How and why did two accomplished global citizens, who were born in Shanghai and educated in the United States, come together to set up the Jane Sun and John Wu Sunshine Award? The Award supports entrepreneurial-minded National University of Singapore (NUS) students to participate in the NUS Overseas Colleges programme in China.
Shortly after graduation, Ms Jane Sun’s and Mr John Wu’s paths crossed in Silicon Valley, where she was working in KPMG as an Audit Manager while he was a Development Manager at IT giant Oracle. Ms Sun has since joined China’s leading travel service enterprise Ctrip, and is now its chief operating officer, while Mr Wu is the co-founder and chairman of F & H Fund Management, a Singapore-based leading private equity firm. He is well-known for holding the US patent for the core technology used in Yahoo!’s search engines as one of Yahoo!’s founding members.
Fast forward to 20 years later, the two highly-successful individuals are happily married with two lovely daughters. After having achieved great success in their illustrious careers, they both share a common goal – to give back to society through education, with particular emphasis on helping international students gain cross-cultural perspectives and learn from the world.
“When I was studying in the US, I stayed with a professor and his family, who were extremely kind to me. When I wanted to repay them, they told me to help other students instead. So just like the way they invested in me, I want to invest in other students,” Ms Sun explains. Ever since then, Ms Sun’s dream is to help other international students in similar ways. She even named her first daughter after the professor’s wife.
As the Chief Operating Officer of Ctrip, Ms Sun strongly believes that students have to travel and work overseas to gain an international perspective. Ctrip prefers to employ young people who are bilingual and culturally sensitive.
“Bilingualism is an important skill that Singaporean students have. If they keep an open mind, venture out to see the world, and become well-versed in both Western and Chinese cultures, they will have great success in their future careers,” says Ms Sun.
On igniting the entrepreneurial spirit in Singaporean students, Ms Sun advises, “If these students have the opportunity to meet and work with successful and inspirational entrepreneurs in China, I am sure their minds will open up to greater possibilities.”
Ms Sun hopes that the Jane Sun and John Wu Sunshine Award can not only support diligent students with ambition and drive for multinational business, but also pave the way for more collaborations between Singapore and China. She and her husband also wish to see a giving attitude in recipients. “These kids may be very diligent and academically excellent, but we want them to have open hearts and a giving spirit, to one day help their juniors in the future.”
And Ms Sun’s recipe for success is, “Be very diligent and always aim to be the best in your field. Intelligence may be inherited but wisdom comes with a learning spirit, and opportunity only comes to those who seek it.”
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