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Creativity the lesson at LKF

Given the broad nature of Lan Kwai Fong Group's activities, the students shadowing CEO Jonathan Zeman were able to spend their three days in slightly different ways. "Lan Kwai Fong is more of a lifestyle brand - it's about how you spend your time, how you live your life," Zeman says.

"We are primarily a property business, but we also span F&B and entertainment."

So, with his passion for the food and beverage industry, University of Hong Kong (HKU) student Amos Yeung Hue-yin opted to devote two of his days to the group's restaurant staff. Meanwhile, Jake Chan Yin-fan, also at HKU, and Chinese University student Calvin Law Chi-ho, stuck closer to Zeman and got a noteworthy insight into the creative side of business.

"With the new California Tower almost finished, it was a very good time for them to be shadowing me, as we were in the middle of a branding project for the Lan Kwai Fong relaunch," Zeman says. "They not only had the opportunity to sit in on some of our management meetings and see what we were talking about in general, but they also got to go with us when we had almost a full day session at one of the branding companies we work with.

"We had our whole marketing team there, as well as myself and our creative and marketing directors. They really got to see first-hand how the whole branding and strategic process works, and you don't get to do that every day."

The students also got involved in brainstorming sessions and gave feedback about the brand. "They seemed to be very happy with the whole process and said they learned a lot. We treat people as full members of the team and we like to make sure they get the most out of their experience."

Zeman says the students learned how to run meetings and how to tease creativity out of people. "Every business needs to be creative and every team member has some creativity in them, but there's an art to getting that out of them. I think the students learned about that, and the whole creative process as well."

There were also some revelations for the CEO. "It surprised me that they were not shy and they were very happy to speak up and be part of the process. Young people in Hong Kong have a reputation for keeping quiet, keeping to themselves and not wanting to challenge the boss. But these guys proved this is not true - they were very confident when it came to having their say. And they were very analytical in their thinking.

"This was a good experience for me, too. There were some fresh views in our meetings - it challenged me to keep on my toes so I didn't teach them the wrong things."