05 Sep, 2016
10 : 00
Herbert Cheng has held the position of Alumni Relations Officer for all the Yew Chung and Yew Wah schools in our network since April 2014. He is mainly responsible for putting together an exciting calendar of cool events and programmes, providing new ways for alumni members to connect with each other.
How many alumni do you keep in touch with and where are they mostly based?
There are around 2000 alumni members in our database. We keep in touch with all of them, broadcasting updates to events and latest alumni news. A large number of them have completed their studies overseas and have returned to Hong Kong to pursue their careers.
What sort of events and programmes do you work on?
Our events are diverse in nature. Regular annual events include the Alumni Homecoming Day and the London Alumni Gathering. The Homecoming Day happens every summer and brings together alumni from different graduating years. The London Alumni Gathering usually happens in January, and is a gathering of all UK/London-based alumni members. The event serves as a good opportunity for alumni to reconnect and get to know new members of the alumni family. Hosted by representatives of the Alumni Relations Office, participating alumni may also keep themselves updated on the latest news of Yew Chung and Yew Wah. Throughout the past year we also held an alumni career sharing event for students to discover more about different industries, an internship programme with Years 10 and 12 students (who worked together with us to stage the Homecoming Day), and a fundraising food sales counter on Open Day.
Is Homecoming Day your biggest event of the year?
Yes, the Alumni Homecoming Day is the biggest annual event for alumni. This year we had around 150 participants.
What activities took place during the Homecoming Day?
The programme for the event differs slightly every year. This year we had the final matches of the Alumni Soccer and Basketball Leagues, an alumni pottery workshop, art jamming, a networking buffet lunch, a science-art workshop, face and body painting, and a balloon photo-booth.
The events you’ve mentioned sound like a lot of fun as well as extremely useful; can you tell me more about the internship programme for Years 10 and 12 students?
The Student Internship Programme was introduced in the 2014-15 academic year. It is a programme tailored for Years 10 and 12 students which aims to provide them with the opportunity to experience the work environment early and hone essential skills by working with us on a specific project. Last year we had two projects, the Alumni Website Revamp and the Alumni Homecoming Day and appointed a total of 27 interns. This year, 13 interns were appointed to organise the Alumni Homecoming Day. Under the guidance of our staff, students develop a basic understanding of project management, and also transferrable skills such as planning, time management, organisation, communication, and effective presentation. A typical internship tenure lasts 4-5 months, during which regular meetings are held to monitor work progress. On successful completion of the programme, interns receive a certificate of completion and a formal reference letter to supplement their university applications. This year’s internship programme was yet another successful one, and we look forward to working with many more interns in the years to come!
When’s the next big event?
Preparations are still underway for the agenda of the 2016-17 academic year. As of now, the next big event will be the London Alumni Gathering to be held in early 2017.
Have you met any famous alumni?
This is a difficult one! I would refrain from naming specific individuals – but I would also say that many senior alumni I know are well established and are certainly well known in their respective career fields!
What industries do our alumni tend to go into?
We have alumni working in many different fields. These include but are not limited to law, medicine, insurance, business, education, design, art, marketing, accounting, communications, and humanitarian work.
What do you like most about your job?
The biggest reward, aside from the working experience, is the opportunity not only to reconnect with my former classmates, but at the same time get to know new members of the alumni family. For example, in this year's London Alumni Gathering, I was really excited to reconnect through my work with a classmate whom I had not seen in over 10 years. I also got the opportunity to talk to alumni from other YCIS schools.
What skills do you need to be an Alumni Relations Officer?
My work is very much events management and project-based. Time management is essential when it comes to holding large-scale events. This is because events give you limited time to get everything together, with limited resources. In addition, organisational skills come into good use, especially when dealing with the multiple components of a large event, or engaging in practical event preparations, or coordinating the work of different parties to meet the needs of a project. Generally speaking, writing skills are also required when it comes to preparing written work for publication to alumni, the School, parents, and students. Lastly, keeping in touch with a large group of alumni calls for good communication and PR skills too.
How can Alumni keep in touch with you?
Alumni can contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to stay in touch. Our alumni can also check out our Facebook page or visit our website: www.ycywalumni.com.