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Nancy CHEN

“Teachers not only impart knowledge but also guide students in understanding the principles of conducting and cultivating valuable qualities such as proactive learning”. In this alumni story, we invite Prof. Nancy Chen Yifung, a graduate from our University’s Class of 2005 with a Ph.D. in Management. Nancy currently serves as a professor in the Department of Management at Lingnan University’s Faculty of Business. She has previously held positions as Associate Dean of the Faculty of Business and Chair of the Academic Research and Postgraduate Program Committee. Nancy is the founder of the Master of Science in Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship program and co-founder of the Master of Science in Human Resources Management and Organizational Behavior program. Additionally, she holds various public roles, including serving as a member of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority’s International and Professional Examinations Consultative Committee. Nancy reflects on how Lingnan University’s liberal education profoundly impacted her academic and professional journey, fostering a deep connection that spans over two decades.”

Serendipitous Encounters During her Student Years: A Bond with Lingnan University
Nancy graduated from Shandong University in the year 2000, ranking first in her entire college among 3,000 graduates, she was selected as the most outstanding. Originally she may just guaranteed with the famous master programme in Mainland, yet, fate had other plans.During her junior year summer break, the Ministry of Education and the Hong Kong Jockey Club jointly organized the “Future Leaders Elite Training Program,” aiming to provide outstanding university students in Mainland with an opportunity to study and exchange in Hong Kong. The selection process for this program was highly competitive, requiring not only excellent academic performance but also English proficiency at min. level six. Nancy’s outstanding grades secured her a spot. Initially, she had planned a trip to Dunhuang with her classmates, but her teacher encouraged her not to miss this rare chance. Despite some reluctance, Nancy ultimately decided to forgo the Dunhuang trip and headed to Hong Kong.
Little did she know that this trip to Hong Kong would alter her destiny. She discovered that Hong Kong was a vibrant and multicultural city, piquing her interest in its academic atmosphere and educational resources. After completing her undergraduate studies, she applied to Hong Kong’s universities. Her application was swiftly accepted by Lingnan University, where she became a student of the internationally renowned professor, Dean TJOSVOLD. From that point on, she embarked on a bright academic path.
Upon arriving at Lingnan, Nancy was deeply moved by her mentor, Dean TJOSVOLD. She remarked, “Professor Tjosvold is truly a master in both imparting knowledge and modeling character. His openness, sincerity, willingness to collaborate, and focus on win-win solutions make him incredibly approachable. As a mentor and friend to students, he tirelessly answered my academic questions. During shared meals with students, he even took the initiative to serve dishes.” These gestures left a lasting impression on Nancy, motivating her to strive for excellence. In 2006, Nancy received the “Emerald/EFMD Doctoral Research Paper Award” in the management category, standing out among over 200 doctoral papers worldwide. She also assumed the position of Visiting Fellow in the Department of Management at Lingnan University in August of the same year, embarking on her educational career at Lingnan.
Nearly two decades later, Nancy has contributed significantly to nurturing countless talents at Lingnan University. Recently, under her leadership, the Lingnan University team achieved international acclaim by winning top honors at the “16th Annual U.S. Sales Competition.” The team members included graduate students Zhao Yunying and Dai Yanyan from the School of Business, who respectively secured first and second place in the Asia group individual performance category. Nancy actively supported the team during the competition, fostering their success. “Lingnan University’s outstanding performance on the international stage demonstrates our commitment to equipping students with professional skills in sales, laying a solid foundation for their academic and professional futures.” 

Maintaining a Positive and Optimistic Attitude: Achieving Success for Students and Ourselves
Nancy is an extraordinary professor whose teaching style and life attitude diverge significantly from conventional norms. From a young age, she exuded a sunny and vibrant disposition, embracing life with passion and energy. She enjoys singing, dancing, sports, and excels in public speaking and debate—outlets for self-expression and stress relief. Even now, she maintains a youthful mindset and a healthy body, dedicating time to dance practice and frequent swims at the university pool. As she puts it, “Mindset determines everything. Whether on campus or off, I won’t alter my original intentions due to age or position.”
Nancy she sets clear expectations for her students from the very first class, emphasizing that a teacher’s primary duty is to educate, not to cater to students’ preferences. Recognizing the brevity of the master’s stage in Hong Kong, Nancy refuses to let precious time and expensive tuition fees go to waste. Her mission extends beyond imparting knowledge; she aims to cultivate students’ critical thinking and innovation. Nancy encourages active student participation, urging them to ask questions, engage, and maintain open communication.
In her classroom, she occasionally caught those distracted students by asking them questions, gently reminding them to stay engaged. “Students who like me really like me, while others may avoid my classes for the same reason.”
But Nancy’s impact transcends the classroom. She wears the dual hats of an outstanding educator and a distinguished scholar. Her research endeavors mirror her diligence—emphasizing both quantity and quality. Across various domains—educational theory, teaching methods, assessment, and instructional innovation—her contributions have garnered recognition on both domestic and international fronts. Beyond academia, Nancy actively participates in global academic exchanges and collaborations. Her meticulous and dedicated approach extends seamlessly to her personal life, leaving an indelible mark on everyone she encounters.

The Profound Impact of Liberal Education: Gratitude to Mentors and Continuation of Lingnan Culture
During interviews, Nancy expresses heartfelt gratitude towards Lingnan University and her mentors. Nancy holds the university in high regard for its unwavering support and exceptional teaching of graduate students. This support has enabled her to teach and conduct research in an excellent environment. Beyond academics, Nancy’s appreciation extends to her former teachers, whom she views not only as academic guides but also as wise friends who impart valuable life lessons. Their patient guidance has left a lasting impact on her.

During a recent visit to the United States, Nancy’s mentor and his family demonstrated their belief in her passion and love for Lingnan by providing a scholarship to Lingnan students. This act of generosity reflects the strong bond between mentor and mentee.

Nancy emphasizes that being part of Lingnan is a lifelong commitment. She recognizes the hidden talents and untapped potential within Lingnan’s student body, even among those who may lack confidence in expressing themselves. Among her students, Nancy takes pride in remarkable achievers, including international yoga champions and Italian opera performer.

To future educators, Nancy offers valuable advice: “Teachers should unlock students’ potential, encourage questions in class, and avoid spoon-feeding.” This philosophy aligns with her own teaching approach, emphasizing empowerment and critical thinking.

Nancy’s accomplishments attest to her abilities, charisma, and innovative spirit. As a professor with extensive knowledge and a broad perspective, she continues to inspire and guide students at Lingnan University’s Faculty of Business. We hope that under her remarkable mentorship, students will thrive and contribute to the university community and beyond!