Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Using the HNC experience to impact lives

Quinn Campbell '16 uses his HNC experience to impact individual lives, including current students

What is your favorite memory from the HNC?

For me, it was coming in third place at the Nanjing Dragon Boat Festival. We trained so hard for ten weeks straight, had boat practices every single Saturday, were lifting in the gym together and doing cardio practices. On the day of, we showed up and realized we were the least-practiced team there because we had only started training 10 weeks prior. But we had been working hard in those 10 weeks. Plus, we really wanted it, and we had our HNC community (including many teachers and both co-directors) cheering us on from the sidelines. We raced well throughout the bracket and ended up making it all the way to the championship heat, where we clocked our fastest time yet and came in third place overall!

What is your relationship with the HNC today? 

I try to participate in a Career Trek every year, and I’m the most recent member of the Hopkins-Nanjing Advisory Council. I try to stay as involved as I can, generally. On one side, it’s a desire to stay connected and give back on a deeper, more longitudinal level, because I have the time and being at the HNC was such a formative year in my life. For the Career Trek, I participated in every single Career Trek I could when I was a student. I remember being in that position, with so much opportunity and excitement about what comes next. It was a natural transition to give back on the other side.

Do you have any advice for alumni looking to stay connected with the HNC?

To anybody who is remotely considering getting involved, I would say: do it, 100 percent. It requires so little from you as an alum but means so much to the community. It’s fulfilling as an alum to be on the other side of things, and you remember so well the excitement and stress of being a student. Everyone who goes to China is a bit weird, and we all love each other for it. The HNC alumni community is tightly knit; it’s one of our strongest characteristics. I remember tapping into that for support and help when I was a student. It’s nice to turn around and give back to it. If you don’t know where to start, you can reach out to me.    

Could you introduce your work in your own words? How much built upon your HNC experience, and how much did you have to learn on the job?

Voodoo is a mobile games publishing company. We focus on hyper-casual games, which are simple, rewarding games that take about 30 seconds to play per level, and you can play them anywhere.  We work with hundreds of game studios across the world to help them create games, test games, and get them in the best spot to launch. We then launch under our brand name, similar to a book publishing company. I also create game presentation decks fully in Chinese; that in and of itself is hard enough, because it’s one thing to have your Chinese to a level where you feel comfortable communicating, but another thing when it represents your professionalism and must be error-free.

In the Southeast Asia Career Trek Session, you mentioned having a direct impact on individuals as a motivating factor for your transition from Deloitte to Voodoo. How was that sort of individual impact a part of your HNC experience?

The HNC community is tight-knit, you’re involved with the lives of every individual. I was disappointed with the gym when I got there, so I organized with others to fundraise. We were able to get some great additions to the gym and hold weightlifting and yoga classes. I was also involved with the Consulting Club, at both campuses, and ended up creating a consulting program purely aimed at upskilling students as quickly as possible for consulting interviews. I saw the impact of this more at SAIS DC. On average, they send three to four students into consulting, but at the end of the year we had 15 students with offers for consulting positions. 

What has been the most fulfilling moment or accomplishment for you since your time at the HNC?

The most fulfilling moment is launching my very first game at Voodoo, Strong Pusher, with a solo developer out of Mongolia named Batzaya. He’s 26 with a newborn. He came to me with this game last year, basically saying “help.” We started working on it, improving it, and it ended up going viral on TikTok. That’s when we knew we caught lightning in a bottle. With a newborn at home, it's so impactful to Batzaya to have this source of income. He sends me pictures of the car he bought, the new home he bought, the renovations he’s done for his newborn’s room. It’s awesome to see that change for someone.

HNC is now 35 years old, what do you see as the value of the HNC in the coming 35 years?

The HNC is more important going forward than it probably ever has been. US-China relations are obviously more important now than ever. Arguably, this is the longest period of tightened relations between the US and China since the HNC opened in 1986. What the HNC offers here is important: a cadre of Chinese and international students who are interested in each other’s culture, language, and international relations and issues on top of that. Engaging in each other’s culture, deeper thinking, and building relationships that bridge the current US-China relationship makes the HNC and its legacy a very compelling situation. What it enables for many future players in the US-China mix is completely unparalleled. There is nothing else like the HNC. A lot of students wouldn’t have access to this depth of study, experience, or the cross-cultural connections the HNC provides. 

On top of that, by their very nature, programs that offer this opportunity are not cheap. As an alum, getting involved in fundraising in any amount, shape, or form is what helps open the door for students to take advantage of what the HNC has to offer. Alumni fundraising is a huge part of making sure the HNC is accessible for the committed, energized students it attracts.