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Mag Preview: Sue Yang, Campus Character

Illustration by Wendan Li

You might not know the following figures–but you should [Ed note: well, you all know this one.] In Campus Characters, The Blue and White introduces you to a handful of Columbians who are up to interesting and extraordinary things and whose stories beg to be shared.  If you’d like to suggest a Campus Character, send us an email at editors@theblueandwhite.org.

After almost a full year as CCSC president, Sue Yang, CC ’10, is resigned to one thing. “I’m the ‘Two Minute Toot’ girl,” she says, referring to her brief, weekly emails to her Columbia College constituency. Yang, who laughs and smiles as often as the multiple exclamation points on her e-mails would indicate, shrugs. “I guess it’s not such a bad thing to be remembered for.”

Yang, though, does much more than toot. The archetypal Columbia overachiever, she established an international exchange program with Chinese, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern universities during her tenure on the Ivy Council and served as co-president of the Economics Society. She currently teaches an entrepreneurial class to middle schoolers and is an intramural volleyball champion.

Still, she maintains a pragmatic view of her many commitments. “These are student organizations, let’s not take it too seriously and get all dramatic,” she says, gesticulating with her fork. “At the end of the day it shouldn’t consume your life, it should be complementary to what you want to do.”

And Yang knows what she wants to do. After graduation she’s heading to Dubai as a strategy consultant for McKinsey. “It’s kind of like the career version of liberal arts,” she explains. Following that two-year commitment, Yang has a place waiting for her at Harvard Business School.

Basically, Yang would be insufferable, if it weren’t for her humility. “Sue is the most humble person I’ve ever met,” says Melissa Im, CC ’11, who has known Yang since the two served together on the board of the Key Club International during high school. “Honestly, that girl does so much, but she doesn’t tell anyone about it.”

Im isn’t just defending her friend. Yang didn’t mention Harvard–Im did. Yang also downplayed her volleyball success, the scope of her responsibilities on the Ivy Council, and, while this denial may not be so humble as the others, her dependence on coffee.

“I just drink one cup in the morning,” Yang insists, as she sips from an innocent bottle of water. Im laughs. “Sue is obsessed with coffee. She hiked up a mountain in Panama just to take a picture with coffee beans. I have the picture–do you want to see it?”

Im, who has also lived with Yang for the past two years, occasionally leads the “put Sue to bed” campaign, as she calls it, in which the members of EC 1216 try to get Yang to sleep. “Sometimes she gets mad at us, but if she does pass out on her bed, we’ll tuck her in and turn off her phone,” Im says. “I do like a siesta,” Yang admits.

Yang’s other tastes have changed over the years. Almost four years ago, Bwog RoomHopped Yang’s John Jay single, and uncovered a treasure trove of purses–13, in total–and “a shrine to accessories.” Yang swears she’s left her shopaholic days behind. Im agrees. “When I first met Sue she was wearing white suspenders and a tie. She’s toned it down to a more professional place.”

Purses aside, Yang still makes time for fun. Born in Shanghai but raised in Detroit by Chrysler employee parents, she gushes, “I love driving. Fast driving. Racing.”

And now, on the cusp of leaving the Columbia community behind, Yang is moving full speed ahead. “It’s my goal to get to all seven continents. I only have South America and Antarctica to go. I want to go skydiving one day. My motto is Ready, Fire, Aim. It’s worked well so far.”

–Hannah Lepow

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51 Comments

  • wtf says:

    @wtf wtf the illustration makes her look caucasian.

    1. Wow. says:

      @Wow. Wendan Li = FAIL.

      1. wtf says:

        @wtf i think she was looking at a picture of Amelia Earnhart. Wrong race there, chief!

        1. Eliza says:

          @Eliza You are completely right! And that’s because it’s the wrong picture. Fixing now.

  • Sue Yang says:

    @Sue Yang and melissa Im are both really amazing :)

    well done bwog!

  • A CCSC council member says:

    @A CCSC council member I LOVE SUE. She is honestly one of the most amazing people I have ever met – ever.

  • hey says:

    @hey yo! next up, pull up one of my classmates in my physics department who will be graduating to an awesome research project that concerns millions of dollars in healthcare investments/venture capital! there’s several of them in the class of 2010. all physics/astrophysics.

  • An Econ Society Board Member says:

    @An Econ Society Board Member Sue Yang is incredible! Truly the nicest, sweetest, most down to earth person you will ever meet. And, she will never tell you about any of her accomplishments so better ask her friends – but no worries, you will hear of her accomplishments as they are not short in supply.

  • ... says:

    @... i find it very sad that so many highly intelligent and motivated people choose to waste their time in consulting and finance careers.

    1. well says:

      @well what else do you suggest?

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous patronizing but true. it is a waste.

