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Liu Xiaojun Shawn, President of the CUHK Mainland Alumni Association

Liu Xiaojun Shawn received an offer from Goldman Sachs before graduating. After joining Goldman in 2007, he was sent to New York for a four-month training before returning to work in Hong Kong. In early 2010, he left Goldman to join a newly established mainland financial technology company which subsequently expanded from 80 to over 1,300 staff. He is currently its assistant chief executive and head of institutional sales.

Recalling how he was admitted to CUHK, Shawn said it was a coincident. Born and raised in Shanghai, and later admitted to Fudan University, he learnt while at Fudan that he could apply to transfer to the Chinese University on full scholarship. He attended a briefing session by Prof. Richard M.W. Ho, then Registrar of CUHK, held at Fudan, and was instantly drawn to CUHK. After doing some research online, he decided to take a look at the world outside Shanghai.

When first in town, Shawn understood no Cantonese. Lightly flavoured Cantonese food was also not instantly favoured by his Shanghainese palate. Shawn was not used to anything here but he did not feel lost. 'I was not helpless. My roommates, classmates were willing to give a hand and hostel wardens provided support too.'

Overcoming the language barrier was not too difficult. Shawn's challenge lay in being proactive in interacting with local students and taking part in as many extracurricular activities as he could. He was the key player of the football team of the Department of Information Engineering. In six months' time, Shawn could communicate in Cantonese with ease.

'The four years of college life were magnificent! Where can you find such a beautiful campus with such comprehensive facilities?' Shawn said. 'I graduated six years ago, but I remember every single event that happened. For instance, as a cabinet member of the CUHK Mainland Undergraduate Association (MUA), I helped to organize a 10-day orientation camp for more than 200 mainland freshmen in 2005. We organized activities to help freshmen with registration, selecting courses and Colleges, moving into hostels, orientation night, sports competitions, photo taking at the University Mall, city tour…. The result was rewarding. All the mainland freshmen joined MUA.'

Shawn made many friends during his studies which benefited him a lot. With the help of a senior, he landed an internship at an information technology company in the summer of Year 3. His roommate encouraged him to co-design a webpage for job applications. 'As a result of what we did, we received offers from several investment banks at the beginning of Year 4. So, my advice to mainland students is to meet more new friends.'

The CUHK Mainland Alumni Association was set up in 2010 with the aim of connecting mainland alumni in Hong Kong. It currently has over 200 members. Shawn took up the second presidency to serve his former classmates. 'We plan to organize regular activities such as trips and dinner gatherings. Leaders of different sectors will be invited to host lectures to facilitate members' career development. We will keep on supporting mainland undergraduates through mentorship programmes and career talks.'