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Building China Into Your Career

November 6, 2017

Continuing its annual event series with the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, Project Pengyou co-hosted a panel discussion on the theme of career building in China. Alumni panelists shared their perspectives on career success. Kim Fassler '10, a Liaison Officer at the U.S. Department of Defense, said that one has to be flexible in order to be successful because the job market in China is constantly changing and new opportunities are emerging. Sophie Lu '11, Head of China Research, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, added that most people will end up having multiple careers throughout their lives.

Panelists emphasized the importance of Chinese language skills but acknowledged that language skill alone is no longer sufficient as the standards for hiring foreigners are higher than before. Jonathan Garrison '00, Vice President, Wanda Cultural Industries Group, said that Chinese companies often hire interpreters and that being able to speak Mandarin frees up company resources making you an asset. Additionally, language skill helps establish and maintain relationships with coworkers and superiors. For Oliver Theobald '13, Operations Specialist at Alibaba, diversifying one’s free time by engaging in extracurricular activities or hobbies can prove rewarding. He explained that his current job with Alibaba Cloud is different from his academic background in international relations, but because he enjoyed doing IT work in his spare time, he was able to showcase his competence and nailed the interview.

Speakers also encouraged the audience to volunteer to help out as much as they can in the office, for example, offering to review English outputs of Chinese coworkers. Demonstrating a strong work ethic will earn one respect and help build balanced relationships, panelists said.