Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Announcing the Third Annual Hassenfeld Social Enterprise Fund Competition

Start planning now, and you could win up to $30,000 [1] to make a lasting, positive impact with your cross-cultural experience and education at the Hopkins–Nanjing Center!

2013 Hassenfeld Social Enterprise Fund Presentation
This fall, Hopkins–Nanjing Center (HNC) students will have the opportunity to design and implement a business plan for the common good in China. Students will compete in small teams for funding, which the HNC will award at the end of the first semester. Both M.A.I.S. students and Certificate students may participate. The most competitive plans will:

1)      Be well researched, structured, and written, with specific budget and effort projections;
2)      Identify a clear need that you, as HNC students, are uniquely suited to address;
3)      Create impactful partnerships among Chinese and non-Chinese students at the HNC;
4)      Detail a defensible strategy for financial sustainability and feasibility within China;
5)      Have measurable, enduring outcomes with a suggested minimum of a two-year horizon;
6)      Have a well-defined plan for leadership turnover.

The winning plan will receive funding from the Hassenfeld Social Enterprise Fund.

Past winners have built an online bilingual resource for the Chinese and international business community (http://nanjingconnect.com/) and an online platform to connect people interested in volunteering with charities and non-profit organizations in Nanjing (http://nanjingvolunteers.org/). Your project, however, does not have to focus on the internet. A social enterprise:

a)      Directly addresses an intractable social need and serves the common good, either through its products and services or through its business and employment outcomes;
b)      Derives strong revenue from its commercial activity, whether within a nonprofit’s mixed revenue portfolio or through a for-profit enterprise;
c)      Promotes the common good as its primary purpose. [2]

You will receive specific guidelines at the beginning of the fall semester but are encouraged to start planning today.

[1]Award amount depends on quality of plan and availability of funds, at the discretion of the Competition’s Selection Committee.
[2]Definition adapted from the Social Enterprise Alliance (https://www.se-alliance.org/). The Hassenfeld Social Enterprise Competition, the Hopkins–Nanjing Center, and Johns Hopkins University are not directly affiliated with the Social Enterprise Alliance, and reference to it does not imply those institutions’ endorsement of the Social Enterprise Alliance’s views or activities.

Friday, July 26, 2013

HNC's Annual Summer Reception in DC

This week HNC held its annual summer reception at the SAIS campus in Washington, D.C.  SAIS Dean Vali Nasr gave remarks and HNC American Co-Director Jason Patent provided an update on the Center for HNC alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends.  It was a fun-filled evening of dumplings and reconnecting with former classmates.

HNC alumni mingle over dumplings and drinks

HNC alumni from 2009 and 2010

SAIS Dean Vali Nasr

HNC American Co-Director Jason Patent

Current HNC/SAIS Five-Semester Option students
HNC alumni from different years share their experiences

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Alumna Profile: Judith Ordaz on Opening a Mexican Restaurant in China

HNC has well over 2,000 alumni working in a variety of fields all over the world.   As an example of the diversity of career paths followed by our graduates, we asked MAIS '13 alumna Judith Ordaz to tell us more about the Mexican restaurant she recently opened in Nanjing.  We encourage all incoming students to go visit her restaurant!

Judith Ordaz

Valentina's on Guangzhou road #16.
瓦伦缇娜 广州路16

Below are some of Judith's tips on opening a restaurant in China:

"Many foreigners who have spent time in China will tend to experience longing for familiar foods and environments.  When this happens it is not uncommon to hear conversations about what an excellent idea and profitable business opening a restaurant would be.  After all, you have identified the market demand and you are ready to fill it.  After going through the same process, I decided to go ahead and open my very own Mexican restaurant in the city of Nanjing.  This article is specific to my experience and is meant to be for reference only.  If you are serious about pursuing this entrepreneurial route, assuming you have found reliable partners and can fund your project, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

First: Location. 

We have heard this many times before: location, location, location, and it is true.  Take enough time to find a place that is suitable to the type of restaurant that you plan on building.  There are two options: to use a space that was formerly a restaurant or to use a space that was not used for a restaurant previously. The first option involves finding a place that is currently being used as a restaurant, or was previously used as a restaurant.  This type of space will require a transfer fee (转让费), which means the current restaurant owner or previous restaurant owner will want a sum of money just to transfer the place over to you (some places not suited to be restaurants will also want to charge this fee).  In the city of Nanjing the fees range from 130,000 to 250,000 RMB.  The second option is to find a space that is not or was not a restaurant.  In most cases, this will mean there is no transfer fee or if there is, then it will be at a significantly lower cost. What does this option mean?  You will have to build and remodel.  Depending on the size of the place and how fancy you want your design to be, professional decoration (装修) companies will usually give you a price per square meter (around 10,000 RMB per square meter), in addition to the materials needed. 

