Carmen Law and Nicholas Poon joined Hang Lung in 2006 and 2010 respectively as Management Trainees. Although both of them graduated from university abroad, they both coincidentally paid particular attention to job opportunities that could offer them experience in the Chinese market, hence their decision to apply for the Hang Lung Management Trainee Program.
Carmen, the more senior of the two Management Trainees, has worked in five different departments, including Investor Relations, Project Management, Property Sales, and Leasing and Management, and is currently posted to the Customer Franchise team. She studied biomedical engineering at university, which seems completely unrelated to the real estate business. She says, “The rigorous and all-round academic training in biomedical engineering has enabled me to handle the different types of work in various departments with ease. Meanwhile, the rotation between teams has given me a deep and comprehensive understanding of the industry.”
Leveraging her operational knowledge of the company’s different departments and her foundation in biomedical engineering, Carmen recently participated in a “Data Journey” project for the analysis of big data. The now completed project aimed to improve business processes and decision-making using data analysis. “Data analysis can help us better understand our customers and improve our operating model. I’m very honored to have participated in this project, and also happy to see that the company is further strengthening the application of technology,” she says excitedly.
With the company’s support, Carmen obtained a Master’s degree in business administration from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2014. She still had to go to Tianjin frequently for work during her studies. That period holds a lot of memories for her. As she had just transferred to the Project Management Department at the time, there was a lot of architectural knowledge and jargon that she had absolutely no knowledge of. She needed to learn a lot from scratch, all the while keeping up with her studies after work, which almost overwhelmed her. She laughs and recalls, “Looking back now, it was crazy, because I often had to travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland. I went to work on the Mainland during the week and rushed back to Hong Kong to attend classes on the weekends. I hardly had any time to rest. But I think it was very worthwhile.”
Carmen’s most unforgettable experience is the official opening of Riverside 66 in Tianjin in 2014. “Seeing an empty construction site transformed into a beautiful building indeed gives you a sense of accomplishment. Coincidentally, I completed my MBA at the same time, so it was like having two babies in one year!”
Nicholas, another Management Trainee Program graduate, recalls that he had the opportunity to work in several places, such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Shenyang, during his training. He went on to take part in preparing for the opening of Riverside 66 in Tianjin and Olympia 66 in Dalian upon completing the program. Reflecting on the project openings he says, “I find the night before the opening of Riverside 66 the most memorable. We checked the premises with the directors overnight and made final adjustments to the shops’ furnishings and enclosures. The spirit of unity among the team was almost palpable. As for the opening of Olympia 66 in Dalian, the number of onlookers was totally beyond our expectations. I felt as if the whole city was eagerly anticipating its opening.”
He points out that working in various cities on the Mainland has allowed him to get acquainted with colleagues from different regions and backgrounds. In addition to learning from them, he also gained an understanding of the culture of different places. “I’m very grateful that the company provided me with diverse job opportunities which enabled me to grow and improve,” he says earnestly.
Entering his tenth year of working at Hang Lung, Nicholas frankly acknowledges that what he appreciates most is Hang Lung’s emphasis on strategic thinking and team-wide communication. He remarks, “The company develops projects, actively manages properties, and holds real estate for the long term on the Mainland. We ensure that each team understands the company’s business strategy and goals from planning all the way through to implementation, so that everyone can work together to overcome various difficulties and challenges while keeping each project running smoothly. I find the entire process very fulfilling.”
As Hang Lung Group prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary, Nicholas has been promoted to Deputy General Manager of Center 66 in Wuxi. Meanwhile, apart from becoming a mother for the first time, Carmen’s role within the company has expanded to marketing and customer relationship management. They are both looking forward to growing together with Hang Lung and reaching more milestones.