Thursday, March 26, 2015

HNC Career Day in Shanghai

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center recently held its annual Career Day in Shanghai. Read on for student Nanfei Yan's impressions of the day!

Hello All,

Last Friday was the annual HNC Career Day, undoubtedly one of the most exciting events at the Center. Career Day starts off with a keynote speaker luncheon, followed by a dozen panels covering a dozen industries, ending with a dinner reception for all the participants. 

Career Day Luncheon
This year’s keynote speaker was a managing director from Deloitte China. He spoke on the qualities of leadership and quoted past leaders from both China and the US. Afterwards, students were given a chance to ask questions. When asked about lessons learned from past challenges, the speaker shared a memory from working with multinational clients and having to recognize the importance of cross-cultural communication. 

Keynote Speech at Career Day
For the panels, students were given a choice of 3 from a list of industries including consulting, finance, government, human resources, media and marketing, etc. I attended entrepreneurship, non-profit organization, and legal services.

In the US, entrepreneurship has become synonymous with the tech start-ups of Silicon Valley. Where is entrepreneurship flourishing in China? What is unique about the start-up landscape in China? The panelists stated that compared to the US, start-ups require more starting capital and undergo a more extensive approval process in China. After the initial hardships, the entrepreneurs agreed that the Chinese market had a higher potential for massive profits once the business got going. Given that the panel only consisted of foreign entrepreneurs, it is worth noting that all four of their businesses revolved around the bridging of foreign and domestic businesses. For example, one company connected foreigners with jobs in 2nd tier Chinese cities; another was a law firm that specialized in advising foreigners on entering the Chinese market. 

Entrepreneurship Panel
Last semester, I took a game theory class called Economics of Strategy. Having covered microfinance as one of the topics, PlaNet Finance was a memorable participant from the non-profit organization panel. Furthermore, they not only implement microfinance strategies in areas of poverty, their work also covers the research of microfinance economics and its effects. While the panel generally focused on the fragility of NGOs in China, the global infrastructure of PlaNet Finance China seemed to contribute to its stability. 

Non-Profit Panel
The last panel of the day was the law panel. It was composed of primarily Chinese lawyers, representing four law firms of varying sizes and practice areas. The panelists weighed in on issues such as the rule of law, competition between domestic and foreign law firms, and the study of law in Chinese academia. The panelists remarked that while implementing the rule of law in China is still a work in progress, it is now a level playing field between domestic and foreign law firms. In other words, domestic firms are providing the same quality of service as the foreign forms, often at lower prices. Expecting the prestige for studying law to continually rise, the panelists were optimistic about the direction of its development. 

Students Interacting with Law Panelists
All in all, Career Day offered invaluable insight into the potential future careers of HNC students. We were given the opportunity to interact with alumni and learn more about the kinds of choices waiting for us upon graduation.