As a citizen of Hong Kong, the world’s freest economy, I have always been fascinated by US. Even though Hong Kong lies in the vicinity of China, it resembles US more closely in business culture and entrepreneurial spirits. As I turned fourteen, my father started sharing his business knowledge and experiences in China and Hong Kong with me. Learning about my father’s experiences sparked my interest in business and economic affairs and I still remember he often used to say, “The top leader in business is the one who lasts till the very end and so both you and your business have to win every competition.”
My father is my source of inspiration and also the person I want to surpass in life! I am inquisitive and often read articles about how successful companies conquer their respective markets through innovative and brilliantly executed marketing strategies and how they are able to perform equally well in markets with quite different characteristics. I discovered even though both Hong Kong and US are free market systems that value entrepreneurship, US based organizations are more likely to seek collaborative relationships with competitors than Hong Kong based organizations. Organizations in US realize that sometimes competitors possess unique expertise and it is possible to collaborate with them on certain projects with win-win outcome for both parties. Apple-Microsoft collaboration on Microsoft Office software as well as the recent Facebook-MySpace agreement are good examples of mutually beneficial collaboration.
One of the main contributing factors behind the success of American businesses is their pragmatic attitude that often involves realizing and accepting bitter facts sooner than later. American businesses are swift to act on opportunities and even swifter to deal with problems. This is why I wanted to study in the US so I could improve my understanding of American business culture and am able to share my perspectives with fellow American students.
I started my academic career in the US as Business Administration and Economics student at Pleasant Hill, California based Diablo Valley College. I actively participated in the campus organizations to improve my leadership skills. I represented Diablo Valley College at the State Business Leadership Conference, both in the fall of 2009 and the spring of 2010. I also competed in inter-university business case competitions that addressed economics and business management issues. These experiences have helped me improve my business perspectives and communication skills. I also served in the roles of the Vice President of Business Relations in the Business Club, Marketing Committee Head of Phi Beta Lambda, and Public Relations Officer of the Student Government. I am grateful for the diversified skills I developed in each of these roles. These roles have also improved my negotiation and critical thinking skills.
Even though I had been a believer in the power of collaboration for a long time, my first practical experience came during my stint as a Public Relations Officer of the Student Government. The Student Government was faced with budget issues and no progress was occurring until I convinced everyone to take a collaborate approach towards solving budget issues and identify concerns common to both parties. When the Student Government was faced with declining revenues from Discount Sticker Program (its main source of funds), I redesigned the program to increase its appeal by reassessing sticker prices, increasing the number of selling spots, and negotiating marketing deals with vendors for the owners of Discount Sticker Program.
Before I joined, the Student Government had no formal marketing team. Thus, I took it upon myself to form a formal marketing team and assigned members with strong marketing skills to the team. The initiates I introduced helped the Student Government increase its revenue while I learned valuable strategic management skills in the process. As I plan to move to a new learning institution, I am proud of my experiences and achievements at Diablo Valley School. I am sure I have not disappointed my father either because now I am a lot mature and I know where I want to be in life in five years or ten years and beyond that.
I hope to take valuable lessons I learn in the US with me when I return to Hong Kong. I believe the vigorous business program at the University of California will further enhance my critical thinking and business management skills. The Business Program at the University of California is famous for its emphasis on cross-functional analytical skills that improve students’ investigation skills as well as their solutions generation abilities. I plan to start my own business and I have an absolute trust in the University of California Business Program to help prepare me for the great challenges that lie ahead. I hope to make a difference in the world which is why I intend to take full advantage of every learning opportunity that the University of California Business Program has to offer.
Barbara de Angelis, an expert in the field of relationships and personal growth once said, “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” My experience in America has not been any different and after receiving so much love here, it’s finally my turn to give back to the society and the greater world. New international students face numerous challenges upon arriving in the US such as language, culture shock, and a different environment but fortunately for me, Contra Costa International Christian Fellowship (ICF) was always there and not once they let me feel like an outsider. The efforts of Contra Costa in creating a friendly environment for international students to adapt to the American culture can’t be overstated. I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to serve in the Contra Costa as well as helping a Japanese student getting settled in the US. It felt as good to be helping someone as it felt to be cared by Contra Costa when I first came to the US. My experience with Contra Costa was so fulfilling that I introduced fun games to the club to engage more students. I am convinced giving has become an essential component of my personality. My challenges in the US have me more sympathetic to others’ difficulties and I hope this part of me continues to live even after I return to Hong Kong.