UIC has had a busy few weeks with the various divisions organising events and activities to help celebrate the inauguration of new campus. The Division of Business Management (DBM) has contributed several events recently, including the highly anticipated High Table Dinner.

Road to Starting a Startup

On 1 December, DBM launched their celebrations by hosting Mr Yuan Shuai for a guest talk titled “Road to Starting a Startup”. Mr Yuan is a Yale graduate, where he studied political science and economics. He is also the cofounder and CEO of Care Alliance, which focuses on providing post-acute health care services in his hometown of Chengdu.

Image3Guest speaker Mr Yuan Shuai tells students about his experience starting his own company

T29-106 was packed full of students eager to hear Mr Yuan speak about entrepreneurship, and his personal experience running his own business. He was introduced by the Dean of DBM, Prof Stella Cho, who spoke highly of the guest speaker, and presented him with a gift to thank him for coming to UIC to speak to the students.

Image2Dean of DBM, Stella Cho, introduces the guest speaker

Mr Yuan began his talk by introducing himself and his company, and talked about how he created a company based on what he saw as something missing – post-acute healthcare services. These include the longer period of rehabilitation after staying in a hospital and receiving acute treatment, which is something traditional hospitals do not focus on, especially in his hometown of Chengdu. After spending time living in America, Mr Yuan became aware of this gap in services, and wanted to do something about it.

After the self-introduction, Mr Yuan gave the students advice for starting their own business. He discussed six steps that students should follow, with the first being to live in the future, and secondly, to think about what is missing in the current world. Prospective entrepreneurs should then make a prototype of the product of service they intend to offer, and look for funding while building the first version. The fifth step he suggested is to pivot and grow by learning from what worked and what didn’t work. His final step was success, however one may define that, either by creating an initial public offering, selling their company, or expanding further.

Mr Yuan talked about how the idea for his business is something that is already existing and thriving in Western society but he found it lacking in China, so he decided to create something where there was a gap. He talked about supply-demand gaps, using the example that the current capacity in Sichuan to accommodate those needing post-acute care is about 27,000, however he extrapolated that the demand for post-acute care was actually about 250,000-450,000, therefore identifying a supply-demand gap where his company could help.

From this information, he made a business plan, and started small with a rehab clinic to see if the demand was as high as he predicted. He suggested students wanting to start their own businesses should always start small to test the market, then expand based on their findings. In Mr Yuan’s case, the clinic was successful, so they expanded to create centres and hospitals offering post-acute services.

Image4Mr Yuan poses for a photo with Prof Cho and Vice President Prof Zhang Cong

Image5The room was packed for Mr Yuan's talk

Later in his talk, Mr Yuan discussed the important qualities that entrepreneurs should have. He highlighted creativity as the most important quality, and also emphasized that being a self-starter was key to success. Other important qualities include determination, strong people skills, competitiveness, passion, a strong work ethic and being open minded.

He ended his talk by discussing how there will always be many roadblocks and problems on the way to becoming a successful entrepreneur, therefore perseverance is key. His talk was followed by a Q and A session.

One student asked “What can managers do to attract and attain talented workers if they can’t afford to pay very high salaries?” Mr Yuan answered that “Many startups recruit friends and family. Go to people who trust you, offer people a big dream with your passion. My company is co-owned with my friend from high school and we both shared the same vision. Find people who share your goal and vision. You need to recruit people based on your personal charisma.”

Mr Yuan added on that he started out very small, working in a co-working space with his partner, and emphasized that cutting costs is key to survival especially in the beginning, and it is important to try and find the best talents at the lowest price.

Image6Acting Associate Dean of DBM, Prof Uchenna Eze, asks a question to Mr Yuan

Image7An audience member asks a question

Image8Mr Yuan poses with UIC staff for a photo

Another student asked advice on how student entrepreneurs could attract more investors without much industry experience or connections. Mr Yuan answered that “I wouldn’t advise students to start a business before working in the real world. Students should gain working experience first. Students should work in the real world to get more ideas, and work a few years first. When you find a problem that needs to be solved, you should start a company because you're solving a need.”

Students left Mr Yuan’s talk with a new sense of what entrepreneurship means as well as the steps and challenges along the way. That evening, DBM held a second event, the prestigious 95th High Table Dinner at UIC.

From Investment Banking to Private Equity

This High Table Dinner was specifically for Year One DBM students, and was the second high table dinner in the new hall at the Jintong Road campus. The night started with a speech by Dean of DBM, Stella Cho, after the students filed into the hall.

Image9The president of UIC, Prof Ng Ching-Fai, poses with Mr Yuan and High Table staff members

Image10Students are greeted as they enter the hall

Stella Cho said that "The high table dinner is a proud tradition at UIC. It provides an opportunity for students to network and make friends. I am happy to welcome 160 students here tonight to celebrate with us." Afterwards, she introduced Mr Yuan Shuai, who would be doing his second talk of the day, but this time on the topic “From investment banking to private equity".

Mr Yuan shared his practical experience of investment banking and private equity, having worked in both fields before starting his company. He started his talk by discussing how investment banking is the “sell side” while private equity is the “buy side” of banking.

According to Mr Yuan, investment banking has four categories of tasks: research and analysis, monitoring finances, client assistance, and pitch books. He concluded that most of the job of an investment banker is to help clients understand their finances better.

He then contrasted how investment banking is different from private equity, which entails: research and analysis, investments, investor relations and portfolio management.

Image1Approximately 160 students attended the High Table Dinner

Image11Mr Yuan recieves a gift from Prof Ng

Mr Yuan explained that even though the fields of banking differ somewhat, the desired qualities of students that want to go into these fields are similar. They include: technical ability, results orientation, problem solving, personal effectiveness, communication and teamwork.

Mr Yuan said that "You should show enthusiasm and willingness to take on new tasks". He also mentioned qualifications that will help students to stick out. These include: a strong foundation in math, the ability to work under pressure, to know ‘some’ finance, to know ‘some’ accounting, have relevant internship experience, be very proficient in Excel and PowerPoint, have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and a genuine interest in the financial markets.

His talk was again followed by a Q and A session, with one student relating his two talks, and asking Mr Yuan “Is a spirit of entrepreneurship important to have in a banking job?” He answered that “Yes, it is pretty important, because working as an analyst can incorporate a lot of complicated situations which an entrepreneurial personality can be well equipped to handle. Additionally, having an ownership attitude and working hard to produce top quality work is important.” There were several more questions from students, including asking for advice how to get involved in these fields.

Image12A student plays the Guzheng during the event

Image13Students are eager to ask Mr Yuan questions and for advice

Image14Everyone in the hall joins for a toast before dinner

After the talk, dinner was served, and attendees had much to talk about after such a stimulating speech. Staff and students networked and enjoyed their dinner together, with the event finishing by 8:30 p.m.

DBM had a successful first day of their inauguration celebration events, with some still to come including an exhibition of student and faculty projects and research from 4 to 9 December as well as the opening of the new QP Resource Centre and a Luncheon forum on 9 December.

Reporter: Samantha Burns
Photographers: Ivy Liao, Samantha Burns, Liu Yilun (Year 1, IJ)
Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He
(from MPRO)