AUT hosted an alumni event in Guangzhou on 8th July 2019, a southern Chinese city with a population of over 14 million people.
Chinese great graduates travelled from as far afield as Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing to attend the networking evening at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Guangzhou, alongside dignitaries from the business and government sectors.
Over 10,000 Chinese students have now graduated from AUT, and international alumni events provide opportunities for alumni to strengthen the ties between one another and AUT while also building relationships with industry and government leaders. Alumni have the potential to be major ambassadors for the university's reputation and recruitment.
Director International Relations Lester Khoo says the event was a great opportunity for AUT to be the first university to hold an alumni event in Guangzhou, especially given the success and influence of AUT's alumni in this rapidly growing city.
"An AUT education has taken these young and successful alumni very far, they are proud to have received a quality education in a safe and inclusive environment and now want to give back," he said.
Alumni shared their AUT stories throughout the evening, which featured food created by the hotel's Executive Chef and great graduate, Jonathan Shea. Renee Pan, a graduate who is now the managing director of a start-up accelerator in Guangzhou, was inspired to see AUT engage with its Chinese graduates and cherished the opportunity to learn more about where the university is going. She attributes her time at AUT as a major contributor to her career success. "Studying at AUT prepared me for the real world; it helped me get to where I am today," she said.
Both Richard Dunsheath, Trade Commissioner Southern China for NZTE, and Professor Nigel Hemmington, AUT Pro Vice Chancellor, spoke on the educational ties and business links between New Zealand and China.
Phil Pan, a business school graduate who now works in private banking, was one of many attendees who wanted to personally sponsor future alumni events in China. "I would love to support my university in any way," he said. To top off a great evening, attendees received a gift bag with a copy of Insight Magazine, an annual publication showcasing the impact of AUT, its alumni and industry partners.
This event was a joint venture collaboration between AUT and Education New Zealand, and was held on the first stop of an International Relations visit to partners in China including Guangdong University of Technology, Sichuan University in Chengdu, North West Polytechnic University in Xi'an and Xi'an Jiatong University.