Other things to consider when you rent are: can there be open fire in the building? (Many building regulations don’t allow this, which forces you to only use electricity, which can reduce your profit significantly). Is there access to water? And if not, is there a way to get it? Is all the paperwork in order?  This is extremely important so you can register your business without delays.

Second:  Equipping Your Restaurant. 
If you end up doing your own remodeling, you will have a lot more work to do.  After the decoration company has finished their job, you will still have an empty restaurant.  This means it is your responsibility to shop for tables, chairs, kitchen appliances, and the restaurant’s soft décor ().  All cities have markets that sell everything for restaurants and hotels.  In Nanjing it is Boqiao Market (南京博酒店用品有限公司) on #45 Jianning Roadhttp://www.njbqsc.com) .  This is the place to find everything you need, from dishware, to kitchen appliances, to furniture.  They can custom make the things you will need to fit your kitchen dimensions.  Keep in mind you should go well in advance before the decoration is finished, since some things can take up to ten days to be delivered.  When you visit these markets, do not be shy to bargain.  You can also have custom uniforms for your staff made here.  As for your restaurant’s soft décor, it depends on the type of restaurant you are building.  I found myself bringing most of it from Mexico. Remember, the soft décor makes up about 30% of the restaurant’s total environment at the end of the day. 

Third:  Registering Your Restaurant. 
This is the most important step.  If you cannot register your restaurant, everything else you do is pretty much useless.  To get the business permit (营业执照), you need your lease and the certificate of house property title (产证) and take it to the Administration for Business and Commerce Office. They will also need to make sure your restaurant’s Chinese name has not been used before in the province (so hold off on printing anything, making signs, or getting a website before confirming this).   You will also need a bank account to be associated with the business; at this point a personal bank account will suffice.  You can also open a joint account with your business partner(s).  After applying for the permit, which can take anywhere from a week to two weeks depending on how busy they are, your restaurant will be inspected to make sure it follows the safety and sanitary regulations required. 

Fourth:  Actual Business.  
After going through the process of making sure your place is ready, there are still things to consider.  These considerations involve hiring workers and giving them appropriate training.  As for your ingredients, you will find that the closest fruit, vegetable, and meat market already deliver to all the restaurants in the area.  In the case of Nanjing, many restaurants in Ninghai Road, Shanghai Road, and Guangzhou Road get their ingredients from the market in Hankou Road under Suguo.  They are happy to deliver to you daily, you can give them a call the night before with what you need, or just have a set number of things you need daily.  You can also negotiate for a cheaper price with them. 

Make sure you have a marketing plan, and have assigned a part of your budget to it.  While it may seem that you have an original concept that everyone will like you have to keep in mind that in China you are not just competing against restaurants that are similar to yours, but you are also competing against any foreign restaurant in the area.  There are only so many foreigners, and they have a set budget to eat every day, so it is important to also consider your Chinese clientele.

These are a few basic, but essential, things that should be helpful when considering opening a restaurant in China.  Make sure you have a realistic business plan, be prepared for any setbacks, and whatever you budgeted your total investment cost to be, make sure to have at least an additional 30% as a cushion.  When things get stuck along the way, gifting cartons of good cigarettes can help speed the process up." 

Judith Ordaz Peña is from Chihuahua, Mexico. She went to the University of Arizona to receive her Bachelor’s in Political Science, minoring in German and Chinese studies. While pursuing her undergraduate degree she came to Nanjing as a Gilman Scholar to study Chinese Politics and Sino-American relations as well as to learn Chinese. Judith went on to work for U.S. Congresswoman Giffords, led a state-wide Human Rights Organization campaign in Arizona, and successfully directed a City Council campaign before returning to China to attend the Hopkins Nanjing Center.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Natalie's Summer, Part 1: Northern India

HNC MAIS student Natalie Sammarco sent us an update from India, where she is spending part of the summer between her first and second year:

"Many of my friends from HNC have opted to get internships for the summer in either the US or China and even elsewhere (Europe, other Asian countries too). Since I have worked out in the ‘real’ world before, I know that time is precious and summer vacations are becoming more and more scarce. Given this, I chose to engage in personal interests this summer and then go home to see my family (I have a big one!). That’s why I’m currently pursuing a yoga certification program in India for the month of July, after which I will swing by to see a couple HNC friends before heading back to the US for a much needed respite :-)

