Voyagers set foot in Hong Kong: the international adventures of four business students and alumni08 Nov, 2017
For some, studying abroad may be the chance of a lifetime, while for others, it is part of their world tour across several years. Four international students and alumni from four different continents around the globe have crossed their paths at the HKBU School of Business, and this is just the overture of an ambitious lifelong journey.
I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list. Thomas Huang, United States
Probably the “most international” international student at the HKBU School of Business, Thomas has a rather dazzling multi-cultural background – born in Cambodia, raised in the United States, attending school in the US, Guangzhou, Taiwan and France, and not to mention his numerous exchanges and travel experiences over the past 20-something years. As a veteran wanderlust, who knows the best that a city has to offer, he pinned down Hong Kong as his postgraduate study destination to continue his global footprints.
“I fell in love with Hong Kong when I came to visit my friends last year, where I am able to enjoy the vibrant city life while being able to be immersed in the beautiful nature at weekends,” said Thomas. With the International Postgraduate Scholarship (IPS), he decided to enrol in the MSc in Applied Economics programme, an advanced study to build on his triple undergraduate degrees in business administration, economics and political science. “Other than the Scholarship which really helps a lot, I also like the courses offered here, including the study abroad tour next summer which is perfect for my desire to explore and learn more about the world.”
When it comes to studying abroad and cultural integration, Thomas, who was the Global Ambassador back in his undergraduate days, knows best. “You have to be open-minded whenever you are studying abroad, so that you can fully experience the journey, overcome any cultural barrier, and enjoy interactions with people inside and outside the classroom.”
In an international city like Hong Kong, Thomas found it best for cultivating one’s soft skills for career development. “With people from all around the world, you have the chance to work with people from different backgrounds, be they locals or non-locals, commercial sectors or government officials. Such a diverse environment allows you to learn to negotiate and communicate in different ways. These are the necessary soft skills you need in your future career.”
I practise passion. Chinenye Egbuna, Nigeria
“My dream is to build a unisex retail brand for the middle class. With my understanding and passion about the fashion industry, what I need now is financial and business knowledge, and I think the MSc in Applied Accounting and Finance programme I am studying here can definitely fill me up with that,” said Chinenye Egbuna, formerly a banker at a top commercial bank in Nigeria, who chose to pursue her postgraduate degree at the HKBU School of Business. For her, Hong Kong is not only the gateway to China, but Asia, with its proximity and level of internationalisation.
Unlike Thomas who had visited Hong Kong before he came for his postgraduate study, Chinenye decided to move to Hong Kong with her family before she had the chance to experience it. All her impressions about Hong Kong before she arrived were from her previous travel in mainland China.
“When I was travelling in mainland China, I didn’t communicate well with the locals due to language barriers and cultural difference.” To her surprise, however, things have gone well beyond her expectation since her arrival. “It turns out that I have no problem at all to communicate with people in Hong Kong. The faculty and students here are so welcoming that I have no problem to communicate with them, no matter for my study or for leisure topics.”
To set foot in the business world, Chinenye has been aggressive in looking for opportunities whenever possible. Recently, she won a social media competition and will have the chance to shadow the CEO of Schneider Electric for three days in the coming months. “Exposures like this have proved my decision right: Hong Kong is a place full of opportunities and possibilities. From here, I will be able to get closer and closer to my dream, step by step.”
Co-working is to seek growing together. Lise-Lotte Albers, the Netherlands
Currently a manager at the Hong Kong branch of an international co-working space, Lise-Lotte Albers, a graduate of the MSc in Business Management programme from the Netherlands, came to HKBU for her postgraduate study because of the social-oriented culture and the approachable people she had encountered during her time as an exchange student.
With a wide range of interests, from psychology and accounting, to sociology and internationalism, Lise-Lotte believes studying business covers most aspects and will take her abroad to meet the world. During her postgraduate study, Lise-Lotte was exposed to a lot of events on and off campus. For her, these were invaluable opportunities to expand her network for career development upon completing the programme.
“Hong Kong is the best place in the world for networking and rising fast and high in your career. It’s a great mix of the West and the East, and you can learn so much about different cultures, and have a great social life here.” With a broad scope of work in her current position, Lise-Lotte feels like she is running her own business which she enjoys a lot.
“Co-working hinges on the belief that innovation and inspiration come from cross-pollination of different people in different backgrounds, fields or specialisations. Random discoveries and opportunities can arise through interactions with others. I take that as ‘accelerated serendipity’ – that’s how I began my journey with HKBU School of Business too!”
Trouvaille arrived when I kept my eyes and mind open. Elaine Lau, Malaysia
“I would describe it as ‘serendipity’ for my decision to come to Hong Kong for my postgraduate study,” said Elaine Lau, a graduate of MSc in Applied Economics from Malaysia, without being superstitious. “I didn’t have a plan to study abroad, but was looking for a career change at the time. I happened to stumble across an education fair in my hometown where I saw the details of the programme, and I left my contact for the programme director Dr. YC Ng after some chitchat. Later, I got a follow up email from her which interested me with the International Postgraduate Scholarships. So eventually, I came to Hong Kong for my postgraduate study.”
Not quite fond of the culture and environment as a tourist, Elaine has had a completely different experience after settling down in the city. Highly efficient transportation, numerous options of good wine and dining around the neighbourhood, vast greenery as a backyard for weekend getaways, a good mix of modernity and traditions…you name it. In her opinion, “this is one of the best places for one to develop a career.”
Recalling her student days at HKBU School of Business, Elaine appreciated the alumni network and support the most. “The alumni at the School are so supportive and accessible that they always organise events for students, be they networking occasions or knowledge transfer sessions. As a student, I found the events and the alumni’s advice really useful to help me understand different industries from the inside out for my further career planning and development.”
Elaine has just started her career at EY Hong Kong as a Senior Consultant. Now as an alumna, she is ready to contribute her experience and knowledge back to students whenever possible, like what she received in her student days. “I was lucky to have so many opportunities and support to live my student life at HKBU to the max, and now I enjoy my hectic work life so much that I am really grateful for the decision I made to come to Hong Kong.”
For whatever reason, no one would ever regret to take that first step out of their comfort zone and go abroad to see the world. As Lao Tsz said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Are you ready to go for a fruitful journey?
We are now accepting applications for the class of 2018, find out more about our range of taught postgraduate programmes here.