Among post-secondary students graduating with a masters degree, it’s not uncommon for some to head overseas to build a career, or even travel back home to far-flung lands.
Royal Roads University, becoming known worldwide for its flexible online programs in business management and others, recently welcomed nearly 100 of its graduated students from China as part of its Global Alumni Weekend. Most had completed their studies online, with the help of a satellite campus of RRU, and many were making their first trip to the Colwood campus.
Last weekend’s activities included an Asia Pacific Trade Panel, featuring Teresa Wat, B.C. Minister of International Trade; Fan Gang, Chinese scholar and director of that country’s National Economic Research Institute; Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president and chief policy office of the Business Council of British Columbia, and Jimmy Mitchell, vice-president for business development with the AdvantageBC International Business Centre.
Local alumni attending that session, as well as a business-to-business workshop in the afternoon, appreciated hearing about international trade strategies and speaking with offshore RRU grads about business opportunities in Asia.
“It was a very valuable opportunity for the domestic and overseas alumni to interact and to meet and spend some time together to celebrate our commonalities,” said MBA graduate Clara Yan, now a financial advisor with Sun Life in Victoria.
As someone who keeps track of the foreign investment markets for her clients, she appreciated getting more information on the broad topic of business development in China and partnerships with Canada.
From a standpoint of international studies, she said the availability of online courses at RRU and elsewhere has definitely impacted how students interact with their peers.
“For sure nowadays, it’s the online programs that make the world smaller and the learners have access to many more programs and education providers,” she said. “When I was studying at Royal Roads, my fellow students were from all over the world – the U.S. and Asia.”
Fellow local alumnus Anshuman Ghosh, who received his Masters in Global Management degree from RRU earlier this year, was also keen to hear about what’s happening with developing trade opportunities in China. As an independent business consultant, part of his work involves promoting Greater Victoria companies in the Asian markets and attracting Asian investment for projects here.
He was particularly interested to hear more about Canada’s renminbi hub, a currency exchange program introduced this year that streamlines financial transactions for Canadian companies doing business in China.
“There was a lot of discussion and eye-opening facts about government programs and the economies of Asia and where their macroeconomc policies are headed,” Ghosh said. “Attending those programs and hearing from experts helped me understand where the trends are going. And with more one-on-one discussions between peers, you’re making business connections that will make such a big impact in future.”
He and Yan said they feel proud to be part of a global group of graduates from Royal Roads programs.
“The (weekend) for me is very much for myself and my career,” Yan said, “but it was nice I got to see what the school that I attended has done beyond Victoria and Canada, and what they have achieved in Asia.”
Royal Roads University president and vice-chancellor Allan Cahoon said the activities that were part of the school’s Global Alumni Weekend represented opportunities for “building relationships and creating partnerships between offshore and domestic alumni, as well as leaders in government and the community.”
The Alumni Weekend events tied in with homecoming activities for former cadets from Royal Roads’ days as a military college, as well as more recent grads from the university. It’s all part of the celebration of Royal Roads’ 75th anniversary as an educational institute.