Alumni share their “Industry Insights” in Hong Kong

Alumni share their “Industry Insights” in Hong Kong

The Exeter Hong Kong Alumni Group (EHKAG) held their annual employability event at the stunning LinkedIn headquarters in Hong Kong on Wednesday 24 May 2017. 

This event saw alumni from a range of career sectors (law, finance, marketing and environment) present their career journeys since graduation from University of Exeter to an audience of local alumni, current students and prospective students. The EHKAG volunteer committee organise this annual employability themed event with the aim of inspiring them of the different career paths open to alumni following graduation, ask questions and to network and reconnect with alumni friends.

The event began with EHKAG committee member, Chris Tang (Law 1996, Managing Director at Star Anise Limited), opening the event and introducing the speakers, including: 

Sue Kendall (Geography, 1980), Partner at Baker & McKenzie

"If you want something to happen, you make it happen."

Following graduation from leaving Exeter, Sue initially studied accounting then relocated to Australia where she worked for a property magnate. On her return to the UK, Sue had a brief 3-day stopover in Hong Kong and vowed to return.

Back in the UK, Sue was trained in the legal sector at a small London law firm. She then relocated to Hong Kong to develop her legal career and became well-know and has built a successful career, working in law firms including Fairbairn, Catley, Low and Kong, in-house counsel at Accenture, and to her current position as Partner at Baker McKenzie.

Throughout her legal career she has adapted to the firm's business and client needs, starting out in litigation, moving to corporate/commercial/real estate work, and the returning to her original passion, focusing on litigation with a focus on trusts disputes, cyber/fraud, and employment disputes. 

Sue’s initial plan to stay in Hong Kong for a year has led to 27 years and is still going strong! 


Andrew Gordon (Economics and Politics, 1982), Managing Director - Investor & Treasury Service at Royal Bank of Canada

"Understand and adapt to the local working culture."

Andrew developed a wealth of experience in the banking and finance sector after leaving Exeter, spending 27 years at the Bank of New York – working in London, New York, Tokyo, and now Hong Kong.

In the 1990’s Bank of New York acquired a business from one bank with the best sovereign wealth fund in Asia, and Andrew learned a huge amount from this experience, interacting with those clients. 

Like Sue, initially Andrew thought he would spend only one year in Hong Kong, which continues to be his current base.


KK Yung (Biological Sciences, 1980), Senior Environmental Protection Officer at the Hong Kong Environmental Compliance Division

"The people in an organisation is critical to that organisation's success". 

A passion for ecology and the study of nature is what has guided KK’s career path, working in the Environment space for the Hong Kong government. 

Exeter was not his initial first choice of University (Edinburgh was!), KK was drawn to the warm summers in Devon and Cornwall as opposed to the cold winds and harsh weather of Scotland. He wasn't disappointed! 

Studying at Exeter has left a huge imprint in him, inspired by the lecturers and tutors. It's given him the confidence to try new things, hence in his career he has explored different departments in the government, continually striving to learn and improve, and impart his knowledge and experience with others. 

KK was born and raised in Wanchai, Hong Kong. He is passionate about Hong Kong, with its mix of Cantonese and English, the diverse physical geography blending in with a vibrant financial industry, dense population and thriving business community. 


Nick Thorpe (Geography, 2004), Content Director at Text100

"Sometimes, taking time out of your career can give you a fresh perspective on life."

Nick studied Geography at Exeter, but following graduation he didn't have a clear career plan. He joined a large corporate firm doing pitch proposals, something he didn't understand but somehow it developed into something he loved doing – writing. Nick eventually became digital content manager. 

Seeking some solace and inspiration, Nick bought a black cab and drove to Mongolia and back.

On his return, he started a blog called "52 New Things". He vowed to try something new every week. Firstly, they were rather trivial things, like not eating crisps. But his blog went viral online and he became inundated with suggestions to try new things. And that set him on the path to his current career as a Content Manager for a start-up media content provider, managing a team of 20 staff.  

Nick then turned his blog into a book, "52 New Things – The Book", which became a bestseller.


The key points reiterated by all the speakers was to always keep learning and to persevere, studying at Exeter will develop the skills to enable you to adapt well in life and your career and to remember that how you start in your career may not be what you end up doing.

The EHKAG organise annual events, including employability and social themed activities. Follow news and events in Hong Kong by joining the Hong Kong alumni group on Facebook.


Date: 19 September 2017

Read more University News