Profiles of Graduates from AIS Master's Programmes

Name: CHEN Yue, Kennie
Programme: Master of Social Sciences in Development Studies
Cohort: 2018
Current job: Civil Servant at the Division of Investment Promotion of the Guangzhou government

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

During my study in AIS, I felt intoxicating and rewarding in study, while CityU provide us students an open but also tense atmosphere to study., which it is very interesting to think back. If I had opportunity to talk to the current/ prospective Master’s students, I would love to tell them how great our university library is, the Run Run Shaw Library, which not just provide a quite atmosphere for student to study, but also abundant the online reading sources are.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

Do not afraid to ask your tutors questions, because the tutors in AIS are very caring and talented, who are willing to help.
Name: CHEN Taiye
Programme: Master of Social Sciences in Development Studies
Cohort: 2017
Current job: PhD at American University

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

Before landed at the international studies program, I have majored in another discipline for several years. The program is tailored to students from different backgrounds, and faculties are always passionate about giving informative lectures and make the classroom an inclusive environment for various discussions. Moreover, AIS has always been accommodating and helpful in connecting students with off-campus seminars and other educational and career cultivating resources. The year I have spent here is pivotal for me to have a well-rounded understanding of multiple disciplines and be more prepared for my future research career. It has been three years since I graduated from AIS. Though everything from that time seemed far away, the most precious and persistent takeaway from this program is that, I have become more inclusive and carry a more extensive horizon when approaching research questions. Oh... I also miss the drumstick and bbq pork from the CityU Express. It was always my must-go place before classes!

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

Hope students would find the lectures enjoyable and appreciate the diversity of the department of AIS!
Name: ZHAO Wen
Programme: Master of Social Sciences in Development Studies
Cohort: 2017
Current job: China Affair Officer of Chairman Office in Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

I was graduated from City University of Hong Kong with Master of Social Sciences in Development Studies in Department of Asian and International Studies (“AIS”) in 2018. Before studying at AIS, I was a civil servant who worked in a governmental department in Mainland China for four years. Given my curious about how the global economy will be developed when the World and the Asia have reached a certain state of development and to figure out a sustainable development model, I chose to study Development Studies in City University of Hong Kong.

During school, I was impressed by the diversified AIS courses which are not only to cover the basic theoretical courses such as development theory of the world and developed project management, but also to adopt different and interest modes of teaching, including role-playing, field teaching and debates which enable the students to apply their knowledges to the practical areas. The most impressive course for me is the “China and the Developing World” which was taught by Professor Linda. I remember that Professor Linda asked us to choose the pros and cons for each topic to conduct a debate-style presentation. In the meantime, in order to help us to further understand the impact of developed projects on different stakeholders, Professor Linda also took us to the Hong Kong Choi Yuen Village to visit the local villagers to listen their story for struggle against the construction of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed rail and the long-term impact on the villagers’ lifestyle. It is a good learning experience which makes me to fully understand that a large-scale project such as the high-speed rail is not only to pursuing the economic benefits, but the pursuit of culture and the livelihood of the people are the more important consideration.

In addition, the course of “Theory and approach of development” which was taught by Professor Toby makes us to understand a macro-framework for research and development theory. I also have a better understanding of how the international multilateral organizations, like World Bank, be developed step by step in the course of “Project planning and management for development” which was taught by Professor Joy.

All these lively and interesting course contents and teaching mode are useful to facilitate us to absorb the knowledges quickly and deeply, and make us to have dialectical thinking and obtain presentation skills which are of great benefit to our future work.

After graduation from CityU, I worked at a state-owned company in Shenzhen for a year and I am in charge of the board affairs in this company, including but not limited to liaise with the board of directors, organizing the board meeting and preparing meeting minutes, providing full spectrum of supports to the board. Most interesting, the company participates in the school and hospital project built in Papua New Guinea in Africa in pursuit of the notional policy of "One Belt and One Road". The Project enables me to contribute my knowledges about "Foreign Aid" which I learned from the Professor Linda’s course. In practice, I can further understand the real purpose and significance of the aid project, which is what the Professor Linda said that “China tries to balance its role as an emerging global power with its traditional position”. During the APEC meeting in November 2018, the school for Papua New Guinea was inaugurated by President Xi Jinping.

