For most secondary school students, the road to university is a rather daunting experience. From my personal experience as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Management (MGT), at City University, I have found that students tend to ask questions that are mainly concerned with academics and social life.
First-year students experience a lot of distractions when they enter university: student societies, interest clubs, executive cabinets and hall life.
But while socialising and getting to know other students is an important part of university life, students also want to know about the academic side of things.
The most frequent questions I hear are whether the courses are easy, whether the workload is going to be heavy, which teachers are nice or mean, and most importantly, whether or not they'll get good grades. Based on my own experiences, I can tell them that things seem to get easier - and the more work you put in, the more quickly that will happen.
Some students are curious to know what makes a department like ours unique. It's important for students everywhere to be aware of life outside of Hong Kong and to experience other cultures, and we are lucky to have a diverse, very international faculty, which makes this easier. Many business students hope to work in an international company when they graduate, so this exposure to other cultures is particularly useful to them.
There's even a course which focuses on working in international companies that have a presence in the Asia-Pacific region (for example, South Korea, Japan, Australia and Thailand).
Another wonderful way to experience life - and doing business - in another culture is by taking part in an exchange programme. These students study at an overseas university for between six and 12 months. These students tend to find that their perspective on life becomes more powerful and dynamic. They will have more confidence to overcome challenges, and realise that the world is actually very small and we are all very connected.
Students who think ahead ask about future careers. We know that landing a job after graduation can be a difficult and frustrating process. By taking advantage, early on in their university career, of internships and any career guidance available (such as we offer at MGT), students will be better prepared for the stresses and worries of recruitment.
Students also benefit from hearing how graduates and alumni progress in their careers, and gaining from the knowledge and experience the graduates share. We keep in close contact with our graduates because they are part of the department "family", and because they can help current students acquire the knowledge, skills and attitude they will need to contribute to Hong Kong's future prosperity.