Travel Diary: A MiM student in Hong Kong #2
Published on 06/11/2023
Published on 06/11/2023
In the first semester of 2022, ELEANORE MATHIEU went to Hong Kong for an exchange with the Baptist University as part of the “Global Incubator” programme (Formerly “Entrepreneurs across Borders”), offered by the NEOMA Master in Management. The student kept a travel diary. Episode 2.
A bit more than a month later, the situation in Hong Kong has improved and every day I’m learning more and more from my experience in Hong Kong. The university exchange is an opportunity for meeting people from completely different backgrounds and learning about yourself and your objectives.
“It’s in times of crisis that opportunities appear.” This phrase applies perfectly to the entrepreneurial spirit that the people of Hong Kong have. The word crisis in Chinese is composed of the two ideograms “opportunities” and “danger.” The health crisis hit Hong Kong hard over these past two months.
However, the community of foreign and Hong Kong students that I live with take advantage of this experience as much as possible. We go on many walks among the buildings of the biggest banks and companies in the world. We continue to wander the streets of the Kowloon or Central neighbourhoods in our free time.
Despite COVID, I am surprised by the high optimism among professionals
The Covid restrictions, which affect the restaurant sector in particular – that being the sector where I want to develop my company – drive you to look into how food start-ups and restaurants weather the crisis. The difference with France resides in the fact that people from Hong Kong eat almost every day in small neighbourhood restaurants and it is nearly impossible for them to close up completely. When talking with one of the professionals from the sector, I was surprised by his optimism, even while daily life in Hong Kong has been unique for two years now, especially when compared to the near-total lockdown of the rest of the world.
I discovered my entrepreneurial profile
At the same time, the entrepreneurship courses and the monitoring that I receive from my university’s incubator are very stimulating for me. I discovered my entrepreneurial profile and really streamlined what I want to create later. The professors, despite the online courses, insist on maintaining real communication with the foreign students while motivating us to think about the many, different start-up projects. Several competitions are regularly organised for the start-up projects in the university at a rate of one per month with a financial investment in the project or a spot in an incubator as a bonus.
Read the first episode : Travel Diary: A MiM in Hong Kong #1 – NEOMA (neoma-bs.com)
Giving students the chance to strike off the beaten path
Every day I realised how lucky I am to have entered this unique pedagogic programme! You can tell at what point it is important to give students the chance to strike off from the beaten path and give them a lot of opportunities to test their creativity and determination. I have been both surprised and charmed by this aspect of the programme.
In fact, this new framework and new relationships and this optimism has been incredibly beneficial to me. I’ve realised that entrepreneurship in the food sector is definitively made for me and that Hong Kong is a city unlike any other. I cannot see myself leaving without having a professional experience in the hospitality sector, which is a major, renowned part of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is recognised throughout the whole world for its restaurants, its culinary excellence and its advances in hospitality.
A permanent work contract in July
It’s decided. I want to train in the restaurant and catering sector among the best in the business so I can then set off on my own in the world of entrepreneurship. With my school, NEOMA, we were able to find an arrangement to put management work at the centre of my future experience with a permanent contract coming up in July in a restaurant group in Hong Kong.
While during times of crisis opportunities appear, another opportunity is taking shape as I write this. Hong Kong is preparing to enter a lockdown and go through mass testing. All of the exchange students are leaving the region and Asia to continue online courses in different time zones. It is thus the same for us.
More to come.