Case | HBS Case Collection | December 2004 (Revised August 2005)

Managing a Public Image: Sophie Chen

by Robin J. Ely and Ingrid Vargas


Sophie Chen, an Asian-American MBA student at Harvard Business School, describes a professional situation in which she was unable to mentor a junior person effectively because she disapproved of the way her Asian-American mentee conformed to an ethnic stereotype. Feeling the need to distance herself from the stereotype, Chen concluded that there was little she could do to help her mentee. By the end of her narrative, Chen questions whether she could have been a more effective mentor. She reflects on her image concerns, questioning whether they have undermined her ability to exercise leadership effectively.

Keywords: Leadership; Perception; Relationships; Diversity;


Ely, Robin J., and Ingrid Vargas. "Managing a Public Image: Sophie Chen." Harvard Business School Case 405-052, December 2004. (Revised August 2005.)