Chamber staff got a break from organizing a large-scale ceremony recently as a group of secondary school students stepped in to help run things. At the Closing Party for the Chamber’s Business-School Partnership (BSP) Programme on 5 July, a team of students prepared presentation slides, provided on-site support, and worked on the registration desk to welcome guests.
Around 60 students from over 20 secondary schools attended this year’s Closing Party. Several members of the Chamber’s Young Executives Club (YEC) also participated in a Career Sharing session, to give the students the opportunity to ask questions and learn about their jobs.
The Bulletin spoke to some of the teachers, companies, young executives and students involved in the BSP Programme to hear their thoughts.
Putting theory into practice
Mui Lai Yuk, Head of Business, Accounting and Financial Studies Panel at True Light Girls’ College, explained that her school already holds career-planning sessions, but that the BSP Programme puts the theory into practice. Through corporate visits, the students get to see companies in action, and hear insights directly from executives.
“Real HR directors in the field advised our students on ‘dos and don’ts’ during an interview, and taught them how to write impressive CVs.”
She added that a key benefit of the BSP programme is that it runs throughout the academic year and offers a range of options.
“The length of time is particularly important in enabling students to participate in a series of activities with a sense of progression,” Mui said. “Participants can take a step-by-step approach in learning about the authentic world of business, while the range of activities can cater to the different needs and levels of students.”
Lo Hoi Ching, Career Planning Teaching Assistant at Munsang College, said that the BSP Programme allows students to develop in-depth understanding of different sectors.
“We partnered with Aoba CPA Limited this year. By having the opportunity to shadow their work, our students saw first-hand how accounting is not only about maths, but also involves meeting with clients and making trips to different parts of the world,” she said.
Betty Ling Lai Han, Business Teacher at Raimondi College, said the BSP Programme opens eyes and doors to different industries.
“One thing BSPP offers to our students is exposure,” she explained. “The students get to learn first-hand from companies both international and local, and from consulting businesses to accounting firms. Knowledge gained through the programme is beyond what they can learn from textbooks.”
And as Jessie Chen Siu Kwan, Coordinator of CCA Development Team, External Affairs Committee Liaison Officer, Pui Tak Canossian College, pointed out, the benefits can continue even after the scheme has finished.
“The BSP Programme also provided us with valuable connections with businesses that carried on even after the year’s program,” she said. “For example, we maintained a constructive relationship with our partner from last year – Pacific Century Premium Developments – and they invited some of our students to participate in further cooperative opportunities.”
Before the presentations got under way at the Closing Party, the students formed groups to hear from some of the Chamber’s YEC members about their career paths.
Jason Yau was born and raised in the U.K., and worked in London before moving to Hong Kong and setting up his own firm, JS Wealth, in 2017. His client base of high-net-worth individuals is focused on lawyers and doctors, Yau explained, because those were the people already in his network.
“Your network is just as important as your qualifications,” he said. “When I came to Hong Kong I had zero network, but I built it up again, because it’s all about the people I knew.”
The wealth management industry is fairly saturated in Hong Kong, Yau explained, so people skills are crucial to build a client base.
Running your own company has challenges, but also advantages. “If I want to do something, I don’t have to ask the boss,” Yau said. “I can play tennis on a Tuesday morning and get to work at 11a.m.”
Architect and Director at ANJ Sackthi Muthu agreed that setting your own schedule was one of the benefits of being the boss. On the other hand, he added, sometimes he has to work long hours.
But if you are passionate about your work – especially if there is a creative element – you don’t mind spending time on it, he said. “It’s fun, because you are doing design.”
Muthu first became interested in architecture when he was a child, because he was good at drawing. But he pointed out that drawing skills are not the most important thing for architects. More important is having imagination and good observation skills.
Muthu previously worked on the Sai Ying Pun and Kennedy Town MTR stations, and he shared with the students the sense of achievement that comes from playing a part in major projects.
A wide range of companies participate in the BSP Programme, and a variety of schools as well. So Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holding Ltd, which operates the 3 mobile network, has tailored its activities to the different schools it has partnered with in the past three years.
Kenny Koo, Executive Director and CEO, explained that these activities include visits to workplaces with only authorised access, and talks on jobs ranging from conventional telecoms-related posts to newly created roles for the digital era.
