On the afternoon of June 9, 2018, an international education forum themed “Abilities for multi-dimensional growth” held by HSBC attracted more than 300 audience members to the heart of Shanghai.
In the opening remarks, Richard Li, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management (RBWM) for HSBC in China, stressed the importance of helping children see the bigger world, in which they’ll no longer be limited to the isolated space they were once confined to.
The forum was also joined by senior executives in charge of RBWM business for HSBC in the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada and Singapore, respectively, to further discuss issues concerning international education.
Choosing to study abroad is an obvious trend nowadays seen in Chinese families. According to Trista Sun, the bank’s Group Head of Overseas Chinese and International Business, 4.6 million students globally are studying overseas every year, and the number never stops growing. “Since we have the philosophy of following our customers’ needs, we prioritize education in our services, as our international network covers all of the top 10 destinations of international education,” said Sun.
Besides the quality of education and financial expenditures , cultural barriers are often a key consideration for international students, as studying abroad also means living abroad. “I think the bond between a great education and great cultural diversity is very important,”said Larry Tomei, RBWM Head for HSBC in Canada.
Another noticeable trend shows there is a rising number of Chinese parents sending their children abroad for secondary¬¬ or even primary school. Stuart Haire, Head of RBWM for HSBC in the UK, agreed embarking on a foreign journey at a younger age may help children adapt to a new culture in a progressive way but it should be really a choice of the parents in terms of what suits their children best.
But is studying abroad worthwhile after all? “It merely depends on how you define the ‘worthwhile’. For me, the worth is not how much my children earn or how difficult the degrees they are doing are. If they are passionate about what they do and make contributions, I am getting a ‘return of investment’,” said Graham Heunis, Head of RBWM for HSBC in Australia.
A recent survey by HSBC on “value of education” found that exposure to new experiences, ideas and culture, as well as gaining independence, are seen by parents around the world as the main benefits of children completing an overseas university education.
The survey also found that while the global artificial intelligence revolution is in full swing, Chinese parents are the most upbeat about the impact that new technology will have on their children’s lives.
“A common challenge for all jobs is that they will change tremendously in the future due to artificial intelligence. So basically, in order not to lose competitiveness, you can’t stop learning - even after graduation. Consequently, students should choose an area in which they have passion and are willing to keep learning,” Anurag Mathur, Head of RBWM for HSBC in Singapore, explained.
This also echoes what Li said during the forum that the abilities for multi-dimensional growth - including analytical, critical thinking and communication skills - compose the skill set required for life-long learning.
Pablo Sanchez, the bank’s Regional Head of RBWM for North America, added that when at a job interview, hiring managers often put curiosity, learning agility, the sense of urgency to get things done, and the willingness to get out of one’s comfort zone high on the scoring sheet for an applicant.
In the end, Sun suggested that parents must know their children well enough before sending them outside their motherland. Are they prepared? Are they independent enough? Moreover, no matter how popular it’s getting, going abroad for further education is still a big decision, so families must plan as early as possible.