Alumni Portraits

  • High-speed Route to East-West Insights

    Tony Tao Zeng (MSc 2011)
    24 Mar 2014

    For Tony Zeng, studying and subsequently working in Hong Kong has brought a host of insights and new friends as well as a chance to enjoy the special East-West blend of cultures in the city and play a role in helping other HKUST alumni from Mainland China stay connected with each other and the University.

    Life in Hong Kong as an audit associate at Deloitte, a multinational financial advisory services group, is a complete contrast to his home town of Guiyang in Guizhou: "Guiyang is a great place to be leisurely and not work too hard. People there find it hard to understand why I have to be in the office until midnight!"

    Despite time often being in short supply, Tony has found his international corporate existence is helping to put him on a fast track to career development. "In Mainland China, there is more need to cultivate relationships and spend time socializing than doing real work. So in six months in Hong Kong, I can acquire the same amount of experience that would take me a year to gain in Mainland China."

    Tony's MSc has not only been a great stepping stone into the working world in Hong Kong but also provided a good social network for him when not working late into the night. Birthdays, boat trips, and hiking are some of the activities that he enjoys with classmates from the program or through the HKUST Mainland Alumni Association (HKUSTMAA), where he serves as external secretary.

    The HKUSTMAA was set up in 2012 to keep the many Mainland China students who have attended HKUST over the years in touch with each other and the University. It brings together people from all different programs, which Tony sees as particularly valuable as it enables alumni to expand their perspective, learn from others' experience in different fields, and sparks new ideas.

    "We hope to help alumni to become successful, enjoy life, and feel connected to HKUST." For the Business School he sees discussions on entrepreneurship, as one important area where School-based discussions could spark valuable insight. Indeed, one of his own future goals is to start his own business.

    For now, his horizons extend mainly to the next three to five years and his intention to stay in Hong Kong to gain more experience before perhaps taking an MBA or other further studies.

    One activity that has made a deep impression over the years has been volunteer work in rural parts of Mainland China. With his philosophy to "do something good for the world", Tony found such experiences highly rewarding personally. "I believe we are connected with others and should work at building relationships. So I think the most important thing is to be a good person, to help and encourage others, and spend time with them. When you see people are happy, it makes you happy too."