By CHEN SIDA
Global Business Journalism reporter
Tsinghua University students in the Corporate Strategies course traded their classroom discussions for a series of high-level meetings at Bloomberg LP, the world’s leading financial data and news company.
The students met with seven employees in the Bloomberg Beijing office, including Helen He, Chair of the China Office Committee and Head of External Relations for Greater China. The group also met with the China research head for BloombergNEF and five staff from Bloomberg News – two of whom are alumni of the same Global Business Journalism (GBJ) graduate program that most of the students are enrolled in. “Each of them came from different backgrounds, bringing unique life experiences to the table and making for an interesting mix,” said Michelle Ng, an exchange student from Singapore in GBJ program.
The Tsinghua GBJ alumni who now work for Bloomberg News in Beijing include Lucille Liu, a reporter on the economy/government beat, who spoke about the challenges and thrill of covering the world’s second-biggest economy amid an era of geopolitical tensions. She also talked about work-life balance as a mother of a young child. Another GBJ grad now at Bloomberg News is Shuiyu Jing. She told the students about her career path that began seven years ago at the China Daily newspaper, with a change in 2020 to Bloomberg, a company that has about 2,500 editorial and research staff among more than 20,000 employees worldwide. Jing, like Lucille Liu, is the parent of a young child.
Cassie Huang, a second-year master's student from the Tsinghua School of Social Science, found Jing's experience enlightening for her future career planning. In fact, the student stuck around for an extra hour after the rest of the group left to have a private conversation with her new Bloomberg mentor and friend.
“I was most impressed by what Jing shared because her experience is a little bit similar to mine,” said Huang, who works full time while still studying at China’s top-ranked university.
The visit to Bloomberg Beijing is a tradition for Tsinghua’s GBJ students since 2007, with groups coming virtually every semester. The aim is for students to experience real-world conditions in a global company, and have a chance to engage with experienced executives like Helen He, who has been a journalist, public relations executive at Burson-Marsteller and, for the past decade, a key manager at Bloomberg, during which time she’s had frequent meetings with company founder/owner.
“People are surprised when I meet with Mike Bloomberg and show no fear,” said He, with a laugh. “I ask them back, ‘why should I be afraid?’ When you deal with CEOs, they want the truth so they can make informed decisions.” Helen He’s engaging discussion resonated deeply with the students. Beryl Zhou, a first-year master's student from the Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication (TSJC), was impressed by the executive’s willingness to take risks and embrace new challenges: “She tried several different careers and changed companies, and finally came to Bloomberg."
The seven mentors also reflected varying backgrounds, with four from China and one each from Australia, the US and Canada. The students’ American professor, Lee Miller, has a dual role, having been one of the founding GBJ faculty dating back to the program’s start at Tsinghua in 2007 as well as a senior editor and reporter at Bloomberg News since 1991. The visit that lasted nearly four hours – almost double the normal class time of the Corporate Strategies course – and culminated with a stop in Bloomberg’s TV studio, where each student had the chance to take photos while sitting in the broadcast-anchor chair, as if they were delivering news to a global audience. The whole experience was “unique,” said Shirley Chen, a first-year GBJ student from Canada.