Getting down to business
Five junior reporters received scholarships from the Richard Ivey School of Business Asia to join its summer business programme last month.
They all agreed it was a fun-filled, eye-opening experience. Here they tell you why they liked it and what they learned.
The Ivey programme was truly an inspirational experience for me. In stark contrast to the spoon-feeding that goes on in most Hong Kong schools, the course encourages active participation in a lively and captivating learning atmosphere. That enhances the quality of our learning. The interactive methods made everyone leave their comfort zone and contribute to class discussions without the fear of being criticised. The case studies transformed me from a passive to an active learner. Instead of memorising facts, I tried to analyse the information that was given to me.
I shared my opinions with my teammates and learned to make decisions as a group. These interpersonal skills will benefit me in the long run.
The two weeks had a lasting impact on me. I have learned to be more outspoken, more of a team player and a more outgoing and passionate person.
At the beginning of the course, we were told we'd feel like a family by the end. I'd never have believed it, but after two weeks of intensive learning and case preparation, we certainly did.
The course enhanced our knowledge about accounting, management, and marketing. We also had plenty of opportunities to apply newly learned concepts in real-life situations.
Our learning curve culminated in a case competition. In our presentation, we knew we would have to summarise everything we had learned over two intensive weeks. I can truly say the most tiring period of the entire course was the weekend before the competition. Our team, Prestige Worldwide, arrived at Ivey campus at 10am and left at 7pm on those two days. It came as a pleasant surprise that we won the competition in the end.
It was such a valuable two weeks. I met many thoughtful, talented people from diverse backgrounds. It makes me very sad to have to leave them, and Hong Kong, for my future home in Toronto. Now, my summer adventure has ended, but the lessons I've learned and the friends I've made will never be forgotten. I will also remember our victory forever.
The programme was content-rich, intense and lots of fun. When people think of business, they think of numbers and figures. It can be scary for an arts stream student like me. But our instructors, Eric and Erica, illustrated business ideas with real-life examples. They made sure we understood the concepts before moving on.
Their teaching style was engaging and fun, which helped make me feel at ease. I was encouraged to raise my hand to offer my thoughts to the class. I was amazed that the instructors were able to make the whole class participate in discussions.
My classmates were bright and outspoken, and the learning environment was competitive in a healthy way. Our diverse education and cultural backgrounds made the programme so much more interesting.
All in all, it was a meaningful experience. It has helped me walk away feeling content and confident about myself . . . and much more comfortable with numbers.
Before joining the programme, I didn't have the faintest idea how a company operated, let alone how I could analyse its performance. During the course, we found ourselves in the shoes of a decision maker. We had to apply the financial knowledge and skills we learned to come up with a marketing plan for a company.
On the morning of our final challenge, I had butterflies in my stomach. My teammates were very supportive and encouraging, however. Thanks to their help, I managed to calm down just in time for our presentation. I knew we had done our best so I was able to enjoy our presentation.
The programme is not about learning how to make money; it's about being an effective leader, and most of all, being in control of yourself. I feel very proud of how much we have grown and achieved together. I have become a wiser and more independent person. Now I have the confidence to reach beyond my potential, and I believe nothing is impossible for me.
The first week of the programme was tough for a new person in the business field like me. The heavy workload of completing a case study every afternoon frightened me. But, in the second week, I had fun learning about marketing, operations and leadership. These topics helped me to understand how the business world actually works.
The course was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I'd never had so much fun studying business. Communicating with my classmates, who were mostly English speakers, helped to improve my English and exposed me to different cultures. The case study method was also effective and motivated the participants. It helped me to discover the joy of self-learning and how to put what we learned into practice.
The experience was certainly the highlight of my secondary school life.