Nancy Lu- Business is not Everything

Nancy launched her HKSN career as a VP Communication two years ago. She is one of the few people who is able to plaster a smile on her face even though when stress heavily weighs her down. In this interview, she elaborates on her Paris Exchange and her insight about business profession.

Tell us about what you’ve been studying at McGill.

I am a U3 student in the Faculty of Management. I have a major in Finance, concentration in Accounting and minor in French.

In Management, we are encouraged to study abroad, and I have been very fortunate to have studied abroad twice:

I was in Seoul during the summer of my first year, and I studied in Paris during the winter term of my U2 year.

It’s been a very exciting journey so far — I’m actually quite sad to be graduating and leaving McGill soon.

What are pros and cons about your program?

Pros:

The biggest pro from being in the Management faculty is that we benefit from having an abundance of resources that serve to bridge the gap between university and the “real world”.

We are encouraged, as U0s, to explore and learn about the many career possibilities post-graduation. We are guided, as U1s, to network with anyone and everyone around us and to write our first cover letters and CVs. We are trained, as U2s, to master the art of networking and interviewing. And hopefully, as U3s, many are set to enter the job market immediately after graduation. In my opinion, other faculties — despite having many resources as well — don’t enforce them onto their students as the Management faculty does.

Cons:

However, on the other hand… the sophisticated nature of the program also serves as its greatest downside.

As business students, we are channeled into a dark tunnel where the only light at the end is the prospect of finding a “prestigious job” that makes a lot of money.

Rarely do we get the opportunity to explore fields outside of business, and as a result, I would argue that I haven’t really learned anything of value during my three years at McGill so far. I have learned how to network, how to find a job, and ultimately how to make money… all for my own benefit.

However, unlike those in Engineering or in Science or in Arts, I have not learned any knowledge that will allow me to add value to society — whether it be through innovation, research, or something else.

What were some valuable involvements at school that taught about yourself and oriented your goals?

Interestingly, I never actually joined any Management clubs at McGill. For some people this can be seen as a terrible mistake, but for me it really did help me learn a lot about myself. Having realized early on that I did not want to restrict myself only to business, I was eager to try out different things in my first year.

I taught piano to elementary students, I volunteered at hospitals, and I was also involved in other extracurricular activities of a similar nature.

Whether fortunately or unfortunately (I have yet been able to decide),

I discovered that I did not actually enjoy business very much, but was much more interested in community involvement and making a contribution to society.

Although this has not affected my short-term goals of seeking a finance-related job after graduation, it has certainly steered my long-term career goals away from a pure finance/business aspect.

Please describe about your exchange semester at Paris.

To be honest, my exchange in Paris did not benefit my academics at all due to the difficulty in finding equivalent courses that could go towards my major or concentration. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that the 4 months I spent in Paris were one of the best 4 months of my life.

I don’t think I’ll ever get another chance to chill by the Seine River after class, to have picnics (with lots and lots of wine) under the Eiffel Tower, or to travel all across Europe without worry of assignments and exams.

Different exchange experiences can span across different points on the spectrum between academics and leisure.

I have no shame in admitting that my experience was truly, completely, only leisure. And it was certainly a welcoming break from the intense stress I had been experiencing at McGill.

If you were to go back in time and offer any advice to your U0 self, what would it be?

Get out there and talk to as many people as possible. Because as a freshman or sophomore at McGill, you may not be aware of all the opportunities that are available around you.

So go out there and talk to as many people as you possibly can — look at what others are doing, go try it out yourself, and if you don’t like it, try out something else.

Whether it be clubs, courses, internships/work… Life is about going out of your comfort zone and trying different things. Only then can you experience enough to decide what you really want to do in life.

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