I am now working as China Affair Officer of Chairman Office in Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited. My main responsibilities are to support and assist our supervisors in close liaison with stakeholders in Chinese community, to conduct macro researches, to write analysis reports on public affairs, to participate in Company’s public affairs and community services. The Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited is a high-quality local real estate development company in Hong Kong, it is most impressive to me that while Sun Hung Kai Properties is committed to building high-quality properties, it considers the great importance to the principles of sustainable development and is committed to creating long-term value for the customers, the society and the environment. As an officer of the chairman office, I assisted the management of the company to write proposals on increasing efforts to develop green buildings in Mainland, and put forward the suggestions to learn from Hong Kong’s experience in green buildings to promote the development of the entire green building industry chain. In the meantime, I also assisted to promote the group's achievements in the balance of wetland conservation and residential projects. I hope the sustainable goals, concepts and methods what I learned from CityU will make me to further the company developing and creating valuable contributions for the social stakeholders.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

All the professors in AIS are expert who you can learn a lot from them and ready for lifelong learning and prepare to learn after you graduate. Learn and do something you are really interested in and then enjoy the rewards for all your efforts.
Name: GAUDIN Jimmy
Programme: Master of Social Sciences in Development Studies
Cohort: 2016
Current job: Technical Analyst at International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

"If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together."
Name: ZHI Pei, Chester
Programme: Master of Social Sciences in Development Studies
Cohort: 2016
Current job: PhD student, Department of Media and Communication, City University of Hong Kong

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

First to say, I am really glad to getting the chance in studying in AIS for one year in my Master degree. Majoring in Development studies allowed me the space to think critically about social structures and the development of the major political and social issues and how they are created, reinforced, challenged. As for the learning experience, I will certainly remember Dr. Carroll, Dr. Tjia, and many other wonderful professors in AIS. Dr. Carrol had a remarkable talent for explaining theories with vivid examples. And his course really expanded my understanding of the cutting-edge social issues. Also, I am really thanked that Dr. Tjia who shared me with many precious experiences and advices in pursuing PhD studies.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

Always be curious to the world.
Name: ZHOU Yang Johnny
Programme: Master of Arts in International Studies
Cohort: 2015
Current job: Civil Servant of Liaoning Province, China

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

The tuition we paid did not only buy us a diploma, but the access to academic database, the rights of using campus facilities and the qualification to participate in university activities. When racking your brain on your thesis, trust me, the library has more accurate and reliable information than Wikipedia. As well as other departments, AIS organizes many activities every year: inviting prominent scholars to deliver a speech, calling students to experience Japanese tea culture, and holding international academic conference. Taking part in these events can enrich your campus life.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

Hong Kong is an international city where celebrities and thoughts come together. As a CityU student, you have chances to talk to Nobel Prize winner, foreign heads of states, masters of arts and other great names who have worldwide influence. AIS has a good relationship with Asia Society of Hong Kong, an organization which often invites celebrities to give speeches. Through AIS, students can secure free tickets of many events and have a face-to-face conversation with those giants.
Career Promotion
After graduation, whether you want to continue your studies or start working, the reputation of CityU is strong. CityU ranks among the best in Hong Kong employer feedback. For mandarin students, quite a lot of my classmates find a job in mainland China with a good salary (>10,000 rmb per month). Many of their competitors were graduates from Tsinghua and Peking University and other top universities in China. In addition, overseas study experience will benefit your future career.
Other tips:
  • For mandarin students, it is much easier to apply for a foreign visa in Hong Kong than in mainland China. Go to see the world during semester break and holidays.
  • If you want to find a job, the first 3-6 months after graduation are very important because many companies want fresh graduates who have no working experience. The management trainee program of big companies usually have a good pay.
  • AIS always tell us to think critically. Critical thinking does not only apply to theses, but to our daily life. We live in a time full of rumours and hearsay. Maintaining your judgement in all kinds of media reports and trying to do your own research. Do not follow the path, make your own trail.
“Taking life seriously” is the motto of AIS instructor Dr Sean Starrs. I want to share it with you. Taking your life seriously, but not yourself: Do not skimp on your talents and efforts, try as hard as you can.

