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Students look towards the future
Published on Thursday, 25 Nov 2010
Ivan Tsang Chun-yin
Ng Ho-cheung

Mentorship programme invaluable

Ivan Tsang Chun-yin is a 24-year-old final-year LLB student who also studied business for three years. His preparation for the world of work was eased by his participation in HKU's mentorship programme.

The scheme was organised by the law faculty and was very enjoyable, he says.

"They contact alumni to visit and meet classmates and share their experiences in the legal field," he says.

The mentors shared insights into their work and work-life balance, their career development and details about their field of work. Introductions were first made at mentorship dinners, where two mentors were grouped with four students. After the initial meeting, the group kept in contact and met up every few months.

According to Tsang, one particular mentor was very helpful and he is still in touch with her.

"She also organised some gatherings with her colleagues or some of her friends, and would invite us to attend. I really benefited a lot from chatting and interacting with those people."

Tsang believes his dual studies have equipped him well for the realities of the job market.

"The knowledge in both fields is beneficial to our career, because it gives us some practical and professional development."

He has completed several internships, and has already attended several job interviews. He is pushing himself to be more proactive by talking to different employers, finding out more about various career fields, and brushing up on any shortcomings in his skills to meet market requirements. He plans to work in business and hopes to find a job as a management trainee in a bank.

"I prefer to go to the business field because it's more dynamic - things keep changing."


Stimulating international environment

Ng Ho-cheung is a 21-year-old, third-year computer engineering student. For Ng, studying at the University of Hong Kong has been an eye-opening experience.

He found the international environment stimulating and highly educational, and enjoyed interacting with students from other cultures, including Pakistan, India and the mainland. One unexpected benefit from his new friendships has been a marked improvement in his Putonghua, he says.

Last year, he spent one semester studying computer engineering in the United States at the University of California in San Diego as an exchange student. Last summer, he was an intern at Infosys Technology, one of the world's biggest IT companies, in Bangalore, India, dubbed the "Silicon Valley" of Asia. The experience gave him food for thought.

"I had always believed that China was a very big market and that India was lagging behind, but it wasn't. India is good because they know English better than the Chinese. That gives them advantages when compared with the Chinese."

He is considering studying for a master of philosophy to gain a more competitive edge in computer engineering, an area for which he has long held a passion, even building his own computer while still at secondary school.

"I'm still having a struggle on what to do next. I'm trying to apply for graduate school and also trying to look for a job," he says.

He may consider looking for work on the mainland or India. "Maybe the mainland could be good for me. The salary might not be that high compared with here, but in the IT industry, there are more opportunities."


Personally enriching experience

Simon Ho graduated this year with a BBA in accounting and finance.

In addition to equipping himself with a useful degree, the 22-year-old found living in halls a stimulating and personally enriching experience.

"In HKU, the hall life is really fulfilling because we have many activities. Also, there are lots of student associations in HKU, and I think that's the difference between HKU and other universities, and that's why I chose HKU."

He joined three teams - lacrosse, aquatics and basketball - and also became a member of the debating, bridge, choir and drama societies.

Since starting full-time work, he has had to give up his new hobbies but has remained active in the Student Association.

He is chairman of the Student Exchange Network, which last year brought 300 mainland students for internships in Hong Kong.

Adapting to work has been easy because of the experience he gained during three internships, including one in the banking sector, where he now works. He also found that giving presentations and preparing projects in class was excellent preparation for daily life in the office.

"That part of training is quite like real-life working, so I actually got some practice before entering society."

The variety of people from all kinds of backgrounds made him feel well-prepared for the diversity of the workplace. His priority now is to find the right niche for himself within the company.

"When I find a role that is good for the company and good for myself, I will stay there."

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