Students' Success Stories

Ronald Cheung

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How it started

Group buying websites are getting popular in Hong Kong since people like to spend their money more wisely under the current economic situation where good and services are getting more and more expensive. Thus it is not surprising to see the trend that the number of such websites is growing. As a result, consumers are now facing a problem – information overload. They need to surf multiple sites to know about the best offer. To busy people in Hong Kong that lead a hectic lifestyle, this is time-consuming and undesirable. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a single place that consolidated all the information and presented it to the users so that they could easily make a better-informed purchase decision? Knowing that there are already established group buying navigation websites in China and in the US, Ronald recognized an opportunity here in HK and started to do some research. He found that there were some sites of this kind in HK but they were not that well developed. Not only that, but despite the growing popularity of iPhones in HK, Ronald found that there was no such app in the apps market at that time. It didn’t take him long to make up his mind to develop one himself.

 

Path to success

Ronald knew that he had to be quick. The market is all about offering the right solution at the right time. He had to learn from other sites' experiences so as to develop one that provided superb user experience; he had to put himself in the buyer's shoes so as to visualize what they want and how they want it. The process is not without difficulties. The most complicated one is the automatic backend system that is required to actively retrieve the information from the various group buying sites. To make matters worse, Ronald knew that some other people were starting to work on it. Eventually, he spent about two weeks on the development and had it done.

The results

The app was then submitted to Apple. It took a few days to get approved. The app was finally launched on 18 Feb. On 24 Feb, it reached the number one position in the list of Top Free iPhone Apps. In just three days' time, it achieved over 30K downloads.

Other Information

Website: http://www.gbuy.me
Video: view  

 

Zoe Wong

How It Started

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Zoe's online business started because of a coincidence. One day, she went to a barber and asked him to have her hair cut. After her hair was cut short, she felt so regretful and tried her best to search for a product that could make her hair long again instantly. Within one month, she tried a variety of hair extension methods like hair glue extension, bead extension and using a wig. However, she couldn’t find a single method satisfying. It was because there are too many side effects associated with hair glue extension and bead extension. They can make a woman go bald by putting excessive tension on the hair roots and subsequently lead to thinning of hair, and eventually cause bald spots. For wigs, they are made of synthetic fiber hair so the texture is very hard; the hair tangles easily and is too shiny. It is embarrassing to have your friends find that you are wearing a wig too. To avoid these side effects and embarrassment, Zoe thought of tailor-making a product that would not harm the hair and look natural. Finally she invented a hair extension product that combines hair glue extension and clips.

 

Path to Success

Zoe has been running her hair product business for around four years. It went online in 2007. Her first selling place was Yahoo auction. Later she opened a blog on xanga.com (www.xanga.com/beauty_shop) which was a renowned platform for communication and social networking. She also used it as a selling platform for her business which was quite an innovative idea at that time. To increase the flow of her blog, she started writing promotional messages on some famous singers, models and artists in xanga.com. These methods did not cost her anything but brought her a larger number of potential customers. In these two years, xanga.com became less popular and people turned their attention to yahoo blog and Facebook. To be in line with her potential customers’ interests, she then launched her business in Facebook and yahoo blog. A few months ago, she decided to expand her business globally and established a website (http://www.kamiekusute.com/) with a foreign classmate who is talented in web design and rich in online sales experience. Now she has customers with a variety of profiles: 15-25 years old young ladies from xanga.com and Facebook; office ladies and the middle income group from yahoo blog and yahoo auction; and the high income group from kamiekusute.com.

Success factors

To improve and analyze her business, Zoe recorded all the important transaction information like customers name, purchase date, and purchased item. Besides, to secure her market position and expand her market share, she enriches her customer service through trial services, money guarantee program and online tutorials on hair style. These enable her to close deals faster and develop good customer relationships. They also help to increase customer loyalty and enhance the reputation of her business. With continuous improvement, she aspires to become the best online seller in HK in the future.

The results

At the moment, the business has already generated sufficient revenue to support Zoe’s education fees in CityU, daily expenses and some investment. Earlier this year, she was interviewed by the U-Beat Magazine of the Chinese University and she shared with them her joy and difficulties experienced in opening and managing her online shop. She shared that, although her business is not a big one, it has definitely given her tremendous inspirations and motivation to improve herself in her studies, time management and business management skills.