    3. ... says:

      @... beat me to it!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Sue is absolutely amazing! I completely agree when others state that she is the sweetest, modest and most hard-working individual on Columbia’s campus. She certainly deserves all she receives, because she gives 100% of herself to everyone else.

    Go Sue! We’ll all miss you!!

  • former ccscer says:

    @former ccscer Sue Yang will run the world one day. I’m totally OK with that. She is a sweetheart! SO humble.

  • I love says:

    @I love SUE YANG. SHE IS AMAZING.

  • Nuriel Moghavem says:

    @Nuriel Moghavem I had the privilege of working with this amazing woman all year and was wowed by everything I saw her do. But I was pretty much blown out of my seat in finding out — only recently — about all the things I’ve never seen her do, like getting up really really early in the morning to teach her class every week. She works tirelessly and, at the end of the day, demands no credit for her work. She’s a real inspiration.

    reCAPCHA: mentors Head

    1. LISTEN UP COLUMBIA FUCKERS says:

      @LISTEN UP COLUMBIA FUCKERS isn’t that why we’re all here at Columbia? Because we’re all ambitious and hungry? It’s no surprise to me that someone at Columbia gets up really early or overworks herself. Actually, what SURPRISES me is the number of ‘haters’ at this godamnn university who love to HATE and HATE and HATE those of us who are hardworking, ambitious, and did i mention hardworking?

      Let Sue pursue her yuppie dreams and go into management consulting. Nothing wrong or ‘toolish’ about that. If she truly worked hard and didn’t use family connections, she deserves it. Let my roommate and suitemate pursue their career goals of going into banking and private equity. Let me pursue my summer analyst position at Deutsche Bank without getting up all over my ass about it. I’m an engineering major, going into banking/algo trading for 5 years, then getting my math phd when im 30 and maybe write some books.

      We worked hard. We plan to work harder. As long as we’re not committed fraud, GET THE FUCK OUTTA OUR FACES!!

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous tl; dr

      2. lol says:

        @lol here’s an idea..
        calm the fuck down.
        accept the fact that people talk shit on the internet and there’s nothing you can do!
        you BAAWWWing about people on the internet just goes to show–you may be ‘hardworking’, but you can still be immature!

  • recaptcha says:

    @recaptcha recaptcha: atone end

    ’nuff said

  • but dude says:

    @but dude working hard sucks man.

    i don’t want to do all that fucking work.

  • AN EXTENSION OF SPEECH says:

    @AN EXTENSION OF SPEECH LISTEN UP COLUMBIA FUCKERS…Regarding Sue Yang whos going into consulting and Harvard Business School: Isnt that why were all here at Columbia? Because were all ambitious and hungry? Why are we so surprised that Sue works so hard and does what she does? Its no surprise to me that someone at Columbia gets up really early or overworks herself. Actually, what SURPRISES me is the number of haters at this godamnn university who love to HATE and HATE and HATE those of us who are hardworking, ambitious, and did i mention hardworking?

    Let Sue pursue her yuppie dreams and go into management consulting. Nothing wrong or toolish about that. If she truly worked hard and didnt use family connections, she deserves it. Let my roommate and suitemate pursue their career goals of going into banking and private equity. Let me pursue my summer analyst position at Deutsche Bank without getting up all over my ass about it. Im an engineering major, going into banking/algo trading for 5 years, then getting my math phd when im 30 and maybe write some books.

    We worked hard. Now, we plan to work even harder. Were gonna bite out a piece of our share of this bitter motherfucking world and give it to the people we love first. And you better damn bet that if Im ever successful, there will be ample gifts returned to the rest of the world and to American society.

    Ive already met another 3 people here going to Harvard Business…one of them not taking the 2 year deferment. They lie lowkey so don’t ask me for names.

    As long as were not committing fraud, GET THE FUCK OUTTA OUR FACES!! Class of 2010!

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous dude, relax. we’re just recognizing her merits.

      1. haha says:

        @haha haha yeah i know. please continue. i just got sick and tired of reading previous comments berating columbia students who want to go into business/finance/law so i just needed a place to put this so haters can read it.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I TYPE IN CAPS LOCK RAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    3. ... says:

      @... Methinks he doth protest too much.

    4. lol says:

      @lol “Ive already met another 3 people here going to Harvard Business…one of them not taking the 2 year deferment. They lie lowkey so don’t ask me for names.”

      yes because we’re all dying to know who they are!

      god, you are one annoying, self-entitled fucker, aren’t you?
      “im so hard working! dont say anything bad about me or i will subject you to a 30 page bitchfest! oh ps i know people going to HARVARD OMG but im not telling you who they are! “

    5. ehh says:

      @ehh how the hell would you know if any of those other people are? one of them goes to the journalism school (class of 2010, but NOT undergrad)…another is in SEAS (not CC).

  • Volleyball says:

    @Volleyball Intramural champs? That doesn’t just open doors, it kicks them down.

