Young Alums From China Reflect on HWS
Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013
For Congjing "Cynthia" Zhong '13, an alumna from Chengdu, China, attending Hobart and William Smith Colleges had its distinct advantages. Zhong, who works for DFS Galleria, one of the world's foremost luxury retailers, says that a world-class education, outstanding career resources, and a culturally inclusive environment are just some of the benefits available to those who choose HWS for their undergraduate studies.
Like Zhong, fellow HWS alumni from China, Bowen Wang '14 and Ruiting "Brezeck" Wang '14 (no relation), affirm that attending HWS was a distinctly valuable experience. Bowen and Brezeck both accepted full-time positions at J.P. Morgan Chase, one of the most prominent financial services leaders in the world, following their graduation in May 2014.
With an HWS education a top choice for some of the brightest and most talented students from China, Zhong says pursuing a liberal arts degree is a very attractive option for prospective students who are interested in gaining a well-rounded, competitive edge on both academic and professional levels.
"Many students in China have asked me about the advantages of being a student at a liberal arts college. Here at HWS, a liberal arts education represents so much more than smaller class sizes and intensive coursework," Zhong says. "Hobart and William Smith offers an interdisciplinary education, one in which students can choose among various academic disciplines for their majors and minors, in turn, creating a path that directly benefits them."
Zhong, who double majored in economics and environmental studies, says one of the distinguishing qualities of an HWS education is the ability to select a curriculum that matches a student's interests and career aspirations. As students prepare for their futures at HWS, they also can supplement their studies by using the career resources available at the Colleges' Salisbury Center for Career Services and Professional Development.
"With Career Services, students are supported and encouraged to access firsthand insights from the industries they're interested in," Zhong says. "Career Services also helps edit resumes, draft cover letters for companies, and provide information sessions on how to talk and dress appropriately for a job interview. It's the exact program I used to secure my fantastic internship and career."
Paving the way for her job with DFS Galleria, Zhong had previously interned for the luxury retailer as a product sales manager and team leader. She began her post-graduation tenure with DFS Galleria as a management trainee in Hong Kong, and now works as a product sales manager in Watches, Jewelry and Accessories. As a world-class company, DFS Galleria caters to international travelers interested in beauty, luxury, fashion and spirits.
In addition to providing the tools needed for success, the Salisbury Center offers annual Finance Experience trips for students to New York City, which gives them the opportunity to meet presidents and managers at top financial services companies. Other career-focused tour programs are offered to HWS students in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.
Originally from Qingdao, China, both Bowen and Brezeck took advantage of the specialized career tours, specifically the New York City Finance Experience on Wall Street. After bridging connections with alums on the trip, as well as taking the necessary steps with HWS faculty and staff to prepare for working in finance, Brezeck and Bowen were well-positioned to begin their respective careers with J.P. Morgan Chase.
Brezeck says it was a mixture of academic opportunities, career resources, and the chance to meet HWS alums, which helped to position him for learning more about the financial industry and gave him a competitive edge when competing for internships and jobs.
Brezeck also credits the welcoming environment at HWS for helping him to build the foundation needed to meet his goals and excel both in and out of the classroom.
"Socially, it was easy for an international student like me to fit in at HWS from the moment I came here because the campus is advantageously smaller," Brezeck says. "I got more attention from the faculty and fellow students, so I was able to rather quickly pick up the social and networking skills, which also were essential to getting this internship."
Similarly, Bowen also acknowledges the resources available to international students at HWS for helping him to follow a successful path as a liberal arts student.
"From an academic standpoint, a liberal arts education can help you to advance your writing and communication skills," Bowen says. "On campus, you often work in small groups and talk to your classmates, and there is regular interaction with professors who give you feedback."
In addition to the curriculum and career resources, international students also highlight the importance of the HWS Center for Global Education as a major interest for international students.
"As an international student, you too can study abroad during your time at HWS," says Zhong, who studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. "The experience in a foreign country will foster an in-depth understanding of another culture, with the aim of encouraging them to embrace the concept of global citizenship. Being a responsible, effective citizen of the world will help make you to be an outstanding leader in your future work, and we have had many students intern with companies while studying abroad."
Bowen, for example, took advantage of that opportunity when he studied in Brussels and worked as an intern while abroad. He calls it an outstanding opportunity, particularly for an international student who wants to extend their cultural experiences and build their professional network at a global level.
"It's important for students to have a diverse experience, one that includes plenty of critical thinking and engagement," Bowen says. "It also takes courage to begin that kind of experience, but at HWS the tools are in place to help you prepare."
About the alumni:
While at HWS, Conjing "Cynthia" Zhong '13 was a Teaching Fellow in the Economics Department and worked for two summers conducting research with Associate Professor of Economics Darrin Magee. She was a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international economics honor society, and served on the Student Advisory Board of Centennial Center for Leadership. In fall 2012, Zhong studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. Off campus, Zhong has worked for DFS Galleria where she served as an intern with the company as a product sales manager and a team leader. Following graduation, Zhong joined DFS as a management trainee in Hong Kong.
Bowen Wang '14, a mathematics and economics double major, was the recipient of the Irving Bentsen '54 Prize of Mathematics and Computer Science Department and a Hobart International Student Scholarship. He is a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. Bowen studied abroad in Brussels, Belgium, where he worked at KPMG Advisory. Prior to that, he interned at Oakum Bay Capital, LLC, conducting research and building models on various investments for the portfolio manager. He also has worked on the trading floor at Bank of China dealing with various markets. In summer 2013, Bowen interned as a summer analyst under the Investment Banking division of J.P. Morgan Chase. Following graduation, Bowen began a full-time position as a High Yield Market Risk Analyst at the J.P. Morgan Chase Headquarters in New York, N.Y.
Ruiting "Brezeck" Wang '14 was co-founder of the HWS Investment Club and played intramural basketball while at HWS. Through the Colleges, he participated in various finance-related activities, including Early Leaders Case Competition of Simon School of Business, and CME Group Commodities Trading Challenge. In summer 2013, Brezeck interned as a summer analyst under the Investment Banking division of J.P. Morgan Chase. After graduating in May 2014, Brezeck began a full time position as an analyst for J.P. Morgan Chase.