Good luck and best wishes for everyone!
Name: GUO Hui
Programme: Master of Arts in Modern Asian Studies
Cohort: 2014
Current job: PhD student, Department of Government and International Relations, The University of Sydney
New Oriental Education and Technology Group (Tianjin School), The Department of Overseas Test Centre, TOEFL teacher

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

Before I came to Hong Kong, I had no experience in International Relations. Guided by my professors, I learned new knowledge, developed an interest in foreign aid and designed my own research projects in the comparative study of foreign aid. The courses, especially the methodology course, provided provided a key foundation in my intellectual development. Professor Mark Thompson, and Drs. Federico Ferrara, Nick Thomas and Brad Williams served as mentors as I made the decision to pursue postdoctoral studies and I am now building on the knowledge I gained at CityU as a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. There is an old saying in China that “he who teaches me for one day is my teacher for life”. I am very grateful for what I learned in studying Modern Asian Studies at CityU.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

AIS is an excellent choice to commit yourselves to study with high quality education and abundant resources. A Master's degree at AIS offers you a platform to then make an informed choice about your career.
Name: LIU Mingtang
Programme: Master of Arts in International Studies
Cohort: 2014
Current job: Research Associate at City University of Hong Kong

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

AIS is a place where different ideas and disciplines collide. The courses I selected range from social sciences to humanities, mainstreams to critical theories. Under the open academic environment, we were exposed to multiple realities of the world and different ways of thinking. And more importantly, I’ve met many interesting professors and students here, from whom I’ve learned and benefited a lot. And by the way, AIS is a highly international department, especially in terms of its teaching staffs, which I think will undoubtedly broaden your horizon.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

If you keep a curious and open mind, and work really hard, then your experience in AIS may change your life.
Name: EI Thant Khing
Programme: Master of Social Sciences in Development Studies
Cohort: 2013
Current job: Programme Manager, Department for International Development, British Embassy, Myanmar

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

Studying at AIS in CityU has been one of the most transformational experiences of my personal and professional life. I learned a lot from my peers from different countries and count many of them as close friends.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

I had opportunity to take different courses such as International Development Theory and Practice, Development Policy and Advocacy, Gender and Development which empowered me to continue working in humanitarian and development programmes in Myanmar. What I learned at CityU helped me to contribute to the development of my country in terms of practical application to address specific development problems in a range of settings. Take every opportunity to learn, share and challenge yourself to make the best use of your time in CityU.
Name: DE SILVA Suren Mark
Programme: Master of Social Science in Development Studies
Cohort: 2012
Current job: Assistant Manager, Policy Research and ESG Advisory, Business Environment Council

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

What stands out were the insightful debates and discussions that we had in class. The lecture and discussion would finish yet my mind would still be racing, analysing and going over everything that was said and discussed on into the next day.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

Be willing to participate! What made the programme for me was the cohort of students who came from across China, South East Asia, and Europe. Each one brought with them a unique perspective and experience from their own respective fields – it was fascinating to hear about their experiences and the realities of the many theories that we discussed in practice.
Name: ACHTHOVEN Mirjam
Programme: Master of Arts in Asian and International Studies
Cohort: 2011
Current job: Senior Executive at Edelman Public Relations, Hong Kong

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

Working with professors and students from all over the world was a great learning experience. Coming from Europe, the programme opened my eyes to Asia's role in International Relations.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

The topics discussed in the AIS programme are more relevant than ever in this day and age. Make sure you stay up-to-date about the latest developments in International Relations in Asia by following the news closely, joining discussions with your professors, and getting experience in the field through volunteering or working at organizations outside of the university. For example, I volunteered at the Dutch Consulate General to get a sense of what working in International Relations is like in practice.
Name: CHAN Wai San, Edith
Programme: Master of Arts in Asian and International Studies
Cohort: 2011
Current job: I have worked in policy and advocacy at Oxfam (my current job) and the British Consulate-General (my former job) on issues related to climate, energy security and development finance.

