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News@Ivey · Dennis Chen, Avril Sun, Yuki Sun, and Alice Yang

Hong Kong career trek broadens students’ perspectives on working abroad

Mar 12, 2024

Students visiting Cyberport

Ivey and Western students visiting Cyberport in Hong Kong

The Ivey International Business Club, in collaboration with the Western and Ivey Alumni Network Hong Kong Chapter, recently organized a five-day Global Career Trek in Hong Kong during Spring Reading Week. The goal was to showcase career opportunities in Hong Kong and hear about alumni’s experiences working abroad. Altogether 20 students from Western University and Ivey participated and had the opportunity to visit 10 firms, including Google Hong Kong, Alibaba, and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. There was also a social night where the students met more than 30 Ivey and Western University alumni and learned about their career experiences.

In their blog below, Dennis Chen, Avril Sun, Yuki Sun, and Alice Yang – all HBA students and International Business Club members  – discuss the behind-the-scenes planning, highlights of the trek, and lessons learned.

Introducing students to international careers in Hong Kong

As members of Ivey’s International Business Club (IIBC), we are excited about exploring global business career opportunities. So when Dennis Chen, IIBC’s co-president, proposed planning the club’s inaugural career trek in Hong Kong, we eagerly committed to bringing this trip to life. Our objective was to offer students a unique opportunity during the February reading break to immerse themselves in Hong Kong’s vibrant culture, connect with Ivey and Western alumni, and explore offices pivotal to the city’s international prominence. The end goal was to broaden students’ perspectives on working abroad, particularly in Hong Kong. 

Over four months, we finalized the itinerary and logistics of the trip. One of the most valuable and early steps we took was engaging Cydon Choi, HBA ’12, President of the Ivey Alumni Network Hong Kong Chapter; Simon Yu, President of the Western Alumni Association Hong Kong Chapter; and Francis Pun, Vice Chair of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. Their invaluable guidance exceeded our expectations, and we sincerely thank them for warmly welcoming us and facilitating connections with the tight-knit Hong Kong alumni network. 

A total of 20 Ivey and Western students participated in the Hong Kong expedition, which featured enriching office tours and ample free time for personal adventures. Read more on our journey below.

Growing personally and professionally

After a 16-hour flight, our anticipation to explore Hong Kong was met with a city that captivated us from the moment we landed. An early morning visit to a bustling dim sum place became a cultural immersion, as people warmly greeted us and sparked conversations, showing us the city’s vibrant and communal spirit. Witnessing such seemingly small yet genuine gestures among strangers throughout the trip left a lasting impression, reminding us of the importance of being fully present in social interactions. 

As we ventured into different districts of the city – from Kowloon’s temples and street-food markets to the finance hubs of Wan Chai – Hong Kong stood out as a unique fusion of traditional and contemporary influences, seamlessly blending Asian and Western expressions. The city’s international mindset, a cornerstone of its global economic standing, was unmistakable.  

Our journey began at the Consulate General of Canada, delving into Hong Kong’s historical significance and contemporary focus on fostering innovation. Subsequent tours of leading incubators Cyberport and Hong Kong Science and Technology Park further showcased the city’s commitment to innovation. Learning about the revolutionary solutions born within these facilities, such as the widely adopted prenatal diagnosis technology in clinics today, was truly inspiring. 

Exploring finance careers in Hong Kong led us to MY.Alpha Management and UBS, where we engaged with vibrant Ivey alumni, Jon Jhun, HBA ’11 and Kenyon Tse, HBA ’04. A visit to Wah Yuen Food, the family business of Brian But, a Western BMOS ’13 graduate, highlighted the challenges faced by Hong Kong’s food manufacturing companies, from high shipping costs to intense retail competition. We concluded our journey with Cydon Choi, HBA ’12, at Colliers International, where students discovered the intricacies of operating a leading commercial real estate broker. 

Our office tours deepened our understanding of Hong Kong’s future direction and diverse corporate cultures. We bid farewell to the city during our Alumni Social Night, where more than 30 alumni from diverse backgrounds, spanning graduation years from the 1980s to 2021, shared fascinating stories about their professional development. The contagious energy of the alumni left a lasting impression, making this career trek an invaluable experience, both socially and professionally. 

Looking back, among the many insights we gained, two clear themes come to light:

Becoming tech-savvy is a universal asset for success

In Hong Kong, it’s clear that technology and innovation take centre stage. Our visits to Google and Alibaba Cloud’s offices underscored the importance of keeping up with the latest tech tools to remain adaptable in any work environment. The ability to utilize technology for productivity, innovation, and/or service improvements can make a significant difference for individuals and companies alike. Whether it’s enrolling in online certification programs or exploring artificial intelligence tools hands-on, the trip emphasized the importance of staying on trend.  

Embrace the adventure of living abroad

Throughout this journey, we discovered the sheer delight of immersing ourselves in a new city, leaving our initial apprehensions behind. So long as we are willing to connect with new faces, savour exotic cuisines, and delve into the intricacies of local corporate and communal cultures, we will be able to not just learn, but evolve into open-minded global citizens. Whether it’s embarking on an exchange program or considering a future relocation for work, let us collectively pledge to approach international travel with an eagerness to embrace the unknown. 

View more photos from the Hong Kong career trek below.

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