of Exeter Business School…

…I was told there were no scholarships available within the first 30 seconds! But I persevered because I really believed that my research was worthy of his support and it would make a great contribution to the field. I spent the remaining 15 minutes sharing what I was passionate about and by the end of it…. he still told me there were no scholarships available. I thanked him for his support and two weeks later I was offered a three year Teaching Assistant position, alongside my PhD.

This position really laid the foundation for my academic career, as a passionate teacher and researcher, it was the pivotal point in my career which led me to where I am today and moulded the type of academic I became.

If you believe in what you are doing, whether its research or a business idea, and you think it will create value for others and be worthwhile to society as a whole, then be passionate and be tenacious! My advice is that there is always a space for making things better and you can be the one to make that happen.  

Dr Mei-Na Liao
Programme Director of the MSc in International Business
University of Birmingham Dubai