<<<Aside: I did a little preparation beforehand, knowing that I was coming to India this summer. In my economics class this spring, I chose to do my policy brief (a 16 page analysis of environmentalism and globalization) on India so that I could know much more about the country before I arrived. That was amazing preparation for me. That way, I tied HNC and my summer plans into one :-) >>>

This yoga certification is for a couple reasons. It’s so important for students at HNC to stay true to their interests, especially when there won’t be as many US conveniences (read: a fully stocked gym) available in or around the Center. One should come prepared for making a full effort to seek out any extra curricular activities when one comes to campus. Saying this isn’t to scare anyone, it’s just the truth. We have some gym equipment at the Center, but it merely does the job with no frills. Thus, this certification is to keep myself centered while working on my thesis and also to provide another physical outlet for students at HNC next year (I’ll be conducting classes :-); TBA)

My yoga school in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh is only 5 hours from the Pakistani border and couldn’t be in a more beautiful location. It’s in the foothills of the Himalayas and has been called 'Little Lhasa' because it is His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s adopted home-in-exile. We’ve spent 14 hours a day for the past 3 weeks studying, learning, doing, and living the yogic lifestyle. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be tired from cleansing my entire body and mind from a year of hard academics. The amazing part is that there are still 10 days to go.

Being here reminds me that the world is large and there are places that are untouched by modernization. Our accommodations are ‘yogic’, another word for spartan, but no one seems to mind. The electricity cuts in and out, but when you realize you’re in the mountains, you can’t complain. The photo below is the view from my balcony. There’s something about being in the mountains that’s so exhilarating.

I am thankful to have the other people in my yoga training with me. They come from a diverse group of countries including the UAE and Thailand, among 8 others. Some have sold all their belongings and live in trailers by the beach. Some teach English in bustling metropolises, others train competitively in Jiu-jitzu, and one has put her sofa and extra shoes in a storage locker in Brooklyn and doesn’t know when she’s planning to go back to retrieve them. The world is open to explore. These people are amazing. They are inspiring. They are warriors of the world and won’t take no for an answer. They take the hits and inconveniences of living in the countryside with grace. I could not be more blessed.

The message here is that HNC is a place to study hard and receive your certificate or degree, and that is amazing. That time is also a good chance to explore the area in which you live: Asia. It is okay and well to be working over every holiday break: interning, writing papers, catching up on news. Those are all useful experiences. Yet, the world is out here and we are young. My advice is: study hard all year long, then take your much needed vacation. That way, you get the best of both worlds: working hard, and playing hard.

Up next: Summer, Part 2: Meeting His Holiness, the Dalai Lama"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Arriving in Nanjing

Where do incoming students go once they land in China?  As you start booking your tickets to Nanjing this fall, you should consider the following travel options:

Getting from the Nanjing Airport to the Center
Nanjing Lukou International Airport is about 40 km outside of Nanjing city.

1) Taxi:   A metered taxi from the airport to the Center takes 45 minutes and costs about RMB 150, including one freeway toll (RMB 20).

2) Shuttle bus:  The airport shuttle bus into the city takes about one hour and costs RMB 25.  This bus, which is located outside the domestic arrivals exit, does not have a specific name or number.  Unfortunately, the shuttle bus terminals in Nanjing are a substantial distance from the Center and require that you take a taxi or a combination of a subway ride and a 10-minute walk to get to your destination.  The taxi service is your best choice for your initial trip to the Center.

Getting from Shanghai to the Center
Another option is to fly directly to Shanghai’s Pudong Airport and then take the train or bus to Nanjing.

1)  Train:   The train from Shanghai takes from a little over an hour to nearly three hours, depending on the type of train.  Trains with numbers preceded by “G” are high-speed trains.  “D” trains are next-fastest.  Don’t buy a ticket for a train that will take longer than three hours.  Train tickets may be purchased at the Shanghai train station and cost about $25 one-way, depending on the type of train and class of seat. Nanjing has two train stations: the Nanjing Station and the Nanjing South Station. Both are reasonable distances from the Center, so it doesn’t matter which one you arrive at.

From the Nanjing Station, you may take a bus, taxi, or subway to the Center:  If you’re hauling heavy or bulky luggage, your best choice is probably to wait in the taxi line and pay the RMB 20 to get a ride directly to the Center.
o   Bus:  The Number 13 bus costs RMB 2 and takes about 40 minutes to reach the Center bus stop. 
o   Taxi:  From the Nanjing train station taxi stand, it’s a 20 minute/RMB 20 taxi ride to the Center. Be aware that the “taxi drivers” who approach you within the station are generally unlicensed and charge exorbitant rates. Stay in the taxi queue.
o   Subway:  There is an entrance to the subway on your right as soon as you pass through the ticket gates (before you exit the train station).  The subway ride to the station nearest the Center will cost RMB 2.  Take subway Line 1 south to Gulou Station (鼓楼站).

