PHBS Hosts the 1st International Alumni Panel Discussion
2017-05-06 14:47:00
The first of its kind with the promise of more to come, the 1st PHBS International Alumni Panel entitled,"The Business Environment in Mainland China and Hong Kong: Perspectives from Leaders in International Business" was held on May 6th, 2017. An array of PHBS students gathered together to learn and gain insights from 7 international alumni who were invited back to PHBS and who are now thriving members of the business community.

 International Alumni pose with Dean Hai Wen, Assistant Dean Young Joon Park, Professors and members of the MA-PhD office

The event started with an opening speech by PHBS Dean Hai Wen, where he stressed the importance of international alumni and informed the students about the exciting developments that have taken place at PHBS recently.  After the dean’s speech, Nicole Chastagner, Associate Director of the MA-PhD office updated everyone on the current status of international alumni and how international students can get involved after graduation. 
 Dean Hai Wen gives the opening speech 

 Nicole Chastanger, Associate Director of International Affairs gives an update on International Alumni

The event was divided into 2 panels, with each discussion consisting of a Q/A. Questions were sent beforehand by the attendees. 

The 1st panel was “Developing your own company in Mainland China/ Hong Kong” led by Professor Kevin Chastagner. A crucial discussion point was the advantages of doing business in China vs your home country, which were lower costs, less competition, an open atmosphere, better tax incentives and special economic districts which help start-ups. Other discussion points included the challenges in entrepreneurship such as changing of partners, disconnect in in understanding, cultural barriers, and the retaining of talent, ending off with advice on what students can do regarding networking and opportunities. 
  Panel 1: Developing a Company in Mainland (Left-Right): Moderator, Professor Kevin Chastagner, Michael Mersol-Barg:Managing Director of  Mersol & Luo Ltd., John Rood: Director, Somos Brand Consultancy, Shawn Lin: Ingenious Creations Ltd. 
Panel 2: Career Development in Mainland China/Hong Kong was comprised of alumni who have had success in employment and shaping careers within companies. Issues discussed included the differences in the business environment between cultures, the kinds of companies students should apply to, and the differences between females and males in the business environment, in particular and whether it’s more difficult for women to find a job compared to men, though all panellists agreed that business opportunities between them are equal, and the number of women are increasing. As current PHBS students, they were advised by the panellists spend time with Chinese students to create future contacts. 
Panel 2: Career Development in Mainland China/Hong Kong (Left-Right): Moderator, Professor Jiao Shi, Mücahit Mehmet Kiraz: General Manager, Turkish Airlines, Kristaps Ronis: Executive, Ion Pacific, Michael Hage:Starfit China Limited, Hage Fittings and Flanges, Gateway Limited, Sunny Mewati: Marketing Manager, Shenzhen Coollang Cloud Computing Co.Ltd 

Following the panels was a coffee hour where both students and alumni came together to casually network. Everyone awaited the sought-after raffle prize, which was 1 roundtrip ticket from Guangzhou to any Turkish Airlines destination worldwide, which was won by Shubham Kulrestha, 2nd Year student. The raffle prize and gift bags that participants received were all sponsored by 2011 Alumni, Mehmet Kiraz, General Manager of Turkish Airlines in South China.

Students and Alumni during the coffee networking hour

“The event was very useful to understand what kind of obstacles I can face while opening a company in China and to know some issues that I was not considering before”, commented Eduardo Meythaler, 1st Year Student, “The panel was a great opportunity to get together with fellow alumni entrepreneurs, and share our experiences with students interested in starting their own business in China. Already looking forward to the next one!” remarked John Rood, one of the alumni panellists. With these in mind, the international office hopes to further strengthen alumni connections and host similar events in the future. 

Written by: Amanda Nepomuceno, Eleonora Barbieri and Realeboga Maboe
Photos by: Wang Yi Nan & Eleonora Barbieri