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Vision and Preparation: Chou Te-yu’s Sure-fire Formula for Success
Dr. Chou Te-yu, a well-known economist and the new Chairman of Taipei 101, graduated from NTHU’s Department of Physics in 1989. For him the journey from physics to economics involved considerable introspection and repositioning. He sees his appointment as Chairman of Taipei 101 as an affirmation of his diverse abilities and an ideal opportunity to put his diverse knowledge into practice.
Although Chou always excelled in his studies, he was never quite sure as to what he should specialize in. As a result, during his sophomore year of high school, when it was time to select a concentration, even though he had a latent affinity with the humanities and social sciences; he went along with the crowd and chose science and engineering. He did well on the university entrance exam and was eligible for admission to the top engineering programs in Taiwan. However, unsure of his aptitude for drafting circuitry design, and not satisfied with his abilities in math and chemistry, he finally decided to major in physics at NTHU.
“During my time in the Department of Physics I was constantly on the defensive,” recalls Chou. Lots of his classmates had a passion for physics, several of whom were so good at it that they even skipped a year. “Each of my classmates idolized a particular physicist, while I had never even heard of these people,” jokes Chou. He also remembers how enamored his teachers were by the beauty of physics. Nonetheless, he worked hard and managed to get good grades; he was not sure where his true passion really lay.
Eager to explore various possibilities, Chou took an elective course offered by the Department of Economics, as well as a general education course titled “Contemporary Society,” in which the young instructor was actually daring enough to discuss the 228 Incident, previously a taboo subject in Taiwan. While discussing his predicament with various teachers he discovered that he was a “people person” at heart. Thus he volunteered to be the student leader of his department and organized quite a few colorful events. In recognition of his excellent grades and outstanding contributions to campus activities, Chou was awarded the Mei Yih-chi Memorial Scholarship—the highest academic honor of NTHU.
With the encouragement of Professor Chang Bao-taa, who sparked Chou’s interest in economics, he set his sights on earning a Ph.D. abroad and then returning to Taiwan to find a teaching position.
Chou says that the most valuable thing he learned at NTHU was never limit yourself; instead, you should envision your future and then continually make an effort to move in that direction. Although initially he was rather perplexed about his future direction, he found that his teachers at NTHU were quite happy to provide guidance and suggestions. This solicitude and attentiveness to the needs of students is something Chou has striven to integrate into his own teaching career.
Chou eventually earned a Ph.D. in economics from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His areas of specialization are patents and intellectual property rights, as well as the use of public resources to solve problems of income disparity.
In recognition of his outstanding professional knowledge, superb foreign language ability, and excellent interpersonal skills, he was appointed general manager of Taipei 101 in March 2015, and in December of the same year he was promoted to the position of Chairman.
In Chou’s view, the NTHU spirit means transcending limitations, in whatever form they may manifest, by continually striving to learn. He also points out the importance of foreign language for expanding one’s vision, emphasizing that such ability in no way contradicts patriotism, but rather complements it. In this connection, he points out that while lots of young people today are keen on improving Taiwanese society, many don’t realize that you have to have a good understanding of the global community before you can make a positive contribution to Taiwan.
 NTHU alumnus Chou Te-yu.

NTHU alumnus Chou Te-yu.

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