Getting down to business

Getting down to business

Former award-winner Pauline Yeung gives SCMP Student of the Year hopefuls her top tips for success.


Pauline Yeung is now a manager at the HKMA.
Pauline Yeung is now a manager at the HKMA.
Photo: Edmond So/SCMP
Pauline Yeung was the Grand Prize winner of the SCMP Student of the Year competition in 2004. At the time, she was a 17-year-old student at Diocesan Girls' School. After graduating from secondary school, she obtained a full scholarship to study in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, in the United States. There, she became the first international student to graduate as the "Daniel M. Sachs Class of 1960" Scholar.

After returning to Hong Kong, she worked as an associate at the US-based financial services company, Morgan Stanley. Now the 27-year-old is a manager at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority's (HKMA) Market Development Division. Her job is to promote Hong Kong as an international financial centre through policy and market research.

Since she was young, Yeung has been involved in a range of community activities. Her role at the HKMA ensures she continues to make a solid contribution to Hong Kong's future wellbeing.

What does the SCMP award mean to you?

Winning the award and being featured on the front page of the Sunday Morning Post at age 17 was a very flattering experience. But the prestigious award has served as a reminder of my responsibility to contribute to the community throughout my life.

As chairperson of the Woodrow Wilson School Policy Conference on the Rise of China, I led discussions with scholars, diplomats and students to promote Sino-American relations.

When I worked as an intern at [the local art gallery] Galerie Perrotin, I organised education programmes to promote art appreciation among the public. Now I'm promoting Hong Kong as an international asset management centre, as enshrined in China's 12th Five Year Plan.

What is success? Do you think you're successful?

Success to me is feeling happy and peaceful, as I know I've made the most out of what I've been given. Success is continuing to develop myself and, at the same time, living in harmony with family and friends, with society and nature.

I also believe it's very important to live by moral principles, rather than "winning at all costs". As to whether I'm successful, I think it's too early to tell.

Who do you want to thank?

I want to thank my parents, including my father who passed away last year, and my mother. She is Korean, and when she first came to Hong Kong, she didn't speak any Cantonese. But she learned the language for me and my sister, and got used to living in a foreign city. I'm forever grateful for her total dedication to the family.

What qualities do you think this year's Best Community Contributor should have?

You need to have the qualities of a leader and to be humble. Only a humble person can lead people with conviction. If you are arrogant, no one will want to follow you. You have to show that you care by understanding people's needs. You should also take the initiative and have an awareness of the social issues around you.

What advice would you give to young people?

See beyond your local community and explore the world outside. When I studied in the US, I saw many Asian students interact only with other Asians. But I chose not to do that because we live in a global world and the internet era.

We are all connected beyond races and nationalities. We need to understand different cultures. So learn to love Hong Kong and China, and keep a global view.

Another important thing is to count your blessings and appreciate what you have every day.

You might also like:

- Hugh Kam is a former SCMP student linguist winner who speaks five languages. This year, he is judging the prize.

- Former SCMP star Tina Lam is now a successful artist. Treasuring her teachers and family is the secret to her glittering career.

- Alvin Wong, a former SCMP Student Musician of the Year, tells Mabel Sieh how he expresses himself best through music


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