Inaugural “Conversation with the Vice Chancellor”

Nov 12 2013

NYU Shanghai kicked off its “Conversations with the Vice Chancellor” series on November 12, with featured guests Wang Shi and Dr. Wang Jian.  The events, moderated by Vice Chancellor Jeff Lehman, offer NYU Shanghai students an opportunity to hear from some of the most notable and innovative personalities from across the globe in an intimate setting.

The inaugural conversation was held in front of a standing-room only crowd, as students, faculty, and staff had all lined up well in advance for a chance to be in the same room as two of the most famous—and wealthiest— entrepreneurs in China:  Wang Shi, Founder and Chairman of China Vanke, the largest real estate enterprise in China and the largest residential real estate developer in the world, and Dr. Wang Jian, internationally renowned research scientist and Founder and President of BGI-Shenzen (formerly the Beijing Genomics Institute).

The conversation provided insight into the difficulties and successes the guests had experienced not only in careers, education, family life, philanthropy, and public service, but also in extreme sports.  Both Wang Shi and Wang Jian are avid adventurers and mountain climbers.  In May, 2010, they scaled Mount Everest together— with Shi, at age 60, becoming the oldest person in China to reach the summit.

Students were able to ask questions of the guests at the end of the conversation.  When asked to compare business to mountain climbing, Wang Shi answered, “I think climbing up is harder, but it’s easy to run into trouble while going down. For people who have knowledge and ideals, disasters, difficulties, and problems are all opportunities for them to succeed.” And, when asked to offer advice to his 20-year-old self, Wang Jian offered, “Life is short. Have fun!”

Photo credit: Rhine LU