Mary Prager, a 23-year-old graduate from Swarthmore College, had an unforgettable experience at 2012 Young Scholar Plan training camp on CKGSB’s Beijing campus starting Friday, November 2 through Sunday, November 4. “It is very challenging and inspiring,” Prager said with brightest smile on her face, her short black hair tucked behind ears.
Majored in philosophy, Prager speaks four languages including Chinese. Upon graduation,Prager joined Teach For China, an NGO recruiting outstanding individuals to commit two years to teaching in high-need schools, and became a teaching fellow in Yunnan province since 2011. Now that planning to officially launch her career next year, Prager sees YSP training camp a valuable opportunity to find out what types of role she might be able to play in China’s business world in future.
YSP program, now in its 2nd year, has been tailored to senior college students or recentgraduates without formal employment experience, like Prager, who are exceptionally talented and eager to have a successful career in China. The 3-day training camp featured professor lectures, case studies, team shows, career development, as well as business networking practices. It allowed participants to experience study life at one of the world’s best business schools and get a feel of working in real business environment.
“YSP is an exciting opportunity for individuals with outstanding academic backgrounds and potential for success in the future to gain all the benefits from CKGSB’s MBA Program, ” said Robert Welch, CKGSB’s International Marketing & Admissions Manager.
Along the way, young participants learned business fundamentals and acquired soft skills by working in teams to communicate, collaborate and make decisions.
“I’ve gained much-needed exposure to business knowledge and skills…Now, it’s more clear to me what I need to learn in order to achieve competency and excellence in [business] field,” Prager wrote in an email.
Two tenured CKGSB professors gave interesting lectures, explaining profound business issues and complex data analysis in amazingly simple and clear languages.
“I have taken courses related to quantitative analysis at Peking University. However, Professor LI Yang’ s lecture is different and very illuminating. He gives me a completely new perspective to look at numbers,” said Junlve Jiang, a double major in Chemistry and Economics at Peking University.
All YSP participants were required to collaborate in group-projects, in which they honed leadership and communication skills. Truman Han, an English major at Fudan University, was deeply impressed by the camp’s innovative approach to encourage team work and communication.
“It is really a great opportunity for us to learn about the spirit of cooperation, teamwork and leadership,” he said.
Jiang echoed that one of the most important things he picked up at YSP training camp was astyle of business communication. “Most science students like me care more about results than what other people might feel…Now I realize to create stronger impact as a team, it is very important to let others feel comfortable working with me,” he said.
Most participants, aged 19 to 25, are going to start their career in 2013. Some are looking for entry-level jobs in financial services industry, others planning to promote environmental protection. The training camp included a career development component, which guided participants to conduct skill assessment, and provided them a chance to meet business professionals from CKGSB alumni network. The idea is to help them map out their own careers.
“We encourage these young individuals to think about what they want to do with their lives as early as possible, ” said May Xia, Associate Director of CKGSB’s MBA program. Jiang of Peking University has done internships at PwC, consulting firm A.T. Kearney, and asset management firm PineBridge Investments. “The career guidance I obtained at the camp is extremely helpful. It confirmed my desire to work as a quantitative analyst or a trader after graduation,” he said.
This year’s YSP program attracted over 400 applicants. Prager and 75 other young participants have passed at least two rounds of interviews to be accepted. The interview process placed great pressure on all applicants, both mentally and emotionally. Only those with exceptional academic performance and strong leadership potential were selected.
CKGSB recognizes the importance of bringing in people with varied backgrounds. Up to 20% camp participants are from regions outside of Mainland China. Among Mainland participants, over 70% of them have exchange program experience. Curricular-wise, one in two participants is non-business major, such as Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science etc., and quite a few are dual majors.
An extra benefit of YSP training camp is participants are eligible to apply for MBA scholarships at CKGSB. Their MBA application will be evaluated based on the same criteria applied to more experienced professionals, as most camp participants have very rewarding internship experiences during college, according to Pauline Deng, Senior Manager of GKGSB’s MBA Program.
Prager has made up her mind to pursue an MBA program at CKGSB. “[YSP training camp] has helped me to think more critically about whether I should pursue an MBA in China or in the United States, and helped me to confirm that CKGSB is the right school for me,” she said.
– By Mara Yuan Nov. 6, 2012