Feature story – An uplifting account of a student pursuing social business in a pluralistic world

posted by / October 22, 2020

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.

Screencap of the article on the CUHK Business School website.

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.

“The programme’s tri-continental learning experience enables students to gain the necessary skills that help them succeed in this increasingly globalised and pluralistic world.”

Joshua Chiu

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.

“CUHK Business 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.”

Joshua Chiu

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.”

“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.”

Joshua Chiu

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.”

Feature Story Transcreation – HKSTP CEO Mr Albert Wong

posted by / September 13, 2020

It is always a pleasure writing for and about innovation and technology.

We were invited by the CUHK Business School to transcreate a feature article of HKSTP CEO Mr Albert Wong.

The original writer used Mr Wong’s love of running as a thread to connect the story, so we also weaved the theme of running throughout our transcreation.

Read our transcreation here and the original Chinese article here.

Feature story of a high-flying student

posted by / August 3, 2020

Our second feature story! It’s always a privilege to learn and write about the inspiring figures among us, tell their stories, and channel their positivity. As we conceived the metaphors to connect the story, we even got to learn a good deal about acappella and music. Another highly satisfying project.

Read the original article on the CUHK Business School website.

Our first feature story of another impressive CUHK Business School student can be found here.

Feature story of a high-flying student

Embracing the Music of Business and Life

When Samson Huang (BBA in Professional Accountancy, Year 3 student) sings in a choir, he knows exactly which pitch to use to harmonise with the group and deliver a transcendent performance. He is now learning to sing the rhapsodies of business, and to develop his unique pitch and voice for his part in the shifting world.

Learning the Tunes of Business

Guided by a lifelong interest in business, Samson chose the Professional Accountancy (PACC) programme at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School as his gateway into the business world. “Many people think that accounting deals only with numbers and simple calculations. In reality, accounting is the common language of the business world. It enables you to interpret and understand the rationale behind each number and formulate financial plans and strategic decisions.”

Samson understands that academic knowledge is only half of the equation. Business also involves working, communicating and collaborating with people. He found CUHK’s “Comprehensive University” setting and college system fabulous in helping him hone his soft skills. “CUHK’s all-round education celebrates diversity and instils a global mindset in students. We are encouraged to keep an open mind and respect other perspectives. This prepares us to take on today’s world, in which meeting, listening and working with people from all walks of life and nationalities is key.”

Appreciating the Timbres of the World

To explore the vast realm of business and to find his place, Samson has taken on six internships and a myriad of extracurricular activities. He purposefully chose different industries to gain the widest exposure: he worked in retail, traditional finance and FinTech. He exchanged at IE University in Spain and, when that was cut short by COVID-19, swiftly took on an equity research internship. I wanted to see the real business world and how I can utilise my academic knowledge in different business settings to formulate new ideas.”

“In these turbulent times, you need a broad set of knowledge and skills to innovate, improvise and succeed. CUHK’s all-round education is preparing me for this environment, not only in knowledge but also in mindset and soft skills.” ──Samson Huang

In addition to working for established businesses, Samson tried his hand at forging his own ventures. He won the championship at UBS Group Chief Operating Officer Case Study Challenge 2019 and claimed the Best Airport Application Award at Cathay Pacific 24-Hour Hackathon in 2018. During the Hackathon, he attempted to come up with a solution to enhance the airline’s operational efficiency and to provide a better customer experience for travellers, all within 24 hours and with a team formed on site.

Samson also joined the student-led Hong Kong Federation of Business Students (HKFBS) as Internal Vice President. At HKFBS, Samson co-founded JUMPSTARTER IdeaPOP! Startup Pitching Competition, a student entrepreneurship competition under the JUMPSTARTER competition organised by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund. “We offered ideas on what university students were looking for and organised the logistics, marketing and promotion of the competition. I was even the emcee of the finale event. It was an incredible experience.”

Creating Music out of Distinctive Voices

Through it all, Samson has learnt that communication and collaboration are indispensable to success in business. He sees a parallel with his work as the tenor of the all-boys O’blue Acappella. For unaccompanied vocal music to entrance listeners, each performer has to contribute his voice, in different pitches, to create a divine harmony.

