When La Trobe University alumnus Jill Tang returned to her home country of China after studying in Australia, she learnt some important lessons about resettlement.
“It was like a reverse culture-shock,” Jill explains. “I was excited and confident about coming back home with my Australian experiences, but my expectations were different to my reality due to eight years away from home.”
Jill says it took time to find relevant contacts in the Chinese job market, as well as re-connect with her peers.
With these challenges in mind, she decided to start her own support network for returning graduates in Shanghai. This developed into CareerXFactor, an online platform dedicated to offering career advice, job opportunities and networking events to returning Chinese students and expatriates.
After launching the platform in 2015, Jill now leads a team of seven people providing an in-demand service to hundreds of young professionals hoping to develop their careers in China.
She continues to apply the lessons she learnt while studying a Bachelor of Commerce at La Trobe.
“I went from being lost to exploring and discovering,” Jill says. “I realised that my global mindset, combined with my understanding of the local market and people, could help me succeed.”
Jill has further established her entrepreneurial skills with TheBrewGirl – an innovative start-up company celebrating local craft beer and its female devotees. Alongside her friend and co-founder, Jill organises pop-up craft beer events around Shanghai supporting local Chinese micro-breweries.
For budding entrepreneurs, Jill has plenty of advice. “Being an entrepreneur is not just a fancy term, it can be a really lonely and difficult path to follow,” she says. “Therefore, you need absolute passion to start something you believe in. After you have the passion, launching an MVP (minimal viable product) as soon as possible is key. Don’t wait – you can always pivot or improve it after launching. Also, watch your cash flow and don’t overly rely on investor’s money.”
Jill remains connected to La Trobe, and will be taking part in the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations in Shanghai as part of World La Trobe Week in August.
“The experience at La Trobe was the most enjoyable for me because I got the full student life and campus experience. So not only from an academic perspective was it great, but it also gave me the global outlook I am applying to my work now.”