USC Price alumni ahead of the competition in China
It’s not easy to beat out thousands of applicants all vying for the same job. But in China, USC Price School of Public Policy alumni are doing exactly that.
“Because everything in China is government-owned or government-controlled, having a background in public policy really helps to distinguish them professionally,” said Carol Rush, USC Price associate dean for student affairs.
Xin Chen MPA ’10 competed against 25,000 candidates to secure one of 60 trainee positions at the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC).
The daughter of two teachers, Chen grew up in Quanzhou, a historical city on China’s southeast coast. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Renmin University of China and interned in Beijing for the national government, HSBC Bank and Citibank. She then headed to Los Angeles to earn her Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from USC Price.
She chose USC Price because of its excellent reputation, location in an international and multicultural city, and impressive alumni network.
“Like sunshine in California, every member of the Trojan Family shares passion for life and tries their best to achieve their goals,” she said. “The alumni are nice, responsible, enthusiastic and hard-working. During my two years at USC, I was completely moved by this specific spirit and culture of our Trojan Family.”
While pursuing her MPA, she interned for the Department of Public Works in the city of Los Angeles, gained experience as a teaching assistant for USC Price faculty member Ali Farahani and served as an economics tutor for undergraduates through USC Student-Athlete Academic Services. She also did an externship project for Deloitte Consulting and participated in the USC Graduate Policy Administration Community student group, and the PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte case competitions.
After graduation, she successfully completed an online application — financial, English and IQ tests — and two group interviews to earn herself a spot as an ABC trainee. She currently serves as a public relations manager at ABC, where she organizes PR campaigns, advertisement promotion and crisis management.
“Definitely, my USC degree helped a lot in my job application,” she said. “This degree provided me with a competitive educational background, self-confidence, the ability to learn quickly, and communication, networking and other necessary social skills. USC also taught me to be a kind person, always being helpful to others. And helping others brings my life happiness.”
Corina Huang MPA ’12 beat out 13,000 applicants to land one of 30 General Management Trainee positions at Mars, the international candy, food and pet care company.
She grew up in Zhuzhou in Hunan Province and pursued her bachelor’s degree in economics at Beijing Language and Culture University.
As an undergraduate, she attended the Harvard Model United Nations conference, volunteered at the Beijing Olympics and took a leadership role in the educational nonprofit Junior Achievement. She also interned at the China Central Television news channel, where she did English-Chinese translation during interviews with former U.S. Secretary of the State Henry Kissinger and the presidents of Austria, Afghanistan and the Maldives.
She pursued a USC Price MPA degree because it’s one of the oldest and highest-ranked programs in the field.
“No matter what I do in the future, knowing the rules of government is very essential, especially in a developing country like China,” she said.
While at USC Price, she secured an externship at the California Energy Commission as well as internships at the top management consulting firm Bain & Company and at local nonprofits.
“My favorite thing about USC is the spirit of our students,” she said. “Belonging to the Trojan Family, we are inspired to ‘Fight On’ to chase our dream. But our students enjoy life, too. Most USC students I know are happy and easygoing. So we can say that ‘people like to work with us’ when we are interviewing for a job position.”
After graduating in May 2012, she went to work in Beijing as a full-time intern at a British boutique investment bank specializing in cross-border mergers and acquisitions.
This month she began work as a General Management Trainee in Mars’ Department of Finance. The three-year trainee program offers one-year rotations to different departments, followed by a potential opportunity to become a department manager.
To secure this coveted position, she passed an online resume screening; took English and logic tests; sailed through rounds of interviews; and performed case analysis. She also formed a team of three people — which included her USC Price classmate Tina Westlife — to write a proposal about campus promotion of Mars brands. Westlife also secured a trainee position at Mars.
“First, they recognize that USC is a top university with a good reputation,” Huang said. “As a food company, when making decisions, not only do they consider their business profit but also their social responsibility. They care about the quality of their products and our environment. As a student with a finance and public administration educational background, they appreciate my specific view of analyzing issues and making decisions. For me, my MPA education completed my way of critical thinking.”
USC Price Master of Public Policy (MPP) alumnus Will Yao MPP ’12 is now an account executive of international business at Sifang Leo Livestock Science and Technology Co., a dairy equipment company in Beijing. Although Yao didn’t need to top thousands of applicants for his position, it doesn’t mean he values his job any less.
“The most important thing in finding a job is what Steve Jobs said, ‘You’ve got to find what you love.’ If you haven’t, don’t settle, keep looking, because most of your life consists of work,” Yao said.
A native of Shanghai, Yao earned a Bachelor of Arts in public administration from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and interned in the public relations department at Roche. Yao then headed to USC Price and earned his MPP degree in December 2012.
Because his family is in the dairy business, he decided to attend the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin, where he secured his current job with the China-based company.
“My USC degree certainly helped me to get this position,” he said. “It helped me to find my job strategically because I have a better way to think and organize my thoughts. My English also improved, both writing and speaking. It turns out that this is a very useful skill for my job.”
In his current position, he performs English-Chinese translation for the company’s clients and partners, imports dairy equipment, manages product information and more.
“The best part about my job is that I can learn a lot of things,” he said. “Our company is a young company, and my boss is a very capable man. I treat this job as a PhD program — only the name of this university is ‘society,’ and the projects it has are real ones.”
Yao credits USC Price with teaching him a new and different way of thinking.
“It’s more than knowledge that I learned,” he said. “It’s the attitude that some scholars show when they are pursuing truth. My long-term career goal is to become an entrepreneur. I would like to contribute to society and change the world, whether in ways big or small.”