My Rollins Gateway: From Mentee to Master

May 27, 2022

By J. Charlotte Jarrett ’08

Francisco Wang Yu ’22 grabbed every opportunity at Rollins to excel—from exploring a cornucopia of subjects to forging relationships that will last a lifetime.

At Rollins, Francisco Wang Yu ’22 dove headlong into the world of interdisciplinary studies and co-curricular pursuits, majoring in international business, minoring in art history, and sharpening his skills and knowledge on the stone of experience. As his interests developed, so did the transformative influences that guided his work—and future.

Through the Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program, Wang Yu joined forces with business professor Raghabendra KC ’13 to ask hard questions about things like consumer behavior, diversity in advertising, social influences, and marketing across cultures. Not only did this experience result in the duo presenting their findings at the Academy of Economics and Finance Conference, but it inspired Wang Yu to take his next step. And it’s a big one. He’s headed to the prestigious master’s of philosophy (MPhil) program in strategy, marketing, and operations at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, of which KC is an alum. 

From on-campus employment and collaborative research to studying everything from art history to global entrepreneurship, explore some of the pivotal waypoints on Wang Yu’s pathway to purpose at Rollins.

Fran Wang Yu and business professor Raghabendra KC in class.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Future-Proof Foundation

Wang Yu’s diverse interests aligned perfectly with Rollins’ signature interdisciplinary approach to education and inspired him to investigate every corner of the liberal arts.

“Rollins’ curriculum allowed me to explore a great variety of academic fields that made my learning experience much more enriching,” he says. “I took an art history class just for fun, but I ended up loving the subject so much that I decided to minor in it. People don’t usually connect art history with business or marketing, but taking these classes significantly improved my critical thinking, presentation, and writing skills.”

The same goes for the global perspective he was able to gain by taking courses like Peoples & Cultures of Latin America with Spanish professor Patricia Tomé and International Communication with communication studies professor Greg Cavenaugh.

“I intend to research consumer behavior and cross-cultural marketing during my graduate studies,” says Wang Yu. “So learning about different cultures through different lenses has helped me understand how we can bridge existing socio-cultural gaps to better empathize with diverse consumer groups.”

Fran Wang Yu holds issues of The Independent, Rollins’ literary magazine.

Liberal Arts in Action

Whether it was engaging in student-faculty research, leading student-media teams as head designer of The Sandspur and The Independent, or serving as a social media intern for Rollins’ Office of Marketing, Wang Yu put his academic prowess and diversity of interests to the test.

“I tried to be involved as much as possible, whether it was working with the admissions office as a diversity envoy or joining student organizations,” he says. “These experiences allowed me to apply the technical, analytical, and leadership lessons I learned in class in the real world, making my education much more well-rounded.”

Fran Wang Yu ’22 and business professor Raghabendra KC ’13.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Mentorship, Mastered

While at Rollins, Wang Yu flourished under the leadership and guidance he received from faculty, especially KC, whose influence helped channel his passions in a purposeful direction.

“My thesis work with Dr. KC led me to pursue the master’s of philosophy at Cambridge,” says Wang Yu. “Beyond being deeply committed to the success of our research project, Dr. KC also took an interest in my future endeavors. He would always send me job openings that he thought would be a good fit and even helped with resume and cover letters. When he noticed my passion for marketing research, he encouraged me to apply to graduate programs, which eventually led me to Cambridge.”

As Wang Yu and KC continued to work together, the bond strengthened Wang Yu’s independence and further refined his goals and interests. “KC’s mentorship allowed me to develop my own identity as a researcher,” he says. “I’m incredibly grateful for that.”

Fran Wang Yu ’22 on graduation day.
Photo by Scott Cook .

Rollins Ready

For Wang Yu, his Rollins Gateway is an aggregate of unique experiences both in and outside the classroom that allowed him the space to ask the hard questions and to embrace the fact that with answers often come more questions. And like any researcher worth his salt, he can’t wait to keep asking them.

“Rollins allowed me to develop close and meaningful relationships with my professors, giving me real mentors who were invested in my success,” says Wang Yu, who plans to pursue a PhD after completing his MPhil and build a career in behavioral research. “They challenged me through rigorous coursework and research opportunities, and I’m excited to take what I’ve learned at Rollins to Cambridge and beyond.”

A visual representation of a student's journey through Rollins Gateway, from study abroad experiences to original research opportunities.

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