Senior Manager, Ultrain, China
The first time Qian stepped onto the Northeastern campus, he felt like Harry Potter entering the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! He knew that the door to opportunities was now open, not only during his time on campus, but also beyond. After returning to Shanghai, Qian decided to share his Northeastern experience with other alumni and community members, playing a pivotal role in establishing Northeastern’s first communities in China: Beijing and Shanghai. From supporting alumni professionally, to giving them an opportunity to find their place in the community, Qian continues to serve as the perfect ambassador for Northeastern.
Tell us how Northeastern has impacted you professionally.
As one of the top universities in the USA, Northeastern has helped me gain access to a variety of industries in China, from consulting, and venture capitals, to strategy and investment departments of Internet giants, and some Fortune 500 corporations. As an international student, I had the opportunity to engage with a diverse student population, which taught me empathy and tolerance. Today, I’m a senior strategic manager in a startup business worth $200 million, managing client and investor expectations daily. Without my Northeastern experience, I wouldn’t have felt empowered to meet their needs, and step into their shoes to truly understand their perspective.
Have you experienced the global Northeastern network?
For the past four years as a community leader in Beijing and Shanghai, I have had the opportunity to support many Chinese alumni who were travelling or moving to Beijing and Shanghai. They were looking for a community to help them settle down in a new city, and by attending some of our events, or joining our chat groups online, they were able to find the support they needed. I have also been able to help American alumni find job connections in China.
How do you stay ahead of the curve?
I am fortunate to be industries that require me to stay ahead of the curve. Both in consulting, and in my current job at a startup, my role requires me to stay on top of technology trends and investment opportunities. You have to be self-motivated, and driven by the fear of being left behind. That drive is critical to learn about the trends and continuously grow your knowledge.
What inspired you to give back to Northeastern as a volunteer?
When I came back to Shanghai in 2015, I had no friends or family here, but I knew that there were other Northeastern alumni and recent graduates who were in the same position. So, I contacted the Alumni Relations office, and asked them how I could get connected with the community here. With their help, I organized the first alumni event in Shanghai during Christmas, and we found that so many alumni had a passion for reconnecting with the university and each other. Their desire and passion drove me to take on a leadership role, eventually helping Northeastern establish official communities in Shanghai and Beijing. Today, we’ve gathered hundreds of alumni in these communities, which constantly re-energizes me to do more.
What have you learned by volunteering for Northeastern?
Contributing to your community can strengthen your belief in the kindness of the world. Everyone has moments of vulnerability, but we have the power to support them – and to me, that’s what being an alumnus is all about.