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Preparing students for future success

Published on Thursday, 17 Mar 2011
Dorinda Fung, director of student affairs
Professor Walter Yuen, vice-president for academic development
Alan Chan, graduate trainee, Oracle Systems Hong Kong
Eric Au, director, Davis Langdon & Seah
Junius Leung, building surveyor trainee, Swire Properties
Margaret So, director, KPMG China

Over the years, Polytechnic University (PolyU) has remained committed to preparing its students for future career success. In particular, the Student Affairs Office (SAO) and the Career Development Services (CDS) office have helped guide students through their job searches and equipped them with core competencies.

Professor Walter Yuen, vice-president for academic development at PolyU, says: "We want our students to be effective practitioners and lifelong learners. We want them to be masters of their own domain, with a good background in the areas they work in. We also want them to have good leadership and communications skills."

A series of developmental programmes, such as the community service learning project, the leadership training series, and personal development programmes have been put in place to nurture all-round competencies in students.

Other initiatives are designed to help students boost their job prospects. These include recruitment talks that offer access to job opportunities and career information, one-to-one consultations on topics such as how to write a resume, and the PolyU Job Board, a one-stop platform for students to get access to full-time, part-time and internship positions.

All students have to go through a Work Integrated Education (WIE) requirement, supervised by their department's academic staff. This usually takes place during the summer holidays.

"By being in an actual working environment, they can apply what they are learning," Yuen says. "They can acquire the ability to communicate with people and interact with them and develop their personal and communication skills."

With the implementation of the four-year undergraduate curriculum next year, PolyU will launch initiatives to help students become "practical dreamers" and responsible global citizens. In addition to a stronger language component and enhanced general education programme, students will be offered continuous exposure to opportunities to research and apply what they learn in school. These include a freshman seminar to give first-year students an overview of their profession, WIE (internship and workplace experiences), research and industrial mentorship activities in the second and third year and a capstone project in the final year.

Professional leaders or representatives of industries will be invited to speak at the freshman seminar, giving students the opportunity to find out more about the sector, the requirements for entering the field and career prospects.

"PolyU has been nurturing students to meet the evolving market needs," says Dorinda Fung, the university's director of student affairs. "Statistics in recent years show that more than 80 per cent of our graduates have secured their first job offer within three months of graduation." She says PolyU graduates have been sought after by employers in business services and real estate, social services, trading, wholesale and retail, education, engineering, manufacturing and hospitality, among others.

Finding the right match: PolyU graduates and employers:


Alan Chan, graduate trainee

After graduating last year with a double degree in business administration and engineering, Alan Chan Chi-shing is working for Oracle Systems Hong Kong as a graduate trainee, providing consulting services on system integration and implementation for various information systems. 

Chan interned at the University of Tokyo, where he conducted scientific research on complementary metal oxide  semiconductor devices.

“The experience gave me an opportunity to taste the working environment in other  countries and expand my career options. It also strengthened my desire to pursue a career in the technology field,” he says. Chan encourages students to get an early start in their job search. “They should review their job-hunting experience with peers or others and learn from mistakes for each recruitment process.” Michael Taylor

Eric Au, director, Davis Langdon & Seah

Eric Au, director of quantity surveying firm Davis Langdon & Seah (DLS), says Polytechnic
University (PolyU) students are generally positive in their working attitude, a trait highly valued by the company.

“Employees with a positive mindset are happy employees who enjoy their work,” Au says. 

He adds that PolyU students are enthusiastic about being involved in on-the-job learning experiences and taking part in training seminars and sharing sessions with experienced DLS professionals.

“They are motivated to learn and also keen to acquire the professional qualification,” Au says, adding that his company typically hires PolyU students with a degree in surveying and building engineering and management.
Nora Tong

Junius Leung, building surveyor trainee, Swire Properties

Junius Leung Wing-yee, a surveying graduate in 2008, appreciates the support the Student Affairs Office gave her in her job search. “They taught [me] how to prepare a decent, informative and appropriate application letter, which is the essence of success,” she says.

Leung is working for Swire Properties as a building surveyor trainee. Her duties include coordinating with different consultants and working out technical details for new development projects. She did her internship at Colliers International in Hong Kong, where she says she was able to reflect on her career path before

“The trainee programme that I am doing is my first job, and I only sent one application letter,” she says.

“I can tell you that the recruitment process was very sophisticated.” Michael Taylor

Margaret So, director, KPMG China

As director for recruitment and resourcing at KPMG China, Margaret So has come across
countless numbers of graduates and young executives.

“Like other universities, PolyU has produced some very outstanding students,” So says.

“Their graduates are typically very diligent and positive in their attitude.” So notes that PolyU has worked “very hard” to prepare its students for career success, such as by arranging internships and job placements, and
taking steps to nurture important attributes in them.

As a result, So says PolyU students, who are recruited by KPMG, display the much-treasured qualities the firm looks for – a passion for the auditing profession, an awareness of events around the world and in the  region, and logical thinking. Nora Tong

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