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."