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Year of the Tiger Finds Viterbi School’s Shanghai Office Roaring with Life

Led by alumnus Christopher Leung and powered by interns from top Chinese universities, USC engineering has its feet on the ground in mainland China
Eric Mankin
February 17, 2010 —

Chris Leung
Chris Leung
Last fall, in a ceremony attended by numerous high-level USC administrators, including Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos and Associate Dean Kelly Goulis, the University of Southern California officially opened an office in Shanghai, China (a joint venture of the Viterbi School of Engineering, the Marshall School of Business, and the USC Globalization Office). In just a few short months, the Shanghai office has significantly increased awareness of the university across mainland China.

The USC China office from its founding has included representation from the Viterbi School, led by alumnus Chris Leung. He returned to Los Angeles on February 16 to visit the USC campus to review the past year’s accomplishments (including a significant increase in top quality graduate Chinese applications from the previous fall), and to coordinate efforts to make the Year of the Tiger an influential one for the Viterbi School’s continued growth in China.

Leung’s primary role as Director of the China Office is to increase awareness of the Viterbi School among Chinese students, particularly outstanding ones who might seek graduate study in engineering at USC as well as to reconnect Viterbi alumni with the school. Chris works closely with the Viterbi Office of Master’s and Professional Programs (MAPP), led by Goulis, in these recruitment efforts.

“As a recent graduate from the Viterbi School, Chris is in a unique position to talk about his experience as a Master’s student and the high quality programs we offer at USC,” explained Goulis.

Team Shanghai: Fall interns: Michael Wang, Jeanie Ge, Leung, Amy Li, Richard Li

Leung is increasing awareness of the School in China by two main routes. First are Master’s and PhD Prospective Student Information Sessions, events to which students are invited to meet Viterbi representatives, USC alumni, and fellow graduate applicants. In 2009, he organized a number of these sessions in key areas in China, including Shanghai and Beijing. For the Year of the Tiger, Leung is looking forward to planning more info sessions and increasing student attendance at these events.

Second, Leung and a hardworking group of interns took advantage of a popular online Chinese digital networking system, the “BBS” or bulletin board system, set up by individual universities to allow students to share information with one another through an online forum. In addition to using new digital media to promote the Viterbi School in China, Leung is planning for another set of interns to join the Shanghai office team in the upcoming weeks.

“Our interns in the Shanghai office help us guide and implement our recruiting initiatives, and most importantly, help us to better understand China and what students are looking for in an international education experience.”

Shanghai skyline
Additional events planned for China in 2010

  • Welcome receptions throughout China to greet students newly admitted to the Master’s programs. These events will take place in March and April in: Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Xi'an, Nanjing, and Guangzhou, and will be an opportunity for students to find out more about life at USC, meet alumni, and get enough information to help them make their final decision about coming to USC. Professor Joe Qin and MAPP Marketing & Recruitment Manager Laura Hartman will join Leung as representatives from the Viterbi School.
  • Coming soon: April 1-3, a faculty exchange between Tsinghua University and Viterbi.
  • "Send-off" events for incoming Chinese students to prepare them for their arrival in the United States by giving them useful information such as housing resources, transportation in Los Angeles, and what resources are available on the USC campus. These events will also give new students a chance to make friends with fellow classmates before they arrive in the U.S., and give them a chance to meet and talk to alumni for any last-minute advice.
  • Fall information sessions to be held in October 2010 in various cities in China for prospective students. These sessions will provide information about USC, the Viterbi School, the Master’s and Ph.D degree programs and the application process.
  • Alumni events to be organized and held throughout China in the coming months.