ISB students enjoy Alumni Pathways mentorship events

By Jessie Zhong, ISB Alumni Relations, and Nick Yates, ISB Communications 

Published on Thursday, April 28, 2022

International School of Beijing (ISB) Grade 10 students enjoyed a virtual fair last Wednesday with ISB alumni sharing their experiences since school. It was the culmination of a series of Alumni Pathways events this year taking advantage of the High School’s new alumni mentor network to guide current students in their options for further education and careers. 

Wednesday’s eight guest speakers came from the almost 100 alumni who have signed up to the mentor network. These former Dragons have committed to giving back to the school by taking part in events like these and through regular contact with ISB students, helping them find their place in the world. 

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Rovan Yu’s presentation

Each alumni speaker led two 30-minute sessions, with students signing up and selecting two sessions prior to the event. The speakers represented different graduating years, industries, and backgrounds.  

It was an invaluable experience for students to hear from their predecessors. Some of the alumni are in leadership positions in their industries, some are still at college. No matter where they are in life, they had one thing in common – excellent preparation at ISB. For instance, Rovan Yu from the Class of 2009 said taking IB art helped her build a solid foundation in critical thinking and communication in art, not just in a visual way but in writing too. She was able to start strong and completed her bachelor of fine arts degree from Savannah College of Art and Design in three years.  

Jane Park, a medical student at Western University of Health Sciences, and Maggie Cheng and Tony Kam from UC Berkeley all discussed the importance of keeping an open mind in choosing your major or career. 

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Students enjoying Aki Mustonen’s presentation

Students who attended Fukuko Ayama’s session learned that career (what youre good at) and passion (what you love) might not be the same and doesn’t have to be. Students also learned from her diverse experience that your career doesn’t have to be defined by the major you took at college. Fukuko went from majoring in chemical engineering at Tufts University, later worked in finance because she wanted to learn how money works, and then changed her career path to education and leadership coaching. She was the COO of an educational company that coaches high school students about public speaking, which happened to be one of her biggest fears back in school 

Through Alumni Pathways this year, ISB students have not only got some sage advice but seen the value of strong relationships and maintaining engagement with ISB after they’ve finished studying at the school. 


Thanks to our alumni panelists: Fukuko Ayama, 2001-2005; Mathias Boyer, Class of 2002; Maggie Cheng, Class of 2020; Tony Kam, 2008-2014; Aki Mustonen, 1999-2003; Jane Park, Class of 2015; Jing Jing Yang, Class of 2019; Rovan Yu, Class of 2009.  

Faculty moderators: Amanda Chang, Greg Hinton, Jeff Holcomb, Julie Lemley, Midea Liao,  Michael Maki, Patrick Stenger, Cherry Wu. 

ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.

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