Tuesday, February 24, 2015

An Interview with HNC Career Counselor Robbie Shields

Robbie Shields in Lijiang
It’s still winter break at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, so students, faculty, and staff are away from the HNC and traveling the world. We were fortunate to be able to sit down with HNC Career Counselor Robbie Shields while he was here in DC reconnecting with the SAIS Office of Career Services. 

What were the career services highlights from this past semester? 
We’ve had several highlights. First, the Asia Trek from January 18-23. During the Trek, 20 students (eight from SAIS Washington, two from SAIS Europe, and ten from HNC) went to Shanghai and Hong Kong to meet with employers of various industries and had a great experience. We had through-the-roof student evaluations and every participant said that they would recommend Asia Trek to other students. Employers visited during Asia Trek included Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, the Economist Intelligence Unit, Deloitte… it was the who’s who of different organizations. We also had fantastic alumni receptions in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Networking is all about developing relationships. There are not a lot of institutions who have the unique interests that our students and alums do. It’s professionally relevant for our students to talk to people who have similar interests and leverage that for career opportunities. 

Anthony Kuhn (HNC '92) of NPR speaks at HNC
A second highlight of the fall has been employer visits. We had a general basket of speakers, some very much with a focus on recruiting students. Visitors included Jim Heller (HNC ’91) of the US Embassy in Beijing, Min Chang of Omnicon Asia Pacific, Luke Treloar (HNC ’06) and Meng Meng (SAIS ’13) of KPMG, Deputy Assistant Secretary Frank Rose, and Anthony Kuhn (HNC ’92) of NPR, among others. 

A third highlight was a mini-course taught by Han Lin of Wells Fargo on US-China cross-cultural banking. It was a Saturday-Sunday course and was very popular among the students.  

What are you looking forward to once the spring semester begins in March? 
I’m looking forward to Career Day in Shanghai, the Beijing Trek, employer visits, and graduation.

Applicants will find out in March whether they’ve been admitted to the HNC. What advice do you have for incoming students? 
Students need to understand that China is not a career. It’s a country. Look at any industry: government, travel and tourism, energy and environment, financial services. It’s a fantastic time to invest in an education in China in relation to a career, but at the end of the day they still have to think about what they want to do with China, so that they have that knowledge of China plus something. To say you understand China, its culture, and language, that in and of itself is not enough to say it’s a career. What are you going to couple it with? 

What is your favorite place in Nanjing? 
My favorite spot is the Nanjing city wall. What a lot of people take for granted at the HNC is Nanjing’s importance in China’s history. That wall dates back to the Ming dynasty. That’s a cool thing about Nanjing. You can see the wall from throughout the city.