This coincides with Samson’s motto: to serve and to lead. “We have to serve others before we can lead. From my internships and collaboration with business leaders, I discovered that leaders are differentiated by how they manage themselves and how their conduct influences the people they lead. I often remind myself to have the right attitude and to perform well to influence and lead others.”

“We have to serve others before we can lead. I often remind myself to have the right attitude and to perform well to influence and lead others.” ──Samson Huang

Singing In Harmony with the Next 10 Years

Samson is now undertaking another internship at the Corporate Bank division of Deutsche Bank. The decision was inspired by his mentor during the CUHK Mentorship Programme. Samson is finding the experience rewarding and believes it will offer him greater clarity on which career path to pursue.

“It is very important to step out of your comfort zone and try new things when you are young,” Samson said. “These experiences help you identify your strengths and career interests. They let you communicate with people from all walks of life and learn to respect others. Most importantly, they shape you as a person, enhance your agility and resilience to the new normal, and enable you to stand out in today’s competitive world.”

Samson plans to use the next 10 years to lay the foundation for his career and to hone his capabilities. Then, he hopes to consolidate his knowledge and industry insights, set up his own business and pursue financial innovation.

‘In the Hearth of the Heart a Kindling Spark’

Is he worried about the Future of Work as an accountant? “Technology will be able to replace a very small part of the accounting industry, but in areas that require human intelligence, such as managing the financial goals and plans of a company, those will still require accountants.” Samson believes that technologies like AI and machine learning can be tools to help accountants focus on flexing their soft skills and generating new ideas.

“Every one of us is a spark waiting to grow ablaze and to light up the world. Once we learn to harness the power of our true selves, we can change the world for the better, no matter the challenges.” ──Samson Huang

Samson’s confidence for the future was inspired by the lyrics of the song Soul Light by Kim André Arnesen. “The words ‘In the hearth of the heart a kindling spark’ have deeply influenced me. Every one of us is a spark waiting to grow ablaze and to light up the world. Once we learn to harness the power of our true selves, we can change the world for the better, no matter the challenges.”

By offering himself to new experiences and possibilities, by attuning to the melodies of life and business, by bringing passion, motivation and the right attitude to everything he does, Samson is primed to take on the future. He is ready to contribute his voice to the music of business.

Feature story of a Kazakh student who exemplifies youthful positivity

posted by / June 3, 2020

Our first feature story! Even though we didn’t conduct the interview, we were fascinated by Anna’s youthful positivity through the interview’s audio recording. Hope her story inspires you as much as it inspired us. Enjoy!

Read the original article on the CUHK Business School website.

(We have since written another feature story of another high-flying student, which you can read here.)

Feature story of a Kazakh student at CUHK
Feature story of a Kazakh student at CUHK

Revelling in new adventures, embracing novel experiences, and living life with unyielding optimism are the hallmarks of youth, and Anna Ni (BBA in Hotel and Tourism Management, Year 4) has embodied these qualities par excellence as she experiments, moulds and builds a future of her own.

Anna Ni was one of the first three Kazakh students to join The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in 2016. Now a year 4 student majoring in Hotel and Tourism Management (HMG) at CUHK Business School, Anna has already completed an impressive four internships and two overseas exchanges – in five countries. Along the way, she picked up a few scholarships and made it to the Dean’s List. “If I can learn something and grow professionally,” Anna said, “I would rather do that than waste time.”

If I can learn something and grow professionally, I would rather do that than waste time. — Anna Ni

From Kazakhstan to Hong Kong: Coincidence or Destiny?

Despite having heard about Hong Kong from her dad’s business travels and yearning to visit for years, Anna had not considered coming for university. It was not until her dad’s chance encounter with a traveller and hearing that person heap praises on CUHK that she began looking into the prospects of studying in Hong Kong. “Some may call it a fortunate coincidence; I call it destiny.”

Upon learning more about the university and Hong Kong, Anna was instantly intrigued by the opportunities for international students. Additionally, she was captivated by the diverse multicultural student body of CUHK, which she envisioned would offer her ample opportunities to learn and grow as a person.

Driven by a lifelong fervour for people interaction, customer service and cultural exploration, Anna picked HMG as her major. She found CUHK Business School, with its ample networking opportunities, study abroad programmes and internship placements, to be an apt place to give wings to her dreams and aspirations.