Koo added that BSP can be mutually beneficial: “By engaging with youngsters on a regular basis, we keep abreast of their new thoughts and needs, which in turn help us shape the latest service offerings and marketing strategies to cater for young people and facilitate communications in our increasingly inter-generational workforce.”
Kenneth Si, Learning Officer at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, also noted that the schools had different cultures, adding that the students were mostly energetic, creative and positive. He said that they gain a valuable insight into the working world, which can help them in their future careers.
“They get to know more about the reality of work, besides what they have learnt at school,” Si said. “The programme shows them more options at hand that they can choose from.”
The scheme also helps to promote the hospitality industry, Si added, and introduce young people to the opportunities available.
Nick Chan, Partner at Squire Patton Boggs, said that taking part was part of the global law firm’s contribution to local communities in the regions where they operate.
“Being part of the BSP Programme gives us more opportunity to help impart legal knowledge to the wider community,” he said, “and help groom the next generation of global citizens with legal knowledge – and perhaps a few lawyers in the making!”
Making a Business Case
The Chamber’s new Business Cases Competition will team university students and graduates with corporates to solve key industry problems
Last month, HKGCC launched a new programme to link university students and recent graduates with the business community in Hong Kong. In collaboration with Agorize and four corporate sponsors, the Business Case Competition gives young people the opportunity to come up with solutions for real problems facing the business world.
The sponsors – CLP Power Hong Kong Limited, Great Eagle Group, LVMH Fashion Group Asia Pacific and Sino Group – have each created a specific project for the competitors to work on.
Agorize has been running the competition for the past three years, and has joined hands with the Chamber this year to expand its reach. The final pitching session and awards-presentation will be held in November. In the meantime, groups can apply to compete in any of the four projects.
CLP explained that the key benefit for students in participating in the competition is that they can use what they have learned during their studies to solve genuine and challenging problems. For its project, it has set the task of coming up with ideas to decarbonise the city’s transport system.
The company hopes the competition will help grow their ideas into solutions and business applications that could ultimately change our city and help society. Students can also learn how to collaborate with other teammates with different expertise and backgrounds, and working complementarily with each other to develop a real business proposal.
Sino’s project is also looking at ways to protect the environment: specifically, how to improve sustainability in the hotel sector.
Through this competition, Sino Group hopes to gather ideas from young minds on how technology can contribute to sustainable hospitality and fulfill evolving guests’ behaviours and needs.
LVMH Fashion Group’s theme of interest this year is “How to make Fashion greener.” Damien Vernet, President of LVMH Fashion Group Asia, explained that LVMH has made sustainable development a strategic priority since its very founding, as exemplified by the LIFE (LVMH Initiatives For the Environment), amongst other initiatives. “Protecting the environment is an imperative and the long-term success of our business depends directly on preserving and respecting natural resources. All our teams are actively engaged on this subject and we wanted to engage further with the younger generations on this,” he said.
LVMH Fashion Group participated in the business case competition last year and Vernet was impressed by how “passionate, committed, creative, eager to develop and learn” the students were.
“We aim to create a journey connecting the young talent and business world. The students worked on practical business cases and were coached by our senior manager as part of the learning experience. The winning team went to Paris, with an opportunity to meet our Maisons’ Headquarters teams, allowing them to deepen their understanding and exposure to our businesses,” Vernet added. “We welcome this opportunity to engage, inspire and develop young entrepreneurs – together to build the Luxury Fashion of tomorrow.”
The rapid development of technology is changing cities and the way people live in them. Mixed-used developments have emerged as a major trend in recent years, so this is the theme that property developer Great Eagle Group has set for its project.
“The Group is keen to get inspiration in creating smarter ways of living, especially from the eyes of young people who are our future,” according to Samantha Chan, Senior Corporate Communications Manager, Great Eagle Group. “To cope with the rapidly changing world where social changes and technology advancements take place every moment, innovation allows businesses to respond to changes and determines business competitiveness,” she said.
“The competition also encourages communication between our staff and the younger generation, where we can understand the youth’s thoughts, gain inspirations and inject creative thinking into our businesses.”
