Following Tuesday’s visits it was off to Hong Kong, where we had meetings with eleven employers in three days, as well as an alumni networking event to welcome SAIS Dean Vali Nasar to Hong Kong. We began Wednesday morning by meeting many distinguished members of the Noble Group, including the CEO Yusuf Alireza. Mr. Alireza provided us with an overview of Noble’s business and then offered advice that has proved valuable in his career. Most significantly, he encouraged students not to shy away from a challenge. When he first came to Noble from Goldman Sachs, Mr. Alireza admittedly didn’t have significant experience in commodities. Nevertheless, he took it upon himself to put in the time necessary to learn the industry so he could leverage the skills and experiences he developed throughout his career for Noble. I was particularly impressed when he stated confidently 'I welcome a steep learning curve.'
While all employer visits offered students unique insights, I believe the most valuable event of the trek was the SAIS alumni reception at the Foreign Correspondents Club welcoming SAIS Dean Vali Nasr. At this reception, roughly 75 member of the SAIS community came to meet the dean, catch-up with old friends, and meet other SAIS professionals working in Hong Kong. This proved a brilliant opportunity for our current students to see first-hand how our graduates apply skills honed at the HNC to working in Hong Kong.
Prior to departing Hong Kong, all twenty students joined Ron and I for a farewell dinner. This gave students an opportunity to share what they had learned on the trek. It was interesting to hear how each student had a different takeaway from the trek and found different employers to be of greatest interest. One theme I heard from many was that they were less stressed about their career prospects after hearing how many different paths there were to success. As a Career Counselor, this was something that I was delighted to see."