With fingernails and toenails painted matching pink, and a smile adoring her beautiful face, Jackie Bao returns from her winter holidays in the States fully refreshed and fully ready to move pass the bitter disappointments faced in China this past year.
Ambitious, hardworking and talented, the bilingual scholarship-student graduated from Arizona State University, where she majored in Finance, and came to study aboard in China’s leading university, Tsinghua, as part of the graduate Global Business Journalism Programme. China’s ever rising international prestige and stable economic climate leaves a world of opportunities and prospect to be discovered, which is why Jackie, who obtained 200 school credits despite the required amount being only 120, and wrote two thesis papers instead of just one, obtained a one-way ticket with scholarship to China.
Having been born into a family of economists, with a strong grasp of fiscal knowledge and plenty of work experience in various foreign banks such as Credit Suisse, Jackie arrived in China intent on further developing and expanding her scope. With her professional CV writing skills, work experience and long list of accomplishments and achievements, she makes an excellent candidate for banks – in America.
“In the States, everything is based on meritocracy, and your CV [curriculum vitae] is your most valuable asset,” said Jackie. However, in China, a CV is not as essential as it is in America. A vast majority of Chinese students first learn how to write CVs in the latent stages of their university life, and even then it’s only referred to very briefly in the highest level of the College English Reading and Translation course (Level 4). This is due to the fact that in China what is most valuable is having connections with someone who could recommend and vouch for you for a certain position.
Unfortunately, Jackie, after sending out her resume to countless companies and sitting through a myriad of interviews at HSBC, Standard Chartered, Credit Suisse and so on in Beijing, learnt this the hard way. “I’ve always been an individual, and I thought all I had to do was believe in myself. I never wanted to be a burden on my parents; I’ve always financed my own education with one scholarship after another, the trip to China was expensive and I wanted to find a good job where I can start making some money to pay my parents back. This wasn’t a problem in the States, but I’ve realised that you need connections to make it in China.”
Despite the unprecedented setbacks, and disappointments, Jackie is nothing but positive about her time in China. “The lessons I learnt with regard to China’s culture, America’s culture, my own strengths and weaknesses, the experiences I’ve gain and the people I’ve gotten to know along the way have all been invaluable to me. Despite everything not working out according to plan, I definitely don’t regret my time at Tsinghua.” However, from the past year, Jackie has come to learn that whilst China has a very promising market to expand into in the future, it’s too early for her just yet, and after obtaining her degree at Tsinghua, Jackie plans to pursue the solid career opportunity that she has already landed back in the States. And someday, with her superior knowledge of China, she may come back as a foreign expat, ready to take China on again by storm.