Students' Success Stories
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.