In Focus - Issue 35 (Spring 2023)

in Engineering). The intensive program involves a general engineering curriculum in English in the rst year and a specialization undertaken in French in the second year. He will thus graduate with a French diploma (rather than an international one), which will position him well for the job market there. It has been demanding, requiring technical know-how in data science, machine learning, C++ programming, among others, and French. However, Johnson believes he has been well prepared for testing environments by HKUST’s drive for high performance and his experiences as an Engineering Student Ambassador, which taught him how to build connections with people of all ages and backgrounds and “present myself in ways that best t a circumstance”. In France, he has tackled and succeeded in taking highly di cult mathematics classes in relation to engineering. One class on propulsive systems in aeronautics has been taught by a senior engineer at Safran. He is gaining further understanding of industry practices through case studies, internship, and a site visit to Airbus. “Students in Asia usually dig deep into a major,” Johnson pointed out. “What is also valued in France is an engineer equipped with necessary skills in multiple domains, the ingénieur généraliste.” In addition, Johnson’s proactive approach has seen him step well beyond the lecture hall during his time in France. He has taken the opportunity to try out horse riding and boxing, join a choir, and participate in the international students club. Alongside, he has “invested a lot of time” in improving his French, making impressive progress which he credits to the HKUST environment and in particular the SENG ambassador scheme with its emphasis on being 27 IN FOCUS proactive, hardworking, and reaching out to talk to people. This has prepared him for his second-year studies and greater integration into the community, while enabling him to share more about Hong Kong with the people he meets. Meanwhile, Roy, having established a career in UX design at companies such as Microso and DBS, recently found himself seeking to widen his capabilities by updating his data literacy in readiness to move to the next career level. Thriving in new situations and able to present himself and his ideas with greater resonance following his undergraduate days and time as a student ambassador at SENG, Roy discovered France was home to some of the world’s top programs in the data science eld. He decided to take a break from the workplace, and applied for the Yersin scholarship in . He is now a Master of Science in Big Data and Business Analytics student at ESCP Business School, based in Paris but sometimes visiting the school’s campuses in other major cities in Europe. The course is enabling him to take on board programming languages useful for data analysis and machine learning, such as Python, R, and SQL, and discover how businesses in Europe are transforming themselves in the big data era. Moreover, in his rst semester, Roy became part of a winning hackathon team, creating a natural language processing solution for a US-based company to analyze public sentiment, with a proposal for action based on social media data insights. In his rst semester, Roy became part of a winning hackathon team, creating a natural language processing solution for a US-based company This achievement, along with positive feedback from the company, has given him con dence that he is heading “in the right direction in my career”. Residing in France has also generated fresh perspectives on dealing with the “new normal” despite initial worries about coping with student life during the on-going COVID global health challenge. In fact, the new normal has provided both the topic for Roy’s thesis on the use of data to re ne remote working in post-pandemic times and an appreciation of how people in France have upheld their quality of life amid the health crisis through their attitude of “living fully”, he noted. Both alumni felt that their years at HKUST had set them on their way to coping with future challenges, moving forward in life, and being willing to grasp opportunities – such as studying in France. “My advice to current students is to enrich your life experiences and expand your horizons,” Roy said. “They will become a great source of creative inspiration in the years to come.” Taking a break from the workplace, Roy Chung Ming-Hin is enjoying being a student at ESCP Business School in Paris, where he is updating his knowledge in big data and business analytics.