    1. huh says:

      @huh jokes?

  • Hannah says:

    @Hannah is the best! Great article!

  • Nettra says:

    @Nettra Love this girl! Humble, pretty, smart, confident, considerate, knowledgeable, fun, sweet… could go on and on and on. Will miss her next year!

  • pico says:

    @pico I never knew Sue, but it was love after the first e-mail. She is an AMAZING communicator and this will serve her exceptionally well in life.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous she sounds like someone of whom columbia can be justly proud.

  • H8r says:

    @H8r This article sucks. I learned nothing about Sue Yang I didn’t know or wouldn’t have assumed except for the volleyball part. We want a Senior Wisdom!

  • ! says:

    @! sue yang is an inspiration and encouragement to the entire cu community! rock on girill

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous sue yang is one of the most impressive yet humble people i’ve ever met. truly an inspiration. anyone who has anything negative to say about her is either jealous, insecure, a troll, or a combination of the three.

    reCAPTCHA: miraculous labor … quite fitting

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Sue is an amazing person, in every way.
    I love you sue!

  • michael molina says:

    @michael molina sue yang is an amazing person. great blue and white interview. much love.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous yay, Sue! best of luck to you, and I’m glad I got the chance to know you while we were here.

  • as my econ professor once said, says:

    @as my econ professor once said, “Investment bankers are the scum of the earth.”

    and another good quotes from the Times- “large fractions of the graduates of America’s best universities can think of no better use for their intelligence and degrees than a job that has become less socially useful than prostitution, and a lot more harmful.”

    Read more:http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/georgepacker/2010/04/streetwalkers.html

    1. my b says:

      @my b New Yorker, not the Times. How foolish of me.

    2. lmao says:

      @lmao no wonder dartmouth, penn, brown and cornell beats us every year in corporate recruitment for high paying jobs and why were so low in salary rankings.

      GIT! ..you unambitious fucks.

      1. oh yeah says:

        @oh yeah if a high salary is your only criteria for “good” jobs. I’d like to think I go to a school where people have diverse interests and pursue different and interesting jobs, w/o feeling the need to make six figures.

        If you’d like to be one of the mindless, faceless drones in the investment world, fine. That’s the easy way out, really. Consistent pay check, stable job, secure future. All well and good, but are you really doing anything significant? Are you questioning and developing anything, even within the world of finance? How is preserving the status quo and striving to be like *everyone else* ambitious?

        I don’t give a rats ass if you want to go into i-banking, just leave the judgments on people’s “ambition” out of it.

        Wanna ask me what I plan to make out of college? I plan to make a goddamn difference, what about you?

  • CC '09 says:

    @CC '09 Sue is wonderful and so hard working. The one thing I would critique is that the bwog reporter clearly didn’t put enough time into this piece to solicit multiple sources. Instead we get the impression that Melissa likes Sue a lot, rather than a broader perspective from across Columbia of just how much time and energy she’s put into campus. Don’t be lazy bwog.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous lovelovelovelovelove sue yang!

  • Dueaa Elzin says:

    @Dueaa Elzin Sue Yang is absolutely fabulous! Listening to “Dragosta din tei” always brings back fond MUN memories :D

  • Yale '11 says:

    @Yale '11 Sue is an amazing human being with such a bright future ahead of her. I am so glad that she’s finally recognized for all of her hard work. TEAM SUE!!!

  • 12'er says:

    @12'er Sure her resume looks impressive, but don’t overlook all the people she’s stepped on. People should know that she’s great at putting on fronts and pretending to be honest, and that she’s had her ass saved from humiliation on multiple occasions. In many ways, her success is defined by other people’s work and depend on it.

    If you’re an acquaintance or friend, you love her. If you’ve worked with her, you’ve built up a tolerance and most likely shouldered a lot of weight. If you’ve been in a position where you’re neither, she’s most likely one of the nastiest and selfish people you’ve ever met.

    In the end, it’s important to note that everything she’s ever done has been for herself and no one else.

    Having said, a lot of her independent work has benefited the community. Let’s not go off proclaiming what an amazing person she is — she means business, and ultimately, I’m sure she’ll be successful.

    1. SEAS 2010 says:

      @SEAS 2010 I might not have worked closely with Sue for an extended period, but I know far too many people who have – and all have uniformly said she is outstanding. Your slanderous remarks come off as unfounded cynicism or a bout of jealousy. Sue is a spectacular worker and a humble, diplomatic person. Her inner motivations will always be opaque to us and frankly are irrelevant. If she is working her heart out, organizing and giving back to the community, I couldn’t care less whether it’s for her resume or for her personal satisfaction – the results remain the same. If you believe that most driven people are working hard out of a sense of altruism, I leave you in your naive world – there might be exceptions, and this might just be one of those exceptions.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous LOL SHE COULDN’T EVEN GET A JOB AT A BANK

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