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Mok Wai Hin, Peter

(MBA 1987)

A Ferryman for Entrepreneurs

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Chu Tai Wo, John

(MBA 1974)

A Shepherd Who Leads with "Heart"

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Chiu Ha, Evonne

(EMBA 2010)

The Art of Perseverance

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Angela Fung

(BSc in Quantitative Finance 2009)

A Financial Professional Aiming to Serve the Community

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Rocky Kam

(BBA in Hotel and Tourism Management 2003)

Life is Like a Cup of Coffee

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28 August 2017




The Art of Perseverance

Evonne Chiu (EMBA 2010) is the General Manager, Corporate Division of Banco Nacional Ultramarino, S.A. in Macau. BNU has transitioned from a quasi-state-owned bank into a commercial bank, offering various banking services to support local business activities including the six gambling enterprises in Macau. Two years ago, she established the CUHK Alumni Association in Macau and assumed the role of its Executive Director. By doing this, she hopes to gather the strength of CUHK’s alumni to give back to society. Like her name in Chinese, Chiu Ha, Evonne is like the dawn, constantly radiating positive energy and hope.

Evonne (middle) completes the EMBA Program in 2010. She celebrates the moment with her cohort in regalia.

Bouncing Between Two Cities Fosters Perseverance

Evonne was born and raised in Macau. Travelling to Hong Kong weekly to attend the CUHK EMBA programme was not the most relaxing experience. “Every Friday I finished work early at 4 p.m. and then rushed to the pier to go to Hong Kong for the 6 p.m. class. On most days, I was already soaked with sweat by the time I boarded the ferry.” To thank the bank for its support, she worked through her lunch break to make up for finishing early. On Friday night, she spent the night at a friend’s home. It was followed by a full day of classes on Saturday before she returned to Macau in the evening. For two straight years, Evonne worked against the clock to balance her academic and professional life.

Although Evonne has been receiving English-language education from a young age, it did not deter her interest in Chinese culture and history. Having witnessed the rise of China as an economic power, she realised that acquiring an understanding of China was essential. She was drawn to CUHK for its focus on Chinese heritage and the curriculum that covered I Ching. Her classmates came from a diverse background and all walks of life. Through exchange in group projects, Evonne learnt to assess matters repeatedly from different angles, a skill essential to her banking work that requires caution and precision.

Evonne (4th from right) goes on an exchange trip to Switzerland with her EMBA classmates

Transition into Commercial Banking to Witness the Boom of Macau

Evonne has overcome one professional hurdle after another thanks to her perseverance. Her employer Banco Nacional Ultramarino was the first bank of Macau, and it has been the bank of notes issuer and the Agent of the Treasury of the government. After the handover, the bank shared its duties with Bank of China and set to strengthen its role as a commercial bank. As the head of branch business at that time, Evonne was part of the team that pioneered the transition.

“To turn a group of office workers into a sales team responsible for actively seeking business opportunities was easier said than done.” On one hand, Evonne counselled her colleagues to cope with the change. On the other hand, in order to meet the goals set by the bank, she made trips with branch managers to businesses of all sizes in search for partnership opportunities. “Besides offering incentives, it’s important to let my colleagues know someone always has their back.”

The Banco Nacional Ultramarino team participates in a dragon boat competition. Evonne (back row, 5th from right), as General Manager of Corporate Division, revels in victory.

In 2002, the government’s decision to open the gambling market shifted the paradigm in an unprecedented manner. It also presented a new challenge to Evonne, who was then responsible for banking business development. “I was the first bank representative to develop various banking services for foreign gambling companies and the bank was involved in several massive syndicated loans.” These days the annual gambling revenue of Macau is six or seven times of Las Vegas in the United States. In the first quarter of this year alone, the gambling revenue reached MOP$63 billion. One can only imagine the work that falls on to Evonne and her team.

Evonne (7th from right) and the Executive Committee of the CUHK Alumni Association in Macau return to their alma mater. They meet with CUHK Vice-Chancellor Professor Joseph Sung (7th from left) and Alumni Affairs Office Director Mr. Daniel Cheng (far right)

Gather Strength to Pass on Knowledge

Evonne used to think that knowledge was gold, but it could only benefit herself. She was later inspired by CUHK EMBA Program Director Professor Andrew Chan during her studies. She understood that many would benefit if she passed on her knowledge and gave back to the community. Therefore, she founded the CUHK Alumni Association in Macau with two other graduates two years ago to leverage on the CUHK alumni network and contribute to society.

Every year, dozens of Macau students come to Hong Kong to study. Many of them become CUHK graduates. Most of these alumni prefer to keep a low profile and work tirelessly. As the Executive Director of the alumni association, Evonne and other members contacted fellow alumni one by one with the help of their alma mater. The alumni association has gradually found its feet and reached a membership of over 50 strong. Over the past two years, it held many formal and informal activities including talks, Spring receptions, and hikes. For the CUHK Hong Kong Macau Rowing Expedition, it received the assistance of the Immigration Department to process the contestants in an unusual way, by allowing them to enter directly on a beach where the activity was being held.

Evonne (far right), a culinary enthusiast, and her Portuguese husband Jose (2nd from right) run a Portuguese restaurant together in Macau Central.

With Determination, No Mountain Is Too High

Besides working on alumni association matters, Evonne is an avid cook operating a Portuguese restaurant in Macau Central with her husband in her spare time. Lacking experience in the food and beverage industry, they took over the restaurant by chance and learnt to run it the hard way. Their hard work and dedication paid off when the restaurant emerged as one of the hotspots for Portuguese in Macau. In addition to applying their management skills to restaurant operation, the couple is also hands-on in practice. Evonne sources the ingredients herself to ensure the quality and quantity of food are consistent.

On a normal day, Evonne gets up at 6 a.m. and jogs for an hour before work. It keeps her mind sharp for her meticulous banking job. On training newcomers, she thinks young people must possess a strong sense of responsibility. “Because banking isn’t just a business about money. It’s also about people. Customers put their money in our bank not because we offer better interest rates but because they trust us and expect us to manage their wealth properly.”

Constant dripping wears away a stone not for its force but persistence. It is a philosophy that echoes with that of Evonne.

Video —— Messages from Our Alumni



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