US President part of student’s network
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A friend from Stanford said to me in February, “Kunal, I’ve been in America for 19 years - you come in for a week and you meet the President!”
I have been very fortunate to have received so much support and encouragement from this university to participate in eye-opening global conferences at world-renowned universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and others.
What I have achieved
One of the biggest advantages of participating in such conferences is the opportunity to engage others across a spectrum of subjects, be it Columbia’s finance and consulting programme or Harvard’s conference addressing global challenges. I got to hear a diversity of views and solutions from delegates from very different backgrounds.
These conferences not only afforded me the opportunity to learn about a range of topics, but to put into practice the knowledge and techniques gained through presentations and competitions. The conference at Stanford University required us to create an application for the iPhone and present it to venture capitalists from Silicon Valley. On the other hand, the Clinton Global Initiative event (a programme established by former US President Bill Clinton that addresses and acts on global challenges) threw case studies at us on issues such as HIV/AIDS and expected us to devise creative, yet practical, solutions in a diversified group under time constraints.
Networking is another big part of these conferences. I have been fortunate to befriend more than 150 students from all walks of life, studying at some of the world’s best universities. Being exposed to different cultures, norms and beliefs, I gained a better understanding of the many similarities we share, while learning to respect their differences. I was also fortunate to have networked with leaders, business executives, professors and even deans at universities. I gained an understanding of the importance of relationships - what I believe is the foundation stone for future success in life.
How my education has helped
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric and noted business author, once said, “If you inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader!”
City University of Hong Kong has led and inspired me and has provided me with a quality education helpful for me to pursue such initiatives.
The knowledge and skills acquired through the Active Learning Programme (Department of Marketing), for instance, has not just enhanced my awareness of global issues but allowed me to analyse and comment on them critically.
The myriad of workshops and self-development activities organised by the Student Development Services has equipped me with the right attitude and mindset to take on global challenges.
In leading the Organising Committee of the Student Leadership Conference 2008, I not only honed my leadership skills but acquired knowledge on cross-cultural differences and how they influence leadership. This helped me bridge the culture gap at the conferences, especially when working in teams comprising people of different nationalities.
What lies ahead
These experiences have transformed me into a global citizen with a more global mindset. They have also given me hands-on experience in working with a diverse group of people, many of whom I now regard as good friends I can turn to. We can never be sure of what lies ahead and the global network I have developed will prove invaluable. I have also learnt a tremendous amount on subjects ranging from entrepreneurship to philanthropy to economic development - who knows when it will come in handy?
Now is the time - at university - when we should strive to go beyond the realm of our curriculum and make the world our classroom. As my mentor once said to me, “Time and tide wait for no man in life - strike when the iron is hot!”