Programme: MBA, 1997
Currently: Owner of Acro Novelty Design and Manufacturing in Taiwan
Nominated by: Dual Wu, director RSM Asia Office
After her MBA at RSM, Karen Chang returned to her native Taiwan to work for her family’s business, a small factory that manufactures Christmas decorations. Starting out as a shy student, Karen says her experiences at RSM expanded her horizons in many ways, and has led to making her family business sustainable. “My curiosity and initiative to see how far I could go and how I could manage myself at foreign environment all alone set a foundation for my sales career and for my personal growth,” she says. “The overall RSM experience and the international exchange programme were great opportunities to explore the world, people and myself.”
Karen has expanded Acro Novelty Design and Manufacturing by broadening its customer base from indirect trading customers to direct sales customers. While most of factories moved to China for cheap labour, her family business decided to keep the full production and core value of sale and product development in Taiwan. Now, the family firm’s products can be found worldwide. The most recent Dutch project the company took on was the Christmas decoration of department store De Bijenkorf in 2012. Click here to see some pictures.
With the skills Karen developed at RSM and her full-time dedication toward the business, this small family business did not only survive the worldwide financial crisis, but also doubled its turnover and employee numbers. By the end of 2014, the family firm will achieve a new milestone when it moves to its new headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
Her nominator Dual Wu says he is impressed by the way Karen has taken the lead in the family business. “It is not easy for females do this in families where parents favour boys. Then again, Karen is extremely talented and has the educational background,” he says. “She is a self-motivated person who achieves her goals both in her business and personal life helping others too.”
In addition to her busy work life, Karen also actively participates in a life education reading club, shares her RSM experience at info sessions in Taipei, and helps others with self-improvement activities. “My definition of success is to know who are you and be a genuine person,” she says. “I tell people to choose what they love. And to love what they choose. One should commit to make things better and take the responsibility of changing oneself to achieve it.”