I like video games that require strategic thinking. I also like building toys (the Mega Bloks Halo line is my favorite) and models like Gunpa. I think my basement looks better than Toys R Us.
You’re an advisor of the Information Technology Management (ITM) Program. What makes this program special to you?
At the University of Waterloo, we have a Computer Science program that teaches students to develop systems and applications and then there are Mathematics/Business programs that talk about how to run a company. What’s missing is how to translate business problems into technical ones.
The ITM program fills this gap. Students get the opportunity to look at both the internal and external operations of business and look at business implications of a piece of technology or information system. The ITM program teaches how to put these two together and facilitate seamless communication of the integration of technology into business operations.
What is your favorite aspect of teaching?
Every term I meet and interact with new students. They finish the course and think, “Oh there are a few things here that can actually help my career”. Knowing that I can pass on some intangible knowledge that can make a small difference in someone’s life, and sharing my ideas and vision and being appreciated for that, are the most rewarding thing about teaching.
What would your advice to prospective students be?
I think success requires two things: interest and commitment. If you’re interested in something, you will be motivated to explore and learn. And this is what university is really about: to develop the ability to solve problems on your own. If you don’t know what you really want yet, at the minimum, pick something that you don’t dislike. Forcing yourself into a field that you have no passion about, no matter how attractive it is (in terms of job prospects), is not going to end well. As professors, we have seen more than our fair share of such cases.
Read more about Professor Liu.