Describe your two most valued accomplishments and the process by which you achieved them. What challenges or obstacles did you encounter along the way? How did you overcome them?
Objectively speaking, my undergraduate life was spent in sustained progress and the honors brought by my achievements. I have always congratulated myself on my modesty and my relentless perseverance which empowered me to strive for higher objectives. In retrospection, I feel that I deserve all the honors and awards that were conferred on me, be it the first scholarship upon entering the university or the undisputable award of the Most Outstanding Graduate of the Department with which I graduated from my beloved university. I am also delighted with my clear-minded understanding of myself, remembering the two important turning points in my life that happened during my most precious youth. The two achievements that I am going to describe may not be so spectacular in appearance as compared with my other honors, nevertheless they are significant in that they have charted the course of my future career.
I. The Publication of My First Academic Paper
My first academic achievement is an academic paper entitled Study of the Entrepreneurial Human Resource Capital in China‘s State-Owned Enterprises, which was published in The Socialism Study (No. 2, 2000, please refer to Appendix I). As an undergraduate, I felt really excited for being able to have an opportunity to present my true and unorthodox opinions in so influential a domestic academic journal. As the first major achievement, this event and its subsequent influence not only enabled me to deviate from mere coursework and embark on academic research, it also reinforced my determination to pursue scientific research as my career objective.
Essentially, my insatiable thirst for new knowledge constituted for me the fundamental starting point for conducting this research. Being a second-year undergraduate, I felt that my basic knowledge in economics and management had already equipped me to reflect on and to comprehend some of China‘s economic problems. As I was more interested in the field of management, the reform of China‘s state-owned enterprises naturally became the major concern of my analysis and contemplations. At that time, Chinese scholars were almost all devoted to heated controversies over the issue of the enterprise‘s share-holding reforms and the establishment of modern framework embodied in corporate management.
These controversies, which are still raging on, are primarily focused on the production domain. My belief was that the reform in the production sector would necessitate corresponding reforms in the system of distribution. Any society or enterprise that confines itself to the reform in the production sphere is incomplete or flawed. With the discovery of this problem, I commenced the difficult process of substantiating my arguments based on those research findings of mine.
Without exaggeration, only when I had started my academic research did I begin to experience the real challenges from myself, those challenges caused not only by the imperfections of my existing knowledge but also, more seriously, by the lack of effective methodology. I underwent a long period of painful meditation and constantly consulted my teachers in diverse disciplines for their perceptive comments on problems whose solutions were difficult for me to discover. In half a year, the number of books, journals, and academic papers that I consulted for undertaking my own research exceeded the total number of books that I read in two previous years. That was the most difficult and painstaking period for me. But this painstaking exploration was also very rewarding in that my perspective concerning China‘s economic problems was greatly sharpened and my training in academic thinking was all the more profound. A remark by a philosopher that "Without the spasm, history would never advance, not even a step" seemed quite aptly applicable to my case.
The valuable support from my Department, the instructions from my respectable teachers, and my own indefatigable persistence helped me surmount all the obstacles and contributed to make my research a rewarding success. Many facts proved the significance of my research. While feeling proud of my success, I had the profound feeling that, when it is so challenging for a student like me to switch from his coursework to formal research, it would be much more difficult for an enterprise or a nation to undertake its reform. The growth and the maturation of generations of young scholars will enable China‘s overall academic research to promote and to guide successful social reform. I would like to be one of such scholars under the conviction that the real joy of my life inhabits in what I believe to be my noble objectives.
II. Participating in an International Exchange Program as Representative of Our Country
At the beginning of 2000, Hong Kong American Chamber of Commerce invited and sponsored 12 college students from Mainland China (selected by Chinese Ministry of Education) to participate in the Business Orientation Program that it held in Hong Kong. I was one of the 12 representatives, and the only representative from my province where there are several hundred thousands of college students.
Perhaps in the eyes of American professors, participation in an international exchange program cannot be counted as an "achievement" in itself. However, in China, it is both an honor and a challenge to be singled out from millions of your counterparts to become a member of the program. It represents the highest confirmation by the nation of the value of a student majoring in economics or management
The exchange program was characterized by friendly atmosphere and tight agenda. All the visits to international companies and the seminars were very formal, with presidents of those companies receiving us in person. All the participants were organized into 8 teams and it was sometimes necessary for a particular team to be stationed in a particular company to investigate a specific project. Even now, I can recall a remark by Mr. Jim Harvey, chairman of this exchange program: "There is no competition here, but competition exists anywhere and anytime." Even though that was the first time I came into a totally English environment, I adapted to it immediately and fully displayed my talents in those activities. "Actions speaks louder" was my primary principle. My team was assigned to survey the results of the Digital Training of Xerox HK. By applying the knowledge and the wisdom that I had acquired, I formulated the framework, the specific procedures and the plan for conducting our internship. My proposals were highly evaluated by the manager of its Training Department. As a matter of fact, the entire program was completed according to my framework and I was the virtual leader of my team. In the English seminar at Black Aisle Company, my excellence performance that combined eloquent English expression, listening comprehension and unusual memory astonished American students. I am willing to exchange knowledge and culture with college students all over the world under the atmosphere of mutual encouragement and learning. By the time the program was concluded, I received a card from an American friend on which was written " It is a pleasure to become your friend."
The fruits of this visit were not merely confined to what I have mentioned. This activity gave me the first opportunity to have a close experience of Hong Kong where I could come into contact with a different economy, society and culture. With major international companies as a frame of reference, I realized that China still had a long way to go in its enterprise reform. With Hong Kong as a frame of reference, I realized what my beloved country has and what she does not have. At the same time, I could perceive that the future generation of Chinese social scientists have a historical mission to perform, which can be executed only through determined efforts. With so many major international companies, Hong Kong occupies a uniquely important position in international economy. Hong Kong‘s achievements are the result of the sustained and strenuous efforts by Hong Kong people. A vibrant and prosperous society requires its citizens to have the courage to strive for what they consider to be their genuine ideals and fight for those ideals with dedication and sacrifice in order to maintain its vibrant prosperity. My journey to Hong Kong made me all the more acutely aware that China is really in urgent need for the cutting-edge knowledge and the most advanced experience and approaches in economics and management for its future development and reform. This recognition has now become increasingly well-defined for me, prompting me to seek an advanced degree as the ultimate objective of my student life.