 

 

 

Alex Li

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Getting a job offer from Big4 companies is not difficult at all. I would like to share my experience with you, and I hope that it may help you to better prepare yourself for applying to Big4 companies.

After reviewing the whole process of my application to Big 4 companies, I think that "preparation" is the key to obtaining a successful job offer. Here, I classify my preparation work into several "critical areas", which I believe have improved my competency and have made me successful.

Getting Ready

As soon as I had finished my internship at the end of August 2009, I started to focus on finding a job. So I paid attention to all the activities that were related to career, like career talks, seminars, and workshops. There were several workshops specially organized for applying to Big4 companies at the beginning of Year3 Semester A, and they were very informative and useful. By participating in those activities, I started actively looking for a job and applying within the required deadlines. Preparing my CV

I had started preparing my CV since Year 2. I attended the workshops organized by CAIO, and updated and improved my CV under the guidance of career advisors. From my point of view, the process of preparing a CV is similar to reflecting on my past 2-3 years' experiences. Hence I would advise you to have an updated and well developed CV that can facilitate the preparation for interviews Recruitment Talks

In order to obtain more information about the Big 4 firms, I attended all the recruitment talks delivered by their senior staff. I think that recruitment talks are quite helpful, because they not only provide the information about the company and the positions available, but also give out tips for interviews and job applications. At the same time, joining the recruitment talks gave me opportunities to talk with the partners and associates of the firms. They also helped me to get exposed to the cultures of Big4 companies, which helped me in answering both the online application questions as well as the interview questions.

 

Online Application

According to the statistics, this is the most critical step of the application process. Hence when I had finished filling up the application form, I asked our career advisor to review my application. I believe that this is the most effective way to submit a professional and competitive application. Apart from that, while answering the open-ended questions in the application form, I tried to use examples that could reflect my understanding of the cultures of the company that I was applying to. For example, when I answered the questions for PwC, I would highlight my past experiences to reflect my understanding of "share and collaboration" and "putting ourselves in other's shoes" - cultures that are practiced in PwC

Mock Interviews

I attended lots of workshops that helped me to prepare for the interviews. They trained me with basic knowledge and skills for attending interviews successfully. At the same time, I participated in a mock interview workshop specifically designed for Big4 companies. This workshop helped me to apply my knowledge to attending interviews. I strongly recommend candidates to participate in at least one mock interview.

Last but not the least; I would like to wish all the very best to my schoolmates for successfully obtaining job offers! I hope that I have been able to help you by sharing my experiences with you. 

 

Daniel Yang

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First of all, I would like to say that working for Deloitte is just the beginning of my career. But I really want to share my experience with you, especially with the GBSM students, who are required to go through two exchange programs and hence may feel that they are at a disadvantage when applying for jobs. As a GBSM-Year 3 student, I went through quite a stressful experience in the United States during the last semester. I was stressed out because I couldn't attend interviews and aptitude tests that were held in Hong Kong and I had no idea whether the companies like the Big4s would still invite me for interviews when I come back.

Apparently, I worried too much. I have to admit that exchange programs may create inconvenience while finding a job, but these experiences definitely benefit us a lot. Most of the companies including the Big4s have special arrangements for students attending exchange programs and for overseas students and some of them even have online aptitude tests, like Deloitte. So there really no need to worry!

 

However, it doesn't mean that you have nothing to prepare while you are on an exchange program. It is really important to keep in mind the application deadlines and to spend time filling in the online applications; after all, this is the first step for getting into the Big4s. Prepare and update your CV regularly. When you return from the exchange program, you need to attend the aptitude test. What I learned is that practice is really important and helpful. There are lots of sample tests available online which you can use for practicing.

After that you need to attend the assessment. The Big4 companies would like to hire people who are prudent and have critical thinking skills, talking a lot and manipulating the whole group discussion may not be a good strategy. The value of the points that you have stated and whether you have paid attention to the details are more important.

The last step is the Partner Interview. At this stage you are almost there! My advice is to really take initiative in the conversation rather than let the partner ask too many questions. At this stage, my exchange experiences were good conversation topics and I felt that the partner was really interested in knowing more.

So, my final word is - Be confident! It is so untrue that being on an exchange program puts you in a disadvantageous position for applying to the Big4 companies.