International business student seizes opportunities

Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

- Krista Boehnert

George Fu, an international student from Guangzhou, China, is graduating with his Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Gustavson School of Business. Fu took part in the school’s dual degree program which allowed him to begin his academic career at his home university of Sun Yat Sen before moving to Victoria to complete his degrees.

As with many international students, there was the language barrier issue. “People have different personalities in their second language. The second language kills it to some extent, you can’t show your full personality, because you can’t explain yourself. It’s a challenge that you have to deal with,” he explains.

In China, Fu co-founded the Toastmasters speaking club at his university. “I practised a lot, but language was still a barrier. And then I came here and practised for two years. It definitely helped me with the job interview process,” he adds. And the interview process has gone well for Fu. Even before he inked his last exam, he accepted a financial analyst position with Shell in Calgary where he will be starting in July.

Fu couldn’t be more happy and is thankful that UVic gave him such a varied skill set. He encourages his fellow international students to capitalize on all the opportunities made available to them during their studies. “Don’t be shy. Be more active, get involved and take yourself outside of your comfort zone.”

Fu completed two co-op work terms as part of his degree which he credits with helping to develop his varied skill set. He also got the chance to live in two of Canada’s biggest cities, spending eight months at Toronto’s Hydro One, the largest electricity provider in Ontario, and four months at Calgary’s Mark’s Work Wearhouse apparel company. As a commercial contract specialist for Hydro One, Fu was the first reader of all contracts coming in to Hydro One. “The first couple of weeks it was really hard. Even in Chinese I wouldn’t necessarily know what all the jargon meant, but it’s in English. So I studied, summarized all the terms and memorized them.”

While at Mark’s Work Wearhouse managing a supply chain database, Fu compiled and analyzed data. This gave him the chance to practise his strategic thinking. Fu says that he thrives on a balance of analysis and communication. “You can be a really good presenter but without knowing anything about business, it’s useless,” Fu explains. “Being purely analytical is also useless because you can’t elaborate on your findings. You have to get a thorough business understanding and then take the internal knowledge and understanding you know you have, and communicate it to others.”

Fu is looking forward to starting his career and reflects on his time at Gustavson. “Two years ago I was a Chinese student who knew nothing about Canada or Western culture; my English wasn’t good. Gustavson was a steep learning curve, but the university gives you the resources and the room to progress. I still have a long journey to go, in terms of my personal goals for working in international business, but UVic helped me a lot on the way.”


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Keywords: international, commerce, grad

People: George Fu

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