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"Due to globalization, the world is smaller now. For our young people, the Belt and Road Initiative is their oyster. There are huge opportunities for them to explore the world." Frederick Ma, Chairman of MTR Corporation Limited, shared that he had been to Kazakhstan and Myanmar recently where he met so many young people as well as opportunities. He thinks that Hong Kong university students should be prepared to relocate to some “unfamiliar” cities, live and develop a career there.
Fred had spent a long time working overseas. After graduating from the University of Hong Kong in 1973, he joined Chase Manhattan Bank and was relocated to New York, Toronto and London. He later migrated to Canada and worked in securities before he returned to Hong Kong in 1990. He frankly admitted he had faced numerous failures while working overseas but he never gave up. He believed in Churchill's words, "success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm."
"I could not answer any technical question but I got the job."
Fred encourages university students and fresh graduates to be prepared for three things when they being to work. First of all, they should be prepared that "work is very hard, not 9-to-5 but more like 5-to-9." Secondly, they have to be innovative, think about how to capitalize what is going on in the world.
He thinks that there are a lot of opportunities these days, much more than when he first joined the workforce some 40 years ago. But for young people to achieve what they want, the third thing they need is to be ready to have "a lot of drives, a lot of passion and a lot of skill sets."
When being asked about interview tips, Fred recalls the interview he had at the American bank. "I could not answer any technical question asked by the interviewer but I still got the job. Why? I showed keen interest in the position and was being totally honest with the interviewer."
"People skills are the key to success."
He advises that young people must get themselves prepared, know the job and the institution well before they go for an interview. They must show that they have the necessary skill sets to be successful in that position. It may not be about technical know-how but the willingness to learn and the right communication skills to make the job a success.
Personally, Fred’s career is mostly related to financial services, including his time in the HKSAR government as he served as the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury in 2002. "For me, over the last 40 years, I have learned to be extremely hard-working, learned to work with people. Excellent interpersonal skill determines one’s success. Also, set a good example. You can't push others to do things without doing anything yourself." To become a good leader, people skills are the determining factor.