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

I took the MA Asian and International Studies as I wanted to develop more understanding of the Asian context that was relevant to my work but was lacking from my environmental background. I was amazed at the depth of insight and analysis on contemporary politics from the faculty - many of them are experts on Asia it was rewarding to work through country analyses to not only test theories and concepts but understand situations in real life. The programme constantly exposed students to debates on current and practical issues, be it socio-economical, environmental or governance, topics that are highly related to my work.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

The discussions and case studies mean students are bound to learn as much as they are prepared to! AIS teaching staff are welcoming; do engage with them wisely and enjoy your study at AIS.
Name: TAN Hian Hui Cheryl
Programme: Master of Arts in Asian and International Studies
Cohort: 2011
Current job: Deputy Director (ASEAN), Singapore Institute of International Affairs

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

I had a wonderful time pursuing my Masters at City University of Hong Kong. The professors were very approachable and encouraged me to stay curious and ask questions about the world's politics. This helped to deepen my interest in international affairs and to pursue a career in the field.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

Rapid changes are taking place in global politics and security. It is an exciting time for those in the field of international affairs, and the things that once existed only in textbooks are coming alive. Stay curious, ask a lot of questions, and there will never be a dull moment.
Name: TANG-Lee Diane
Programme: Master of Social Science in Development Studies
Cohort: 2011
Current job: Senior Program Officer, International Council on Mining and Metals; prior position: PhD student at Humanitarian Conflict Response Institute, University of Manchester

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

The program attracts international students and people with experience in many different fields including development, which make class discussions and interactions lively and interesting. It gave me fresh perspectives on many development issues that were important for shaping my subsequent doctoral research and career.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

It's a cliché, but do keep an open mind, be curious and ready to absorb any new knowledge – you never know when it will become useful. There was a course at MSSDS that I thought was not very relevant to the development topics I was interested in, but the concepts and theories from that course turned out to be fundamental for my PhD thesis.
Name: CHOW Wing Yin
Programme: Master of Arts in Asian and International Studies
Cohort: 2010
Current job: Admissions & Outreach Coordinator, Office of International Relations, University of Arkansas Fort Smith, United States

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

Faculty and staff were very friendly and helpful.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

Department of Asian and International Studies offers some of the best political sciences programmes in Asia. Both my bachelor and master degrees from AIS are highly recognized by the employers. After working in different academic institutions in Hong Kong and the United States, I reckon AIS is the best in terms of the quality of faculty and programmes. By joining AIS, you will gain a great study experience and earn the privilege of learning from the world's top professors. I am and will always be proud of being a graduate from AIS.
Name: SIU Mei Kuen Kanie
Programme: Master of Social Sciences in Development Studies
Cohort: 2008
Current job: Chief Executive Officer, Plan International Hong Kong

Memory of AIS/ quote on learning experience:

The course contents, the professionalism of the teachers as well as the diversity of the cohorts are the major aspects of the programme that I appreciated. As AIS students, we are equipped with better theoretical and practical knowledge related to the development world. The programme that I studied is of limited provision in the institutions in Hong Kong.

Advice for current/ prospective Master's students:

The professors are all experts in their fields. Students can get the most out of the lectures by asking in-depth questions. The professors will be able to explain the issues thoroughly and illustrate them with abundant examples in tandem with rich personal experience. In addition, students can also request if the professors could arrange field trips with them. They can learn a lot from the trip experience.