“I am a finance and econ guy at heart. Those things make sense to me. But during my freshman year at Purdue University, I was required to take communications, which involved not just speaking up, but speaking up before all of my classmates.
I grew up in Hong Kong, which was a society that discouraged people from speaking up. As students, we were taught to write down whatever the instructor wrote on the board, and then learn it on our own. We didn’t challenge or even ask the teacher anything.
So here I am in this class that is all about public speaking, which seemed like a big hump in my academic career road. At the same time, I realized it was a hump that I needed to get over, because I wanted to be a professor. Here’s what I did: I memorized. I memorized my entire first speech and delivered it without looking at any cue cards. At the end, my professor said, “Roger, you just stood there and talked without looking at any notes!” For better or worse, that became my signature style. Even when I became a professor and started giving seminars that could last an hour-and-a-half, I memorized my entire lecture and delivered it without any notes or using slides.”
– Roger Huang, Mendoza College of Business