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Ivey Alumni Association bridging the gap for alumni in China

  • Aug 27, 2014
Ivey Alumni Association bridging the gap for alumni in China

The Greater China region is getting a little smaller for Ivey alumni thanks to the impact made by the various Ivey Alumni Association (IAA) chapters working together here.

Here are some of the highlights of the impact made to date by the IAA chapters in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Bridging the distance

The Shanghai Chapter initiated the first joint event with a China-wide Ivey case competition in collaboration with the Beijing Alumni Chapter five years ago.

“It was a way to strengthen the Ivey connection and give back to China,” said Colin Bogar, HBA '05, MBA '08, Managing Director of MGI Pacific Limited and President, Ivey Alumni Association Chapter, Shanghai.

Although the case competition is no longer running, the Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong chapters have plans to work together. For instance, the Hong Kong Chapter has organized events in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou throughout the year, which involved alumni from all three cities, and plans tocontinue connecting with fellow alumni chapters in Asia.

“We will continue to work with the Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and other Southeast Asian chapters to ensure mutual awareness of objectives, activities and alumni communications,” said Mark Shuper, HBA '92, Co-Founder & Executive Director, The Sprouts Foundation and Co-President, Ivey Alumni Association Chapter, Hong Kong. Alumni in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong also chatted and shared information using the social media tool WeChat (Wēixìn), the Chinese counterpart of WhatsApp.

“Technology is facilitating open communication amongst the groups,” said Bogar.

Opening doors to career opportunities

Back in 2005, less than 10 Ivey alumni worked in the investment banking and private equity industry in Mainland China. Dustin Wen and John Chen, both MBA ’05, wanted to change that. Wen and Chen worked together at The Balloch Group, then a small consulting firm, and were both active with the Beijing alumni chapter. Wen is now President of the Ivey Alumni Association Chapter, Beijing. They leveraged the chapter to refer and hire eight more Ivey alumni to The Balloch Group, and transformed The Balloch Group to one of the leading boutique investment banking firms in China.

Additionally, they have encouraged Ivey alumni to consider careers in the banking sector. Today more than 40 Ivey alumni are investment bankers and investment professionals in Mainland China.

Raising the School’s profile

The Hong Kong Chapter has partnered with Po Leung Kuk, a Hong Kong social services organization, and the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong, an organization and meeting place for Hong Kong's media, business and diplomatic community, to open an IT Skills Centre in 2014 that will bear the Ivey brand.

“It will raise the profile of Ivey within the community,” said Shuper.

Building relationships that last

Bogar, an expatriate, got involved with the predominantly Chinese Shanghai Chapter, in hopes of meeting local Chinese people. He said one of the main benefits of being part of the chapter is the opportunity to make relationships.

“A lot of business and job referrals happen through alumni events,” he said. “In Asia, and China in particular, relationships are an important thing. That’s one of the main reasons why alumni come out to events. There is something in it for people. The relationships are very worthwhile.”