IMB Launches Mentorship Series on Technology, Work, and Life
Show, not tell. That’s the aim of a new series launched by Interactive Media and Business (IMB) Professor Wang Jing. The mentorship series features career professionals who speak to NYU Shanghai students on the intersection of technology, work, and life, an overarching theme that runs through the sessions featuring speakers from China, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany.
"Research shares commonalities with business innovation,” says Wang. Both require broadening one’s horizons. “You need to engage with different people, thoughtful individuals, because who knows where your next best idea will come from,” she says. “Often, it is this interdisciplinary exploration and new research paradigms that guide us toward more intriguing research outcomes."
The IMB program envisions that through this series of events, students can gain real-world experience and firsthand insights from industry professionals and academics, enabling them to contemplate their future career development. At the same time they want to encourage students to cultivate their own knowledge framework and foster a critical perspective, ultimately forming their own worldview and set of values.
The "Dialogues on Technology, Work, and Life" series launched on October 30, as IMB welcomed Alex Liu, a 90s-born content creator with 460,000 Weibo followers, to speak to more than fifty students. During the event, faculty and students asked her about her identity as a ‘digital nomad,’ the term used for professionals who travel the world while working remotely.
After working as a news reporter and director of a talk show, Liu jumped ship in 2021 to embark on a journey to ‘explore possibilities beyond conventional systems,’ as she described it. Liu generates income through remote business endeavors and by publishing an online pay-to-read writing column, enabling her to sustain a nomadic lifestyle, traveling across the globe. This year, Bali is her base.
Wang says she chose ‘digital nomad’ as the theme to kick off the series to both capitalize on the interest of this growing professional trend and to allow students to see the real life experiences and decisions behind it. She says students need to learn more about the ins and outs of the industry and learn to observe it in a critical manner instead of just jumping in.
Wang hopes that the series will spark a deeper level of academic discourse among students interested in contemplating abstract topics in the field of Interactive Media and Business.
These kinds of discussions are important for students in understanding how academic learning applies to their future careers. “Academia is a means, not an end,” she says. “Teachers introduce the importance of academia where students can access academic information, teaching them how to transform academic theories into tools for addressing real-world challenges, and into a path for understanding new phenomena and objects; this is the most crucial significance of academia for students."
The series will continue with a second session on November 13, featuring Professor Clea Bourne from Goldsmiths, University of London, who will discuss how to make the most out of pursuing a master’s degree in media studies. Unlike other lectures on master’s degree programs, Bourne will not speak on admissions, but instead will offer insights into the field from a personal development perspective.
Later sessions on November 16 and November 28 will feature industry experts Dr. John Hu from Meta and Dr. René Arnold from Huawei who will share their experiences and expertise in UX research and the impact of digitization on industries.
IMB Area Head Alex Ruthmann said he hopes that the series can have a long-lasting impact on students. “Our learning experiences in IMB are both experiential and real-world,” he said. The mentor series, he said, “extends that vision and focus to not just bring external industry leaders to campus for talks and lectures but more importantly include multiple high-touch small-group and one-on-one mentoring sessions for our declared IMB majors to learn and get feedback directly from industry.” These interactions will help students as they navigate their post-graduation career path. “I hope these dialogues help our students to build a knowledge and skill set that allows them to stay calm and wise in the face of rapid technological or social changes, and find their way to flourish,” Wang said.