Q and A: Wina Huang, 2014 Presidential Global Fellow
Wina Huang is one of the 20 Presidential Global Fellows and studied Business Chinese at Shanghai Jiaotong University and interned at Bank of China in summer of 2014.
What prompted you to seek the Presidential Global Fellowship program?
As a student very interested in global opportunities, I would read each email sent by the Office of Global Programs. When I discovered the Presidential Global Fellowship through one email, I decided to learn more about it by attending the information sessions and speaking with members in the OGP.
What was the major attraction for you?
The Fellowship definitely attracted me as a long term project. Not only was there pre-program training, but also post-program reflection. To have support from members of the OGP and be able to learn from the other Presidential Global Fellows really made this Fellowship an opportunity I wished to pursue.
How did your experience meet or exceed your expectations?
My experience certainly exceeded my expectations. From the beginning, the programming was well coordinated and helped us not only prepare for our summer programs, but also better appreciate the cultural similarities and differences we would face while studying abroad. Meeting with the other Fellows and hearing about what motivated them, what their goals are, was truly inspiring and helped me reflect more on what I wished to seek in Shanghai and afterwards in my education.
My summer program was also amazing. During the first portion of Business Chinese studies, the academics were rigorous but very rewarding. In terms of reading, writing, listening, and speaking, I found myself quickly developing a stronger grasp of the Chinese language. The internship challenged me both to apply much of the knowledge I had gained in the classroom and to function within a new professional environment. Through the summer program, I improved my language skills, learned about how business is done in China, and developed a greater sense of independence.
What were the one or two highlights for you from the program?
With regards to the Presidential Global Fellowship, one highlight was going to President Bollinger’s house to meet with him and other members who had been involved with the creation of this program. Seeing their excitement and listening to their experiences and views on globalization was truly inspiring and helped me reflect on what I wished to do during and following my summer program to not only globalize my own education, but also impact the Columbia and greater community.
A highlight of my summer program was being entrusted with an important tasking at the Bank of China where I was asked to communicate with the Hong Kong branch. It was then that I was able to test my Chinese communication abilities and felt that I was contributing something important to my group.
What were the highlights of the weekend trip to Beijing?
The weekend trip to Beijing was both exciting and rewarding. I especially enjoyed having the opportunity to meet with business professionals in China from companies such as Morgan Stanley and Citic Securities. Speaking with them not only helped me practice interacting with professionals (in Chinese), but also taught me about how investment banking, for example, is like in China. Each individual was passionate about what he or she did and also shared great insight into how I should approach my future career.
What tips do you suggest to students embarking on this program in the future?
To students embarking on this program in the future, I would suggest that they be open minded and willing to take on new challenges. From business etiquette to how people speak to each other, there are many differences and being open minded and respectful about cultural differences will not only help students learn more, but also better appreciate the environment they live in. Being willing to face and even seek new challenges will also make the experience abroad more rewarding.
What is your career goal?
As a student interested in finance, I hope to continue learning more about the field and am currently considering pursuing investment banking. That being said, I wish to keep an open mind and to learn more about different professional opportunities, be they in investment banking or other divisions. I also plan to consider work in different countries.
How did this experience have an impact on that goal, if at all?
Having participated in this program, I am definitely considering working in Asia in the long term future. I believe there are many opportunities in cities such as Shanghai and Hong Kong, especially in finance, and I think after gaining experience in New York, going to such cities later on will help me learn more about the industry I work in from an international perspective and grow as an individual.
What do you think it means to be a truly global scholar in the context of globalization?
This is a challenging question as I do not think there is necessarily a set of criteria for what it means to be a global scholar. I believe that a global scholar should be in tune with what is happening in the world and be able to place what he or she has learned and is learning in a global context. In addition, I think that it is crucial for a global scholar to approach new knowledge and experiences with an open mind. During one of our Presidential Global Fellowship workshops, an important note was made. That is, we should not stereotype and learn with an open mind, but also know when to draw conclusions.
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Major: Financial Economics
Degree and completion date: B.A., 2017
"Having participated in this program, I am definitely considering working in Asia in the long term future. I believe there are many opportunities in cities such as Shanghai and Hong Kong, especially in finance, and I think after gaining experience in New York, going to such cities later on will help me learn more about the industry I work in from an international perspective and grow as an individual."