Spotlight Interview: Dandan Tong, Winner of the foodpanda Scholarship
Hi Dandan, congratulations on winning the 2015 foodpanda scholarship! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a 3rd year PhD student in the Marketing Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I got my bachelor and master degrees at Peking University where I majored in Marketing. I don’t have full-time work experience, except for internships in an investment bank and various consultancy firms.
Can you remember why you applied for the foodpanda Scholarship?
It’s been quite a coincidence. I was applying to a global exchange program on my University’s website, and noticed the foodpanda campaign among other schemes. Since I have knowledge about marketing analysis and I’ve always been fascinated by the investigation of food consumption, I almost immediately decided to apply.
Hand on your heart: In what way has winning the award affected your life?
As an academic researcher, I’m am in the fortunate position that my work has practical implications, and is often approved by experts in industry. Winning the award has not much influence in “life”, but promotes my “work”. Doing the marketing plan inspired my new research idea. I want to thank the friends I met at foodpanda, all of whom provided a hand in designing my experiments and offered me ample opportunity to conduct surveys among foodpanda customers. I genuinely hope that my academic research nurtured real-life marketing practices.
Apart from winning the award, which personal achievement of yours makes you proud?
I guess it’s my academic work, such as passing PhD qualify exams and submit promising articles to first-tier academic journals.
Why do you think it is important for young people to be supported during their studies?
First, encountering a scholarship opportunity can inspire young students to better themselves academically. Further, many sponsorships take the form of competition, which encourages students to understand each other, to collaborate, and to grow faster though comparison. Finally, while receiving family support may be the most convenient alternative, students should frequently monitor their progress and make adjustments based on feedback in order to be supported; hence, the benign cycle contributes to sustainable improvements.
What are your career goals after University? Anything concrete lined up?
I’m going to apply for a position as an assistant professor in a competitive business school, doing research in consumer behavior.
What would you recommend future students applying for scholarships with foodpanda?
I’d recommend them to (1) do extensive marketing research to precisely understand foodpanda’s local market environment; in addition, it is important to think outside of the box, for example, (2) generating new insights by comparing across different markets; and finally, (3) be specific and elaborate about the most diagnostic points to write up an integrated plan.
Thank you Tan, we wish you all the best!
Italian based in Berlin. I love basketball, snowboarding, surfing and contemporary art. My love for pizza didn’t help me to make it to the NBA. Despite the obvious correlation Italian-pizza I am in love with any kind of edible food as long as it’s vegetarian or, even better, vegan.