Sponsors agree that the competition provides a precious channel to access new trends and develop a culture of innovation. The competition also serves as a meaningful platform for CLP to get fresh new ideas which are unencumbered by entrenched business models.
Sino Group also said that the competition would allow them to tap into the brains of the young generation for ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas – while also giving the students a great opportunity for development.
“The competition is an excellent chance for students to broaden their horizons and actualize their disruptive ideas in real business cases, and to exchange ideas with mentors and get real world experience,” said Chamber CEO Shirley Yuen.
At the Closing Party, certificates were awarded for the 10 award-winning reports written by the students. Below is an edited version of the report written by Claire Ng Man Sze, Rain Lau Wing Yan and Tracy Ma Tsz Ching, students at St Mary’s Canossian
We were honoured to participate in the Governance Professionals Preview Day organized by The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries (HKICS) on 23 February. The activity gave us the chance to understand and get to know more about the Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries.
When we first heard about the job of Chartered Secretary, scenes like neatly-dressed ladies serving and refilling coffee cups, and making document copies, came to mind. Surprisingly, these are not true.
After hearing about the role and duties of a Chartered Secretary, we began to understand what they actually do. All listed companies in Hong Kong are required to hire at least one Chartered Secretary. Their duties range from administrative matters to giving professional advice, and ensuring that the companies act in accordance with government’s regulations and practices.
Then, a presentation was given on job details and qualifications for attaining the membership. Candidates are required to have relevant work experience, and sit several examinations. After obtaining the Hong Kong membership, the Chartered Secretary is approved by other Chartered Secretary Institutes around the world.
Next, we were fortunate to hear from four members of the institution who are of different seniority levels. They shared with us their professional experiences and job perspectives. We learned about their daily duties, ranging from Junior Chartered Secretary to the Company's Representative Secretary. Afterwards, we had lunch and tea which enabled us to have an informal chat with the professionals.
To conclude, the meeting was an unforgettable and worthwhile event. We have developed a better comprehension about the job of Chartered Secretary. More importantly, the activity provided us a precious opportunity to have face-to-face meetings with the professionals. All of us cherished the opportunity of meeting them, and gaining insight into their careers.
Joyce Lee, Diocesan Girls’ School
I was most impressed by visiting InvestHK and attending the StartmeupHK Festival on the same day. We got the chance to learn from Stephen Philips, Director of InvestHK, about Hong Kong’s unique advantages and how it attracts foreign investment. StartmeupHK featured speakers of different ages and from different backgrounds. Not only did I get to understand their entrepreneurial journey, but I was also inspired that we shouldn’t be too influenced by the traditional career-planning mindset. The innovation and technology industry is the future!
Ethan Lui, Raimondi College
The HeforShe Forum (which campaigns for gender equality in the workplace) really opened my eyes. It was my first time to be in such an interactive and constructive setting, where experts and audience could give each other instant responses to what they had just shared and discussed together. This forum provided me with a real ability to understand the different angles of the campaign, and also to be more considerate of the needs of others.
Elsa Choi, Pui Tak Canossian College
I had a great time talking with a Japanese employee at Mizuho Bank. We also got to explore the behind the scenes at the office, including the room where staff monitor stock transactions. I am amazed by the staff who have to keep their eyes peeled looking after dozens of computers!
Officiating guests at the BSP Closing Party
HKGCC CEO Shirley Yuen; Tam Kim Hung, Representative of the Association of English Medium Secondary Schools and Principal of True Light Girls’ College; Ho Pui Sing, Representative of the Association of Chinese Middle Schools and Principal of Tsang Pik Shan Secondary School; and Sin Nga Lam, Vice Chairperson of the Hong Kong Association of Careers Masters and Guidance Masters; and Assistant Principal of Munsang College (HK Island).
ABOUT THE BSP PROGRAMME
HKGCC has been running the Business-School Partnership Programme since 2001. This year a record 51 companies and 54 local secondary schools joined the programme. Throughout the academic year, students took part in more than 60 activities, including company visits, CEO talks, interviewing skills workshops and job shadowing.
BSP also operates a Student Ambassadors Programme, now in its fourth year. This year, 34 students from seven schools served as ambassadors for the Chamber at events like the Business Community Luncheons with the Chief Executive and the Financial Secretary.