Director of CKGSB Americas speaks at the California China Forum at USC
April 9, 2017

Maximizing Success from American Education

How Chinese students attending US Universities can overcome challenges and optimize opportunities

Alan Chen, Director of Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business – Americas, offered insight and advice on how Chinese students can optimize their American education. Speaking at the California China Forum, Mr. Chen highlighted and addressed the typical challenges that Chinese students cope with while attending American universities.

“In addition to getting settled, learning a new culture and a whole new way of doing everything; many Chinese students are living away from family and carry the big burden of expectation and a lot of pressure to succeed and to capitalize on the investment of studying in America,” Mr. Chen said. “My talking points, which were to a large part based on research and analysis from professionals, aimed to ease the cultural and social challenges. I urge Chinese students to tap into services available to them and to consider all options in their career pursuit.”

One crucial challenge highlighted by Mr. Chen is the cultural barrier that makes Chinese students less likely to seek help from advisors or professors. “They believe that asking for help makes them seem like a problem and less valuable,” Mr. Chen said.

“The fact, however, is that these professionals and resources, such as career services, are there for a reason and you should utilize them. Moreover, don’t be afraid to approach your school’s resources to get help with depression and loneliness.”

In an increasingly competitive job market, Mr. Chen advised that students should seek internships early in their university years, to get recommendation letters, and aim to work for larger companies. He also advised Chinese students to expand their social network beyond other Chinese students to improve their English skills, learn American ways, and build a network of like-minded professionals.

“One major challenge for Chinese in America is that they are unfamiliar with ‘American style self-promotion,’ and despite their dedication to education and excellence, many fail to exhibit confidence when they meet with managers and employers.

“I also advise Chinese students not to limit their options to one market, in today’s global economy, expand your search and don’t be afraid to return to China; competitive candidates will remain competitive, regardless of location,” he said.

Mr. Chen’s speech titled “Sino – US Educational and Cultural Fusion and Future” addressed the challenges and potentials facing a growing pool of nearly 305,000 Chinese students who choose to study at American universities.

His presentation is in line with vision of CKGSB-Americas to enable and promote global commerce and trade, innovation and entrepreneurship. The school continuously is devising programs and building partnership to meet this vision.

For instance, CKGSB’s Global Emerging Leaders is the result of the School’s partnership with Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, which prepares the next generation of entrepreneurs in family-owned enterprises to tap into global opportunities.

Another program, Innovation in Israel and Beyond, offers a unique opportunity to gain insight into Israel’s Start-Up Nation and to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge required to become a global business leader. The one-week program allows students to learn from industry leaders and entrepreneurs and to hear their experiences and personal stories. Students also have an opportunity to visit venture capital funds and to meet private investors as well as outstanding technology accelerators.

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