Alumnus Arnold Chan (BBA-GBS 2010) was honoured as one of the ‘Ten Outstanding Young Person Selection 2019’ of the Junior Chamber International Hong Kong on 21 October 2019. He has been committed to bridge the education inequality in the underprivileged by starting Teach for Hong Kong.
Arnold Chan, Founder and CEO of Teach For Hong Kong (TFHK), is one of the eight awardees of the annual ‘Ten Outstanding Young Persons Selection 2019’ in the category of civil and social services. Themed “Ignite Passion & Reach Beyond” this year, the award gives formal recognition to young Hongkongers who strove for their dreams while keeping the original aspiration and make their reputation abroad. The judges deemed the awardees to have excelled in their professional endeavours and unselfish contributions to the community.
Arnold (second from left) with the other outstanding young persons at the award presentation ceremony
Back in 2006, with his straight-A result in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE), Arnold was admitted to the Global Business Studies (GBS) programme of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School. Upon graduation, he landed a million-dollar job at an investment bank. Undertaking an enviable path for many, Arnold keeps in mind his volunteering experience of visiting underprivileged children during secondary school. He wanted to pay it forward by finding a remedy to education inequality in Hong Kong. With a spark of determination, he quitted his high-paying job and later pursued an MBA degree at Harvard Business School. In the same period, he set up TFHK to broaden the horizons of grass-root students and enhance their upward mobility.
“Let down but don’t let go. Have faith and you’ll see light.”
– Arnold Chan (BBA-GBS 2010)
The non-profit organisation recruits passionate and outstanding university graduates from various academic programmes to be teaching fellows at grass-root schools for one year. On top of regular classroom teaching, the teaching fellows are responsible for the extra-curricular activities and career education of their students. Trusting that youthsare the future pillars instead of problems of the society, Arnold sees them as the possible solutions to resolving problems. When asked about his biggest achievement so far, he considers it to be empowering others. He believes success is self-defined, and encourages Hong Kong youths, “Let down but don’t let go. Have faith and you’ll see light.”
Arnold with his team at Teach for Hong Kong
Arnold attributes his compassion for the poor to the humanistic influence from his alma mater. “The three-year GBS comprises two years in Hong Kong and one in Denmark and the US. As long as I am in Hong Kong I jumped at every chance to be engaged in extra-curricular activities. In the English Debating Team I got to know friends from various disciplines who inspired me to reflect on the role of university students in society. I realised that business is not just about making money, and that business majors do not necessarily have to pursue a career in finance. To study business is to become strategic thinkers who can tackle social problems effectively.”
Since the start of TFHK in 2015, Arnold has recruited 110 graduates as teaching fellows for Hong Kong’s underprivileged primary and secondary schools, serving over 20,000 students. He has raised over US$3 million from the government and private sector to support TFHK’s future development.
In recognition of his achievement at TFHK, Arnold was awarded the Asia 21 2016 Class of Young Leaders by Asia Society and the Hong Kong Youth Service Award 2016 by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups. He was also selected as part of the Generation T List by Hong Kong Tatler in 2018 and Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2019. Learn more about Arnold’s story here.