Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Beijing Career Trek

Hello everyone! Last week, the students at HNC had our spring break. I have heard great stories from classmates that traveled throughout China and Southeast Asia. Some of the destinations that I have heard of include Guilin, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao and Sri Lanka.

For me, sixteen classmates and I participated in HNC’s Beijing Career Trek. The Beijing Career Trek is a trip organized by HNC Career Services in which students, over the course of four days, have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with practitioners from a variety of sectors to gain first-hand insights into the organizations’ strategies, operations, challenges, and hiring needs and processes. Additionally, students have the opportunity to meet and network with HNC alumni in the Beijing area.

In preparation for the event each of us researched one of the companies we met with and, before each meeting, briefed the rest of us on the company, their operations, and their job opportunities. In addition, we all had to buy (or make sure we had) professional clothing and business cards.

Career trek group outside SOHO

So after some shopping and research, we were ready! Over the course of the trek we met with ten employers and attended an alumni reception. The companies that we met with were:

  • SOHO* - SOHO China is a publicly traded real-estate company headquartered in Beijing. The company is the largest prime real estate developer in China.
  • US Embassy* - Many federal agencies have offices in the embassy, however the main agency is the Department of State, for which many Foreign Service Officers serve. This meeting was particularly interesting and insightful as we had six presenters, all of whom are HNC alumni.
  • China Centre for Globalization – The China Centre for Globalization is an independent, non-profit think tank headquartered in Beijing. The organization conducts research on a number of issues, including (but not limited to): international affairs, global talent issues, education, and sustainable development. The CCG is considered one of the top think tanks in China and works with private and state owned enterprises.
  • US-China Business Council*- The US China Business Council is a private, nonprofit organization whose members include 220-230 American companies that do business with China.
  • APCO Worldwide – APCO is the second largest public relations firm in the U.S. The firm engages in strategic communications, consulting and international public affairs. This meeting in particular was fun as the presenters, instead of having a typical Q&A session with us, gave us a case study to show us what a typical assignment for them would be like.
  • Amazon –, Inc. is an American e-commerce and cloud computing company with headquarters in Seattle, Washington. It is the largest Internet-based retailer in the United States and has a strong presence in China.
  • Weber Shandwick* - Weber Shandwick is a global public relations and communications agency. The company has expertise in (among other areas) consumer marketing, digital marketing, financial services, and digital/social media.
  • Nielsen – Nielsen is a marketing research company headquartered in New York and operating in over 100 countries. The company primarily focuses on measuring consumer behavior to help its clients make informed business decisions.
  • Pfizer – Pfizer is a global biopharmaceutical company based in New York City that specializes in medicine, healthcare products, and vaccines.
  • Bloomberg* - Bloomberg L.P. is a privately held financial software, data, and media company headquartered in New York.
* Indicates that we met with a HNC/SAIS alum working at the site.

In addition to these site visits, we attended an alumni reception. Here we met with a number of HNC alums that are all working in the Beijing area and involved in a variety of fields. Many of the alumni who came work in finance, environmental or energy companies, media companies, or PR firms in the Beijing area. It was enjoyable and inspiring to hear from these alumni and learn about their experiences post-HNC.

Alumni Reception in Beijing

My classmate Dereck, me and Anthony Kuhn, a HNC alum and currently a Beijing Correspondent at NPR
I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to all of the professionals who took the time to meet with us and to HNC/SAIS career services for organizing the trek. I know all of the students who participated in the trek events got a lot out of it. The meetings and receptions were great resources to learn more about many fascinating fields and focus our own career aspirations.

Written by Andrew Retallick , HNC Certificate/SAIS MA student