2020 Best & Brightest: Skylar Liang, Wake Forest University

Skylar Liang

Wake Forest University School of Business

“A half-Chinese girl who is the human embodiment of a narwhal: spontaneous and resourceful.”

Fun fact about yourself: I made it onto ESPN for a sign I brought to a basketball game in 2015

Hometown: Austin, Texas / Chester, New Jersey (moved)

High School: West Morris Mendham High School

Major: Mathematical Business

Minor: Chinese Language and Culture

Favorite Business Course: The Legal Environment of Business

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles During College:

  • The Spirit of the Old Gold & Black Athletic Band (Wake Forest’s Marching Band): Media Coordinator, Drum Major
  • Chinese Culture Club: Treasurer, President
  • Ambassadors in Admissions: Tour Guide for WFU
  • WFU Panhellenic Council: Recruitment 2020 Group Leader & Counselor
  • Asian American Interest Group: Group Facilitator
  • WFU Dance Co.: Company Member
  • Delta Zeta Sorority: General Member
  • Omicron Delta Kappa: Leadership honor society member
  • Beta Gamma Sigma: Business honor society member
  • Pi Mu Epsilon: Mathematics honor society member
  • First Place in the North Carolina Chinese Speaking Contest (Beginner Level)
  • Selected by WFU to represent the Business School at the Annual US Naval Academy Leadership Conference
  • Dean’s List: Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Ernst & Young, LLP: Charlotte, NC: Financial Services Business Advisory Intern
  • Stephen Gould Corp: Whippany, NJ: Finance & Accounting Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Ernst & Young, LLP: Charlotte, NC as a Financial Services Advisory Staff

What company do you admire the most? Hanger Clinic — while this is a lesser-known company, Hanger was established after the American Civil War to provide amputees with higher technology prosthetics (up until this point, most prosthetics were essentially peg-legs, without comfort or practicality). They have remained a driving force in amputee advocacy and have remained the largest fitter of custom orthotics and prosthetics in America. Despite issues with accounting back in the mid-2010s, Hanger was able to correct those problems, relist on the NYSE, and still provide the highest quality care to those who needed it. Hanger Clinic is a company that doesn’t just exist to make a profit, but exists to truly serve and assist the Americans who need it most.

Who is your favorite professor? Dr. Nicole Dalzell in the Mathematics and Statistics department. Dr. Dalzell provides unwavering support for her students – current and past. She instructs her class with a true passion for learning and wants to ensure every student has the tools they need to succeed past her class. Dr. Dalzell is always available as a resource for students whether they need help on a homework assignment or they are looking for post-grad career advice. Even if you aren’t in her class, she always has an open door and loves having honest conversations.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The application to the real world. Frequently, we take classes and fail to see them applied outside of academia. The business school strives to prepare us for real-world situations and so many of our classes incorporate ways to succeed past the classroom.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Collaboration is paramount to success, not just in group projects but with individual work too. It is so important to ask for help when you need it and give help when you can. It is important to work well in groups, but the lessons from working on a team apply to individual work. The business world relies on effective communication and honesty – business school has stressed both of these in our courses.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Ask for help when you need it because someone will be willing to assist you. You aren’t going to know or understand everything at the beginning, so it’s so important you are comfortable asking questions.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of my role as Drum Major for the Wake Forest Marching Band. I came in as an underdog for the position – I wasn’t a Drum Major in high school, there were other competitive applicants, and no one expected me to receive the highest student leadership role. Despite this, I beat the odds and was chosen to lead the band for two years as Drum Major. Before I was chosen, I worked so hard to display leadership, commitment, passion, and talent in the band. I am so proud of the work that I put in to display these qualities because it’s what ultimately lead me to be chosen as a Drum Major.

Which classmate do you most admire? Joseph Sposato (WFUSB 2020). Joe is one of the most intelligent classmates I know. He has a natural intellectual curiosity that most students don’t have. He is able to prioritize work to be the most efficient, and he is always honest about himself and the progress he makes in his classes. Joe is always willing to help out classmates if they’re not understanding the material, frequently sharing study guides and studying in groups if needed.  Joe also has fantastic problem-solving skills, with the ability to creatively solve problems that most students would give up on.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My dad – Sam Liang. At a young age, an incredible work ethic was instilled in me because of my father. I have never known someone who works harder than he does. Because of my dad, I have the drive and passion to succeed in whatever I set my mind to. I am driven because of the hard work and commitment to the success he exemplifies. While balancing perseverance, Sam also manages to prioritize friends and family, and thus has shown me the importance of balance in life. If it weren’t for him, I would never have thought it was possible to be successful and have a happy, enjoyable life.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • To be viewed as an ethical & hardworking business professional, as there is so often a negative stigma surrounding business professionals.
  • To be accepted to a top 20 MBA program within the next 5 years, so that I can better myself and reach my full potential in my career.

What are your hobbies? Watching war documentaries (strange, I know!), playing the baritone saxophone, braiding and styling hair, having a meaningful conversation about being Asian-American.

What made Skylar such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Skylar has a thoughtful maturity about her that distinguishes her from her peers as it directs her focus to the things that really matter. From her work with our marching band to her accounting internship with EY and beyond, she strives for excellence. Skylar cares about the people around her. She makes real connections with others that go far beyond the typical. I find her genuineness remarkable and matched by her intellect.”

Michelle Steward
Associate Professor


“Skylar is one of the most professional students I have had the privilege of teaching. Seeing her in a leadership role in the marching band provides an opportunity to observe her manage leadership and friendship in a non-academic setting, similar to the workforce. I believe her desire to succeed and the preparedness she brings to her responsibilities, places her in the top 5% of students.

Dr. Timothy Heath
Director of Athletic Bands in the WFU Music Department



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