【Interview】IBMBA Alumni Christopher Clausen(Class of 2011)
Originally from the USA
Lives and works in Hong Kong
IBMBA Alumni Class of 2011
As part of the Leading Global Academia in Taiwan, the International Business MBA and Global HRM MBA programs at NSYSU are committed to provide a diverse and inclusive learning environment for our local and international students. Our alumnus Christopher Clausen came from America to Taiwan to study in the IBMBA program. Zhanna Samodurova, President of the Students Association, conducted an interview with Christopher and asked him a few questions about his experience.
-Christopher, what was your favorite course during your entire program, why?
My favorite class was a microeconomics class taught by professor David Andersson. I tried to find the exact name of the course in my transcripts, but I could not find it. It was like a seminar and small group format in which I liked discussing microeconomics with my classmates and the professor. I only discovered in NSYSU how much I am into economics. If I could start my studies all over again, I would definitely choose economics instead of psychology.
-Let’s talk about your work experience. Did you have any internship while studying?
I did an internship at a little trading company which was owned by one of my classmates. At that time I did not take it very serious. I was looking for something that was convenient for while I was in Taiwan and for which I could work over the summer. An advice that I would like to share with current students and myself if I could go back into time, is to take an internship seriously because when I am hiring people I always look at their previous internships in the field that I am hiring for. I would recommend to do as many internships as possible, apply early and often. Keep in mind to find an internship in the field that you are interested in after you complete your MBA program.
-Could you please tell us about your current position?
I have been with the same firm for 8 years now, it is called JLL. We are a real estate services agency, commercial real estate services agency and main source of income is office leasing. We help companies find office spaces and our agents earn commissions. Furthermore, we provide other services like designing and constructing these offices. We have a sister company called LaSalle who are direct investors in the real estate sector all over the world. I am responsible for the market research, so I am tracking and sizing the market and its opportunities. I monetize all of this data and we sell it to institutional investors like pension funds, private equity firms and investment banks. I worked my way up from the junior level to director level now. I started of in the local market in Beijing and after a couple of years there was a vacancy in the regional team in Hong Kong.
-Did you feel that Degree from NSYSU helped you while job-hunting period?
Yeah, definitely! Like I said earlier, I learned a lot about Excel at NSYSU. Moreover, I learned a lot of soft skills during my presentations that I did. I did not really experience that in my studies before coming to NSYSU. These soft skills really helped me in my career and working in teams as well. It is important that you learn how to present well.
-Would you recommend this program to your friends or future Master students?
I always tell my friends and family that it really depends on your goals what type of Master program you choose. Personally, the IBMBA program was a great choice since it matched with my future goals. I did not exactly know what I wanted to do after my graduation, so doing a general MBA program made sense to me. I would definitely recommend it to people in a similar situation, but it depends on your circumstances.
-Who was your favorite professor during your studying at NSYSU, why?
There were a couple of professors that I liked. One of them was David Andersson and I really enjoyed his classes. The other professor that I want to mention is professor Yih Jeng who also was my thesis advisor. I cannot recall the name of his course, but I do remember that he was using the spreadsheets software of Excel during his course. This was the first time that I had ever seen a professor using advanced features of Excel, which made me keen to go home and teach myself. I am using Excel on a daily basis and it advanced my career in my current job. I enjoyed working with him as thesis advisor, since he had a good mix of giving me my freedom and giving me guidance.
-Why did you choose Taiwan for studying?
I was already living in Taiwan to be a teacher, but after a year I realized I was not cut out to be a teacher. I was shooting pool with a friend and we both decided to go back to school to get a MBA program. I applied to two different MBA programs and got accepted to both. In the end, I chose NSYSU since they offered me financial aid and I liked the overall setting of NSYSU. Furthermore, I made this decision just after the recession of 2008 so it just felt like a perfect time to start a MBA program.
-What do you like about the country Taiwan?
First of all, I really like hiking and the outdoors so Taiwan is a perfect country for me. Furthermore, I like the history of Taiwan and the Taiwanese food. This is probably what I miss the most. I really enjoyed the night markets, I used to live next to the Shida night market in Taipei which is the best night market in Taiwan according to my opinion. We have night markets in Hong Kong, but it is not the same like the Taiwan.
-Why did you choose the IBMBA Program at NSYSU?
That is a very difficult question. I knew I wanted a general and international MBA program which was taught in English. The other MBA programs that they offered at that time were the EMBA program and a MBA program taught in Chinese. My Chinese was not sufficient enough to follow the MBA program taught in Chinese, so I decided to do the IBMBA program.
Respondent: Christopher Clausen (NSYSU, IBMBA Alumni, Class of 2011)
Interviewer: Zhanna Samodurova (President of Students Association, 2020)