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Career Day

By: Xiao Liang

Getting up at six in the morning is definitely not something fun or cool. But it was still amazing to see how our center beauties and handsomes dress up nicely in suits when daytime was still yet to come. After sleeping for two hours on the bus, everyone woke up and energetically started talking about this upcoming and mysterious career day. At 11:20am, a group of about 100 center students arrived at the Pullman Skyway Hotel. By then, everyone looked excited and ready for the intense exposure to all their potential career successes. All the anger and tiredness from getting up so early suddenly disappeared.

The lunch banquet was awesome. Panelists from different business areas (e.g., finance, consulting, legal service, government, and NGOs) were assigned to each table, and students could choose to sit and speak with whomever they wished. Looking around, it was clear that students enjoyed the conversations with the panelists much more than than the delicious dishes. Lunch passed quickly, and then students went to different discussion panels that they signed up for. Each session lasted for nearly and hour and a half. There were three to four panels in each session. Panelists introduced their personal professional backgrounds and how their companies function. This was followed by Q&A sessions. Students asked questions about career paths without hesitation, and the panelists all gave very intelligent and experienced answers. Both Chinese and International students alike said that they gained a lot from this event. It was a rare and valuable opportunity for Chinese students to be in such environment, meeting people in such a concentrated and special circumstances. For International students, while it might have been an occasion that they encountered before, this time, however they could learn more about employment with Chinese companies.

“I enjoyed all of the sessions I went to, but I think I got the most out of the alumni panel during the third session. The HNC and SAIS alums on the panel came from totally different sectors–legal, entrepreneurial, finance, and public sector, but they all knew where we were coming from as students,” said Cristina Garafola. She also mentioned that, “I think their advice about harnessing our strengths and skills in our job search was very helpful. Also, I really like the tiny bagel sandwiches!”

“Career day is a rare opportunity for HNC’s students to connect with Alumni. With the communication with presenters, we can understand an industry deeply, such as finance or consulting. Many alumni gave us a lot of useful advice on how to prepare for interviews, and a lot of information about career path development. The information is crucial for us to set out into our careers,” said Shen Jian, who has strong career goals himself as well.

Bonni Brodsky said, “Career Day really opened my eyes to the diverse fields in which HNC alums are working. From consulting to media, it really showed me that the opportunities are endless”.

Anyway, almost all the students we talked to said they benefited from this event and it helped to broaden their horizons in finding jobs. After all the sessions, both students and panelists were invited to a cocktail party (that’s where Cristina had the delicious bagel sandwiches). The cocktail reception was very relaxing; students and panelists were talking, eating, drinking, and laughing. We had to say goodbye to this wonderful day at 8:30pm, but everyone was still very energetic and excited about everything they encountered on career day.