What advantages do Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University graduates have in the workplace? How do departments support their students to develop their careers?

These are the kind of questions that were explored at a recent Department of Urban Planning and Design (UPD) homecoming and career development event, which saw alumni and industry representatives share their experiences with current students.

The event was designed to help UPD students get a better understanding of the industry and a clearer idea of what their career might look like. It involved three sessions including a Liverpool-China Connection and Sharing Experience session led by Head of UPD, Dr Joon Sik Kim, as well as sessions on life after graduation and career development.

The China-Liverpool Experience saw alumni from the Department of Civic Design at the University of Liverpool share their life advice and experiences with XJTLU students.

(Pictured above: Dr Lei Sun, Suzhou Natural Resources Planning Bureau; Dr Guoping Zhang, China (Shenzhen) Development Institute; Professor David Shaw, University of Liverpool; Professor Hongyang Wang, Nanjing University; and Dr Xinkai Wang, Zhejiang University Ningbo Institute of Technology)

During the career development session, Siyu Chen (picture below), who graduated from XJTLU in 2012 and is now working at STRABAL, said UPD offered strong career development support before and after graduation.

“Compared with many universities, the research-led teaching and leaning environment of XJTLU helps students develop critical thinking and practical skills,” he said.

Fellow 2012 graduate Rui Geng (picture below), who now works for SCP Consultants, said his skills in research, analysis and strategic planning set him apart from graduates from other universities.

“Our critical thinking abilities and international perspectives are great advantages when working in the private sector,” he said.

Students also had the chance to network with representatives from a number of companies including Z-land, SCP, INBO, RMJM, Future Polis, Urban Exploration Architects, and Suzhou Planning and Design Research Institute.

Zhen Yao, co-founder of Z-land, advised students to find their own interests while establishing their careers.

“Finding your own passion is the most important thing in developing your career,” he said.

“Only when you know your own interests and abilities, can you do well in your field.”

Student feedback on the event was positive with Year Two student Tong Wu stating he left the day with a better understanding of both the industry and his own career direction.

Written and translated by Bingyu Chen, edited by Yuanxin Yang and Rosanna Galvin

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