Diversity and overseas stints help hone competitive edge

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 December, 2011, 12:00am


The Exchange Student

Nearing the end of high school in Liaoning province in China, Maverick Luo Feng had two clear ambitions. He wanted to study business at a top university and, like his peers, he was keen to get out and see the world.

A few years on, with a bachelor of business administration (BBA) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School, and a well-thumbed passport, he is pleased with the way things are turning out.

'Sometimes, I like to take risks,' says Luo, who is about four months into his current role as a management trainee with New World Development, the Hong Kong-based conglomerate.

He says he was sure that studying in Hong Kong was the best option. 'I knew CUHK would give me more opportunities and international exposure,' he adds.

Luo experienced this in different ways, such as the diversity of ideas on campus, with students and professors from many different countries. In addition, there were extra-curricular activities, including the 'model United Nations', which challenged students to wrestle with global issues and consider their own place in the world.

And, especially enticing for Luo, a range of exchange programmes made it possible to spend blocks of time overseas. In his case, this meant undertaking summer programmes at King's College London and at the University of California, in Berkeley.

'That kind of experience really changes your point of view,' says Luo, whose BBA focused on marketing and supply chains. 'When I was in the US, I remember having face-to-face discussions with students from Taiwan and, as a result, understanding more about their feelings.'

Meanwhile, in England, an assigned project on creative industries brought home how every economy and business must continue to evolve. It also showed the importance of making the most of one's talents. 'You make your own competitive edge - and you can achieve whatever you want,' Luo says.