By Victoria Cleveland, BS ’18
Associate Professor Yilu Zhou likes to stay up to date with trends, which makes sense considering her field: information systems. How does she make sure her students leave Fordham with the practical knowledge that they can use in the real world? Read on:
Q. Describe in your own words what your job is at the Gabelli School of Business.
A. I joined the Gabelli School of Business in 2013 as an associate professor in the information systems area. I am heavily involved with the business analytics programs, as well as the information systems master’s program. I would say my job is to inspire students to become more interested in business intelligence. I mainly teach at the graduate level, but have taught undergraduates at Rose Hill in the past.
Q. What is your favorite part of your job?
A. To be able to interact with students and see their innovative ideas. A lot of our students come in without a background in business intelligence, so to see them grow is something I really enjoy.
Q. What is your least favorite?
A. My least favorite part has to be the long commute. I commute from New Jersey, so it takes more than an hour to get to my office.
Q. What do you think makes Gabelli School of Business students different from other students?
A. There are many things. One, in the Gabelli School of Business, students are more connected. They really interact with one another like a family. They have a lot of clubs and societies that hold events every week, and we have a small class size, so the students become really good friends. You can tell they know one another well, especially when they are telling jokes during presentations in class that I don’t get. The students stay connected after graduation, and the alumni are very good with helping fellow Gabelli students get jobs.
Q. What first sparked your interest in the subject you now teach?
A. I had a computer science degree as an undergraduate at Shanghai Jiaotong University in China. Ever since then I was interested in the field. So then, I got my PhD in management information systems from University of Arizona. After all these years, we finally see this booming of business intelligence. Data is so advanced today that we can add real value to companies in all other business areas.
Q. How has your outside research helped you in the classroom?
A. I teach students how to do trend analysis with Twitter, and that’s not described in any textbooks. The reason I am able to teach this is because I did it in my research. I don’t use a textbook, and I teach them very practical skills that they can actually implement in the real world. Information systems is always evolving. We have to add a lot of new stuff to the course every year.
Q. What do you do in your time outside of work?
A. I have a 5-year-old daughter who keeps me very busy. I like to go to concerts, so it’s very convenient being at Lincoln Center. I used to play the oboe, and I still practice once in a while.
Q. Where is the farthest place that you have traveled?
A. Australia or China. I go back to China very often, at least once a year.
Q. What is your favorite type of food?
A. Chinese. I do like Asian fusion, too.
Q. What is your favorite television show?
A. Big Bang Theory.
Q. What famous person would you like to meet one day?
A. CEO Larry Page and the other founders of Google, because they started Google when they were PhD students at Stanford. It’s amazing how they took Google from [a university] project to something we can’t live without.
Q. What is your favorite type of music?
A. Classical and pop.