Zilong Chen (MSc ITM 2021): Putting Human Touch to Tech Solutions in the Forefront of China’s “Silicon Valley”

The booming technology industry has made leading Internet companies a Mecca for graduates. Freshly graduated from the CUHK Business School, Zilong Chen (MSc ITM 2021) joined ByteDance as Lark Digital Consultant. Rather than resting on his laurels, the young IT professional is in constant pursuit of creating value for the industry and the society through technology-driven solutions.


Human-Oriented Internet Industry

An active participant in student union and activities throughout his school life, Zilong Chen believes that interpersonal communication is the key to problem-solving. With his academic and professional backgrounds, including four years in software engineering, Chen recognises the importance of hard skills development in professional growth without ignoring other aspects of his trade. “Skills are undeniably important, but to me the more intriguing part of them is their application – how am I to unleash their value in real life?” With this in mind, he developed award-winning tools to support school administration, which enriched his hands-on experience.

Chen’s understanding of leading industry players and programmers differs from stereotypic associations. In his current capacity in ByteDance, Chen has to think beyond technical boundaries to cover also interpersonal and organisational factors, which gives him an intuitive grasp of clients’ needs in different application scenarios. As a freshman, Chen is still acclimatising himself to challenges, particularly in developing sophisticated solutions of high quality. The pressure of it, however, is constructive not least because it pushes forward his quest for possibilities as he seeks enthusiastically to grow with his clients.

A Learning Platform Powered by the Greater Bay Area

Born and raised in the Greater Bay Area, Zilong Chen is still impressed by the dynamic of the region, Shenzhen in particular. “Young people with different cultural backgrounds come together and contribute to the vibrancy and inclusivity of the city, which in turn makes China’s ‘Silicon Valley’ possible.” He believes that everybody can learn from people around them – this principle works particularly well in a vibrant workplace. Discussion with colleagues therefore becomes an important part in his problem-solving strategy. Through the process, he wishes to consolidate the width and depth of his own thinking and his ability to drive organisational synergy. “As opposed to the toC industry, toB businesses thrive on the accumulation of experience in delivering solutions to a diverse clientele. In this regard, Shenzhen and leading industry players offer an ideal starting point.” On the way forward, he has set his heart on enriching his industry knowledge and experience to pursue an entrepreneurial dream in the Greater Bay Area.



Teachers as Friends in CUHK

The pandemic has interrupted Zilong Chen’s campus life in CUHK, where he spent only two months on face-to-face lectures and tutorial classes. The lack of opportunities to admire the natural beauty of the campus and connect with classmates is particularly regretful for him. Nevertheless, the online learning experience was still rewarding. “The memory of Prof Wu Jing sharing his experience in Bitcoin investment during his PhD study is still fresh, while Prof Dia Xianchi’s lessons on Behavioural Decision Theory have inspired me to relate myself to clients and people around me. Ms Jacqueline Wong’s subversive pedagogic approach, on the other hand, has spurred me on towards proactive learning.” The experience, according to Chen, has facilitated the convergence of his professional skills and business communication while encouraging him to look at life and work from the perspective of humanity.


Zilong Chen returned to the CUHK campus for graduation phots. He wishes to continue his exploration and forge a brighter future with his new identity as an alumnus.

Zilong Chen advises aspirant alumni eyeing on the tech industry to equip themselves with new knowledge. It is also important to think beyond the hard skills and mechanics in the digital context and hone their interpersonal skills. After all, skills are not the ends – they are only a means to unlock possibilities.