A Global Campus: Networking in China
Fuqua's Regional Director for China Karen Courtney with Jonathan Chou in Beijing.
July 21, 2009
By Elizabeth Michalka — This article was originally published in the alumni magazine Team Fuqua.
It's been said that it takes a village to raise a child — and it will take a series of villages around the world to build a global business school. Around the globe, Fuqua's proponents are rallying to support the school's mission, and Jonathan Chou (Global Executive '99) is leading the charge in China .
Chou, a Chinese American, has spent more than half his life in Asia. He is Chief Financial Officer for American Dairy, Inc., a leading producer and distributor of infant milk formula in China. In April, Chou was named one of the top 10 CFOs of 2008 in China by CFO World Magazine.
Chou's intimate familiarity with the region and his professional and personal connections are proving invaluable to Fuqua's expansion there, and he has become a trusted colleague — and friend — of Dean Blair Sheppard.
"It's critical for us to have leaders like Jonathan on our side," said Sheppard. "Fuqua's global expansion is an enormous effort, and it requires the support of the school's entire network of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Our alumni are particularly vital to our becoming the world's first legitimately global business school, and we've been fortunate that people like Jonathan allow us to tap into their expertise and their in-depth knowledge about the regions we are entering."
Whenever Sheppard visits China, Chou makes an effort to see him, and offers assistance.
"I just do whatever I can to help," Chou said. "Sometimes I provide feedback and advice, or I connect Blair with people I know. Sometimes I just act as a sounding board."
Chou, 44, has worn many hats in support of Fuqua: he contributes to the Annual Fund , he helps organize Fuqua events held in China, he informally recruits students, and last year he founded a Duke alumni club in Shanghai . Most of his volunteer efforts are aimed toward increasing awareness of Duke and toward supporting Duke alumni in the region.
"Duke is not as well known in Asia as it is in other parts of the world," Chou said. "But I've noticed that has been changing in recent years. I've started to see Fuqua ads in English newspapers here, so people are becoming more aware of the brand."
Chou explained that education is extremely important in Chinese culture, and he believes there's a great amount of interest in having a top school like Fuqua in China.
"From what I understand about the China campus, it will be unique, highly visible, and in a convenient location with access to mass transportation," Chou said. "Those are all elements that are important for the success of the school here."
Chou said he fully supports the strategy behind the expansion, and hopes to lend even more help toward the effort.
"There are a growing number of Fuqua alumni here in China, and the more we come together, the more we can support Fuqua's global efforts," Chou said.