Before moving to Beijing, I worked in Brussels for the UK government on a host of issues, including EU-China relations. Currently, I am working for a strategic risk and communications advisory firm supporting Chinese companies going global.
At the CTC-YCW Mentorship program in Beijing, we have paired up-and-coming China-watchers from the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre with experienced mentors in the city. The 2017-2018 cohort can be summarised in two words: change makers. In a city that is alive with ideas, hopes, and dreams it has been an honour to facilitate the creation of such an impressive group of people.
The thing that has struck me the most this year is the concept of time. I have had the honour of spending a lot of it with incredibly successful people. Some always seem to be in a hurry to outrun the natural constraints it has on all of us, others seem to have a time zone of their own.
Traditionally, things in China have been planned and implemented for the long-term, but everything today seems to be on fast-forward. The mentality is if you don’t do it first, you are last. But as the country switches focus from fast to quality growth this is likely to lead to a return to the traditional mentality. This reminds me of the best and most frequent advice I have received: do something you enjoy, be the best at it, and success will follow in due course.