From the Nanjing South Station, you may take a taxi or subway to the Center. If you’re hauling heavy or bulky luggage, your best choice is probably to wait in the taxi line and pay the RMB 35 to get a ride directly to the Center.
o   Taxi: From the Nanjing South Station taxi stand, it’s a 35 minute/RMB 35 taxi ride to the Center. Be aware that the “taxi drivers” who approach you within the station are generally unlicensed and charge exorbitant rates. Stay in the taxi queue.
o   Subway:  There is an entrance to the subway in the station.  The subway ride to the station nearest the Center will cost RMB 2.  Take subway Line 1 north to Gulou Station (鼓楼站).
2)  Bus:  Buses run frequently between Shanghai and Nanjing and the trip averages about three and a half hours.  A long-distance bus station is located near the train station, at 270 Heng(2) Feng(1) Lu.  Buses leave hourly from 6:30am to 5:30pm, with additional buses on the half hour during peak travel times (mid-morning and early afternoon). 

Please check your orientation handbook for even more details on how to get to the Center!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nanjing's Chaotian Palace

Admissions Coordinator Sallie You recently returned from a trip to Nanjing for the 2013 commencement ceremony.  Fortunately she had time to visit some of the sites of Nanjing while there, including the Chaotian Palace:

"I had the pleasure of visiting the HNC campus this June and one of the ‘touristy’ things I got to do in Nanjing was to visit the Chaotian Palace. The palace was built in the Ming Dynasty and holds the Nanjing Municipal Museum. The palace has a unique gold colored tile that was SO pretty! The Chaotian Palace is a short cab ride away from the HNC campus – so be sure to visit if you are in the area (make sure you visit one of the pagodas in the garden – you get a great view of the city)!  Here are some pictures of the Chaotian palace!"


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Career Services at the HNC

HNC Career Counselor Robbie Shields looks back at the 2012-2013 academic year:

"Any student of Chinese knows the importance that “chengyu” () plays in the language.  In just a few characters, Chinese speakers can communicate profound and complex messages.  To me, few expressions offer greater wisdom and value than 摸着石头过 (crossing the river by touching the stones). This expression was made famous in China in the late 1970’s when Deng Xiaoping used it to explain the piloting of reforms in China’s planned economy.  It is unlikely that Mr. Deng ever intended the expression to be used to describe students’ career development, nevertheless on a micro-level it’s a perfect fit.  

Career Day 2013
One of the most common misconceptions students have is that there is a linear path to every profession.  Take time to speak with working professionals in virtually any industry and you’ll find people who began their careers in a variety of industries.  I recently spent a week meeting with alumni in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, many of who told me how their careers took very different directions than they previously imagined.  Sage Zhang (HNC ’07), an attorney with Huawei in Shenzhen, explained to me that as a native of Liaoning province, he hadn’t planned on moving to Shenzhen when he was a student.  But when his wife got an opportunity in Shenzhen, he determined it was where he wanted to be.  Kelly Morris (HNC ’95) began his career in the military and even sold paintings door-to-door in Australia prior to joining Morgan Stanley as an Executive Director.  Kevin Crowe (HNC ’94) who is now a Business Development Director with Asia Policy Partners in Hong Kong started his post-Center career as a Marketing Manager with the Shenyang Shawnee Cowboy Food Company, a candy company in Shenyang. What these and many other successful alumni have in common is that arriving at their career of choice was a process that took time.  One shouldn’t panic if they are arriving at graduation and they haven’t determined precisely which career path is the best fit.   

This year the hiring market in China was particularly competitive, with seven million fresh graduates competing for 15% fewer jobs that last year.  Despite such challenges, HNC students found opportunities in a variety of industries with many influential organizations, including, the US Embassy in Beijing, Apple, Conoco Phillips, Goldman Sachs, Research Institute of China Studies (Mumbai), KPMG, and others.  With strong research, analysis, and communication skills, HNC students continue to leverage their education to find professional success.

In looking at next year, Career Services will continue to grow and expand at the HNC.  Alumni Weekend, Career Day, and our Career Treks will continue to provide students with opportunities to engage employers and learn about various industries.  Alumni panels, recruitment visits, and workshops afford students the chance to develop professionally.  One piece of advice I will offer incoming HNC students is to get experience in a work environment.  The classroom alone is unlikely to provide you with the experience you need to help define your career interest or to be competitive for internships/full-time positions.  There are internship opportunities here in Nanjing, and so while you’re here studying take advantage of local opportunities."