Student Remarks | Future Leaders and China's Ambassadors
2018-05-18 15:34:08
Future leaders, this is the name we use to call ourselves on the hallways when we meet. Those ‘foreign’ students oops! Sorry not foreign but international students who took China Studies in the third module. A wise man once told me that the word ‘foreign has some sort of negative connotation when we use it in a community setting so he never uses such word as foreign student when referring to his student.

He believes we are all one and to tag someone foreigner annuls such a belief so he always refer to his students as international meaning we are one but just from another country. It sounds sweet to be considered as part of a community even though you are not a citizen and you are allowed free access to whatever the locals have access to. His belief made me to check the mission of PKU if the school also share the same belief and lo and behold there it is in the mission of the school ‘Open Inclusiveness, Cultural Inheritance, Innovative Services, and Harmonious Development’. This tells the whole story.

In the beginning of the third module as I went through the courses for registration I came across China Studies, I laughed and said to myself; let me register for “important courses” but out of curiosity I went back to see the syllabus and I was kind of attracted to it but to be honest I thought it was going to be one of those Chinese classes where we will continually hear about the achievement of China. Do not get me wrong, the metamorphosis of China from her humble beginning to her current economic status is unprecedented but to hear it repeatedly for a long time makes it quite difficult to listen again and makes one think he or she is being brainwash.

In my local dialect it is often said “a good bead does not talk” To cut a long story short, I registered for China studies so that I would not have to write any boring paper research work about China. The first day of lectures was awesome though I was confused about what was going on because we were having a lot of committees formed. The professor kept calling us “future leaders” as he goes on sharing responsibilities to the various committees and I was wondering what’s going to happen because that was not what I was expecting in a class so I was kind of asking myself what is this? Is it some sort of team building workshop? Sincerely speaking, I was expecting that he will  move to Deng Xiaopeng and how china is great and will soon be the biggest economy in the world but those lectures never came.

International students of China Studies course visits Sichuan province for field study

What is that? I asked myself, Green leadership? Is it going to be some sort of tree planting training or some sort of environmental awareness? This is one of the lectures in China studies and trust me after the lectures I told myself I believe China studies course should be given a new name like “Real Leadership Skills development”. The course was an eye opener. To me this course is really designed to indeed build real future leaders who will be great team players with empathy.

After that lectures dubbed Green leadership I started looking at myself from the inside and realized that if I really want to be a good future leader then I must always seek to know and understand things from my team member’s point of view though it is difficult for a diversified group to always come to consensus but when they do the sky is the limit to their achievement.

I believe the whole point of the program is based on the philosophy of unity in diversity. From there I began to understand why “brilliant” leaders fail. I began to comprehend that it is not first class graduates who make great leaders or achieve the most but it takes a person with wisdom but not only knowledge to achieve set goals. You see wisdom is the application of knowledge and understanding. Knowledge represents the facts; understanding represents discernment; and wisdom comes in the process of applying our understanding and knowledge to our lives, to bring a change that brings the best out of people.

A smart or good student needs not just knowledge and understanding but the experience that comes from living out that knowledge and understanding which only wisdom can bring and that is what China Studies was all about. At the end of China Studies I have started looking at things differently; I looked at China and people differently. Now I try to understand them as I try to look at things in their way of thinking or better still in their point of view.

So for example, if I go to the policies for visa and they are requiring so many documents which some may seem impossible to provide, I try to see it from their point of view and ask myself what I will do if I am in their shoes. It is unfortunate our world today sees leaders who have empathy and as weak leaders. Real leaders are like servants so they serve, they do not force their opinions on others just because they are leaders.

PHBS delegation of International students visits one of the leading tech companies, Huawei

PHBS is trying to give the world leaders who are ready to serve but not to be served. This is what help me to understand the formation of those many committees in the class. It was to create an atmosphere of which everyone will have the opportunity to serve in any capacity he or she could. The class was like a complete government with its branches performing its duties and I was glad to see each one of us trying to do something to help achieve the set goals. I have not seen such cooperation among students especially students from different cultural backgrounds moving in one direction to achieve a common set goal. Unity in diversity is what was achieved in the China Studies class.

Beida is 120 years old and the milestone it has achieved is second to none. This and many other unique innovative training given to its students is what is making Beida great. It is not only knowledge that is impacted within the walls of PHBS but common sense to discern the knowledge for the betterment of society and the acceptance social responsibilities is what PHBS stands for.
Most of us international students have been touring around Shenzhen and to some extent we are  familiar with the popular places just by looking at them but not knowing what actually goes on within the walls of those big and tall buildings.

For example Huawei, Tencent, Qianhai and others. With the help of the coordinators of china studies we now know what exactly goes on within those walls. The programe gave us the opportunity to look at china from different angles. We looked at it from the cultural perspective, social and economic perspectives. We experienced Chinese cultural at first hand when we did most of the educational trips especially at Sichuan and at the CHI YI CHA HANG.

Economic wise it was so amazing how we really got to know what actually goes on in the major businesses in china such as Huawei, Tencent, Qianhai, BGI, Galaxy and others. Doors were opened wide for us to enter everywhere we went and such was an opportunities given to diplomats. In the name of China Studies in PHBS we could enjoy such privileges, we could enter any office and do many other things that would be difficult to do on our own as international students.

I believe it has taken a lot of hard work to design such a wonderful program for international students. Professor Huang, we say thank you for gifting us such a wonderful experience. We know you could not have done it alone and that someone at the top has seen this wonderful program and the impact it will bring. so to the Dean, Professor Wen Hai, we say thank you for the full support. The fact that we travel with the school logo shows that you are on board and the free transportation for the trips, we will forever be grateful.

A wise man once told me that “pay it forward”. Today we are just students but in the future we shall pay this debt by being a good future leaders and great ambassadors not only to “Beida” but to China too as a nation. Until then we shall continue to enjoy the rest of the courses no matter the “torture” involve for we know that PHBS is a crucible and as we get out of it we will be pure, genuine, unique and masters of our field because we have been tried and tested and we will not be found wanting in any of our professional fields. Our societies or wherever we will find ourselves will benefits from the training we got from PHBS and we will make our Professors proud as they have always been seeing most of their students in many strategic positions both local and international.

Thank you Professors, thank you PHBS and long live PKU.
By Daniel Kwesi Wobil, Master of Finance