Gao Shusong, SPA Fall 2012
Gao Shushong was a participant in the Global Education and Training (GET) unit's Fall 2012 Specialized Program for Administrators (SPA). At the time, Shushong was Manager of the Investment Banking Department at the Zhejiang branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and had been employed by ICBC for 5 years. The three-phase SPA ran from August 2012 to June 2013, and included an 11-week practicum with UIUC faculty and American businesses, including Caterpillar, State Farm, Chase Bank, and the Illinois Banker's Association.
Shushong now heads the Department of Investment Banking at an ICBC branch in Spain. He has been at the branch for nearly 3 years, and has had time to reflect on how his experiences in the GET SPA helped him progress to his current position. At the beginnning of the SPA, Shushong stated that his goals were to improve his interpersonal skills in a multi-national environment, progress his English language skills, enhance his knowledge in Finance and Administration, and increase his knowledge about American culture. When asked whether he felt he met each goal, Shushong said:
"Frankly speaking, the most important achievement in the SPA is the English communication ability in a multi-cultural working environment. At UIUC, I took advantage of the highly diversified composition of the students and faculties. The vast opportunities of exchanging ideas with these people from different countries and regions increased my response speed and communication ability a lot in English. The work in Spain is a very complex environment in terms of language. So the training did provide me a solid foundation or preparation for working in Spain. In my daily work, a lot of work relates to analyzing and directing. So the knowledge in Finance and Administration enhanced in the program helps me to make everything smoother."
Shushong remembers time management being a challenging aspect of the SPA with its assortment of diverse activities and challenging classes, but he found a simple solution: "I have to sleep less to experience and learn more." It was time well-spent, as Shushong believes knowledge about American culture and his experiences during the program were key factors in making him the right fit for a position in an overseas ICBC branch with global networking goals.
When asked to name enjoyable aspects of his time in the program, Shushong said there were too many to name, but two stood out: the attentiveness of the GET staff, and socializing with friends. "The arrangement of the learning program and on-site executive visiting were excellent, which ensured the quality of the program. [And] I really enjoy the discussion with the friends invited by Jerry and me to our apartment at Orchard Downs. Many evenings were full of laughter in the room, and that is really a wonderful moment."