Alumni's stories greet newcomers

Regina Lau

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To move ahead in a career, one must learn and apply interpersonal and communication skills, in addition to proper job training. This is one of the gems of advice two CityU alumni gave to some 2,050 new students attending the University Welcoming Ceremony with a "building self-confidence" theme, held in the Chan Tai Ho Multi-purpose Hall, 25 and 26 August.

Ms Fion Yip, a 1988 graduate in translation and interpretation, is now the Director (Greater China) of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Ms Yip specified excellent interpersonal and communication skills as the most important attributes leading to senior positions on the corporate ladder. Regarding these skills, she urged the students to cultivate a broad mind, keeping the big picture in perspective, to read as widely as possible on a variety of subjects, as well as to be tolerant of others. "Accommodating differences is especially important to the prospect of further integration with the mainland," she advised.

After 11 years of service, Ms Yip is the only woman, the only Chinese person and the youngest executive to be promoted to directorship in the UK-based ACCA-a worldwide professional society for certified accountants.

To Mr Simon Hui, a 1991 graduate in business studies, success in life and career depends on one's drive and personality, as well as proper training. He stressed that what counts is not to which university one is admitted, but whether or not one has done his best. "The perennial complainer and the goal-hopper get nowhere, whichever university he graduates from."

Mr Hui runs a thriving business of his own. He is the founder and the Director (Business Development) of EPSA Corporation Ltd, one of largest express and courier service companies in Hong Kong. According to Hui, he took a risk 15 years ago by choosing to study at CityU, then an institution with only four years history. "Now I think I made the right choice," he said, with an assured look.

Citing results from a recent Shanghai Jiao Tong University survey in which CityU placed high in the Greater China area, President H K Chang informed the students that the ranking means that CityU is in the same league as a number of well-established UGC institutions in Hong Kong. Echoing the alumni's advice, "Will this starting point make a huge difference to your future? Not much. But what you do in the next 15 years makes a difference," he explained. He also stressed the importance of intellectual curiosity, of understanding and taking pride in one's cultural and historical roots: "This is the foundation upon which one's mission, upon which achievement and happiness are to be built."

For the new undergraduates now embarking on their university journey, Vice President (Undergraduate Education) and Dean of Students, Professor Edmond Ko, had this piece of advice: "With the greater scope of freedom at university comes the problem of decision making. But don't be afraid of making mistakes. Take responsibility for your decisions." To make good decisions, Prof Ko suggested they work on three tasks: creating clear personal and professional goals; understanding oneself; obtaining quality information and advice from appropriate sources.

The Welcoming Ceremony included many more tips, such as to develop independent thinking, set achievable goals and to maintain a forward-looking attitude. The newcomers learned a great deal about adapting to university life from experiences shared by Students' Union representatives, Mr Kenny Tsang and Mr Danny Ho, whose encouraging words drew the event to an uplifting finale.

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