Feature story – An uplifting account of a student pursuing social business in a pluralistic world
Our third feature story for the CUHK Business School.
Again, an excellent experience that allowed us to develop uplifting content about inspiring individuals and emerging business models.
Read on to see how Joshua found his calling for social businesses, and how he is taking advantage of his business education to prepare himself for a mission- and meaning-driven career.
Stay tuned for our next feature story or check out previous ones for extra doses of positivity.
Pursuing Social Business in a Pluralistic World
As the world coalesces around a new normal, business leaders are increasingly expected to lead through change with empathy, sensitivity to diversity and social responsibility. Joshua Chiu (BBA in Global Business Studies, Year 4) is ready for this constantly evolving world. He has been delving deep in diverse and multicultural settings to hone his business acumen, cultural fluency and entrepreneurial mindset.
Joshua is part of a growing coterie of elite students to have enrolled in the Global Business Studies (GBS) programme of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School. “I picked GBS for my major as it is one of the finest business courses in Hong Kong. Its curriculum is well-structured and internationally oriented; and there is ample support for students to explore different career paths,” said Joshua.
Building Cultural Fluency and Business Agility
Each student of GBS spends at least two semesters overseas, one at the University of North Carolina’s UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and another at the Copenhagen Business School. This multicultural experience offered Joshua actionable and invaluable insights into not just foreign cultures, but also international cooperation.
Joshua recalled most fondly his experience working with students from different academic and cultural backgrounds. For one such project, he had to work with students from the US, the UK and Denmark. He described the experience as a “style clash”, as every participant held different approaches to tackling the same issue. “It was only after we learnt to understand each other’s perspectives that we were able to create a holistic solution together. It was a fantastic experience! I have developed lifelong friendships and bonded with students from different countries.”
During his enriching exchanges in Denmark, Joshua was also acquainted with what having an entrepreneurial mindset and leading during uncertain times entails. He participated in a month-long coursework modelled on a case competition, where he was required to work with students from various institutions and devise a business proposal for a Danish e-commerce company. “My teammates and I knew very little about the industry and had a steep learning curve. We managed to pull it off through hard work and perseverance, and it was very rewarding indeed.”
Enriching His Business Skillset and Entrepreneurial Mind
As a business student, Joshua is relentless in his pursuit of business knowledge and excellence. For example, he joined the Hong Kong Shared Good Values Competition to devise solutions for social enterprises to share good values. Interning at KPMG China, he challenged himself to develop advanced accounting skills within a short period of time. Even during the pandemic, he signed up for an internship at a conglomerate and is learning coding in his spare time. He considered the broad exposure useful to help him appreciate and understand different sectors, companies and the business world better.
Joshua is also highly accomplished academically. He received the Kunkle and Pommerenke Scholarship in recognition of his academic excellence and leadership abilities. In addition to emerging as a champion at CUHK Academic Cup, he is a student ambassador of the Undergraduate Office of CUHK Business School.
He attributes this pursuit of knowledge and experience to the growth mindset that CUHK instils in students. “CUHK Business School encourages students to not only acquire hard-core textbook knowledge, but also develop the soft skills needed for the business world. Additionally, the school prompts us to continue learning even outside of the classroom, to learn and grow all the time because that is what leads you to success.”
Inspired by the Power of Empathy and Social Responsibility
Even though Joshua is a business major, it is social businesses and mission-driven organisations that he finds himself gravitating towards. In 2018, he undertook his first internship at Teach for Hong Kong, a non-profit organisation founded by a GBS alumnus Arnold Chan in 2015. It was a rare choice for a business student as most students tend to opt for major commercial enterprises for their first internship. “You can always intern at large companies and for-profit organisations. I wanted to explore how social enterprises or social businesses work. I was intrigued by this mission-driven organisation and how it promoted educational equity and growth-making communities.”
However, it was not until he joined a service trip to Cambodia in 2018 that Joshua was most profoundly touched by the indelible impact of social purpose. That winter, he volunteered at Cambodia Youth Action Global Education Center to teach children English as well as to help build their school. “It was a life-changing experience for me. Despite being the children’s tutor, I felt I was the one who was empowered. Learning English was a precious experience for the children. They were exhilarated by the lessons and cherished every opportunity to practice this international language. I was deeply inspired by the power of education, and plan to explore more about social enterprises and social responsibility.”
Soul Searching and Forging Ahead
Joshua now intends to first pursue his master’s degree after graduation and then gain further experience in the financial sector. Down the line, he hopes to combine his interests and strengths into a career of his own.
“During the past few months, I spent a lot of time figuring out what I want to do over the next five to 10 years. I have decided that my ultimate goal is to utilise my business acumen, business skills and global perspectives to promote community development. I want to help our community achieve not only financial well-being, but also social bonding.”