Letters from the Dorm: perspective I gained as I approach the end of my teenage years

By Abiel Ma, University of Sussex
By Abiel Ma, University of Sussex |

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Abiel Ma (right) with 'mentor' Prof. Joseph Sung, Former Vice Chancellor of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

If it wasn’t for a birthday discount reminder from an online shop, I probably wouldn’t have noticed that it’s less than a week until my 20th birthday. 

It made me realise that it’s been nearly two years since I’ve taken a proper rest, or had time to take a step back. 

I’ve managed or been involved with several organisations since I was 15 years old – from NGOs to orchestras, to being the “shadow” of a CEO at a big company, to setting up my own corporate social responsibility (CSR) solutions company to flying to India to set up a leather factory. It’s been a difficult, and absolutely exhausting, journey.  

 But there is so much more to come. This year, we’ve organised a flagship event – the HKJSLA (Hong Kong Joint School Law Association) Mentorship Programme 2018 – which provides students with extraordinary experiences, such as shadowing CEOs, meeting the Finance Minister of Albania, and attending a board of directors’ meeting. 

The idea was inspired by my personal experience of shadowing a CEO, two months which completely changed my life. Although I am still unsure about my future career, I was able to learn some practical workplace survival skills which makes me confident that I can do well in whatever profession I choose. It would be great if more youngsters could have similar experiences. 

The mentorship programme is one of our CSR solutions, is designed to encourage more companies to give internship opportunities to selectedstudents selected through debating competitions. We have been in partnership with the former vice-chancellor of Chinese University, Professor Joseph Sung Jao-yiuand 24 CEOs, partners and managing directors from companies such as Citic Group, Squire Patton Boggs, AMTD Group, and Metro Broadcast Corporation, to be mentors to our student participants. 

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but it’s certainly satisfying, and seeing the smiles on the participants’ and several customers’ faces makes it all worthwhile. 

Having accomplished so much in my teenage years, and as my 20s get closer and closer, I’m finally taking the time to step back and appreciate how fortunate I am to have had so many opportunities. 

I would like to thank each and every one of you who has supported and helped me over the past 20 years; let’s work hard together and make the world a better place. 

Edited by Ben Young