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Peggy Yu, Chairwoman and Co-Founder of Dangdang, joins Professor Dolly Chugh for a fireside chat with MBA students

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Peggy Yu (MBA ‘92) joined a packed class of MBA1 students from Professor Dolly Chugh and Professor Nathan Pettit’s Leadership in Organizations course for a fireside chat. During the discussion, moderated by Professor Chugh, Ms. Yu shared her most important takeaways from Stern, her approach to operating Dangdang, the e-commerce site in China that she co-founded with her husband, and some of the leadership insights she’s gained throughout her illustrious career.

Ms. Yu credits her Stern education for her strong knowledge base across business subjects, resulting in the capacity to decide how to constantly improve Dangdang. “Stern gave me a lot. I also believe Stern will give you a lot,” she said.

She noted that her knowledge of business strategy that she gained from Stern was especially helpful when she and her husband first started their company. Dangdang began in 1999 as an online book retailer and later expanded into movies, music, and a full range of consumer products. As the online market grew, Ms. Yu talked about how they adapted to stay competitive, placing a laser-sharp focus on customer service as well as price engineering. “Customers are only loyal to one thing: their wallets. That’s why price wars are important.”

Adaptability is at the core of Ms. Yu’s business and leadership approach. She discussed her own transition in leadership style to a new focus on inspiring and coaching younger managers. Even the best practice has a limited shelf life,” she said. “People, just like organizations, at different stages, have different things to contribute.”