Initially, however, it took Anna a while to adjust to the new surroundings. “To be honest, the first couple of months were pretty challenging. Not going to lie. Because the culture in Hong Kong is very different from home. It’s a lot more diverse and a lot more fast-paced and competitive. It took some adjusting.”

Because the culture in Hong Kong is very different from home. It’s a lot more diverse and a lot more fast-paced and competitive. It took some adjusting. — Anna Ni

Learning Hospitality from the World Over

Anna’s eagerness to gain maximum exposure to hospitality was met by CUHK Business School’s globalised learning approach. She savours the international perspectives offered by the professors and draws inspiration from teachers who walk the talk of hospitality. Anna was especially awestruck by Ms. Gentiana Cheung, Professional Consultant of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management and Programme Director of BBA in Hospitality and Real Estate Programme (HRE), formerly named as BBA in Hotel and Tourism Management Programme. “She was the first person I met from CUHK, and her friendly attitude, her smile and her positivity continually inspire me of what professional hospitality should be about. I was motivated to get into the School because of her. I consider her to be my mentor.”

Seeking to hone her skills and enrich her cultural exposure outside of the classroom, Anna took up four internships in Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and the US, and went on two overseas exchanges in Thailand and Australia. Her responsibilities included managing the hotel front desks, serving at restaurants, organising MICE events and even working at a BMW dealership. She considers these experiences crucial for anyone who wants to work in the globalised hospitality field.

These hands-on experiences not only help you apply what you learn in class, it makes it easier for you to model theoretical concepts to real-world situations and better understand what the professors talk about. My vision is to take as many opportunities to learn and to practice. — Anna Ni

Internships aside, Anna joined the Asia-Pacific Hospitality Management Programme (APHMP), an exclusive three-way exchange partnership between CUHK, The University of Queensland in Australia (UQ), and The Mahidol University International College (MUIC) in Thailand. She wanted to observe and learn the business practices in both Eastern and Western cultural settings and to enhance her interpersonal skills by interacting with people from diverse backgrounds.

Exposure Blended with Experimentation Offers a Warehouse of Possibilities

Anna’s latest internship also uncovered her passion for events organising and media marketing. Since returning to Kazakhstan earlier this year after the coronavirus outbreak, Anna has been working remotely for Informa Markets, a leading organiser of B2B events that operates in Hong Kong and across the world. She was tantalised by the prospects of a career in hospitality centred around events organising, which she finds immensely rewarding. Anna now plans to work in the events industry for a few years after graduation. She wants to explore the field and gain more experience before determining the way forward, including what to pursue for her master’s degree.

Perhaps the seeds of Anna’s love for events were sown prior to that internship. Upon finding a general lack of awareness about Central Asian cultures and countries in Hong Kong, Anna teamed up with other international students from Central Asia to take part in the CUHK’s Islamic Cultural Festival in 2016. They set up a stall to exhibit journals, souvenirs, national flags, food and indigenous music to give visitors a taste of Central Asian cultures.

“The success of that event prompted us to go one step further. In 2018, we organised a cultural event in March to celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year. More than a hundred people came to our event and we successfully spread the awareness of Central Asian cultures. The event has even become a recurring affair every March since.”

No one is ever going to just give you opportunities or teach you unless you want to learn. That’s why I choose to be proactive. I want to take matters in my own hands. — Anna Ni

“Winners Don’t Quit and Quitters Don’t Win”

With her refreshing youthful optimism, Anna credits her maxim of life with a quote from Napoleon Hill, the author of a book Think and Grow Rich.

“Napoleon Hill said: ‘A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits.’ The quote highlights how you should not let obstacles or challenges in life break you or define you. If you fall, stand up and keep going. You can always find a point to grow.”

Anna learned the importance of proactivity from her first internship. “No one is ever going to just give you opportunities or teach you unless you want to learn. That’s why I choose to be proactive. I want to take matters in my own hands.”

Anna said studying at CUHK Business School has helped her grow as a person. She learned to set the right priorities to get more out of life, study and work. She also learned to adopt a positive attitude to cope with stress and competition. “I’m very appreciative of CUHK to give us such opportunities to learn and travel and to be the best versions of ourselves.”

Feature Story of Dean of CUHK Business School

posted by / October 31, 2019

We developed a feature story for the CUHK Business School entitled Prof. Kalok Chan is Ready to Pass the Baton. Our first feature story!