Volunteer Profile: Mike Chen (NYUSH ’17)
June 15, 2020
Mike Chen (NYUSH ’17), who studied Finance and Global China Studies at NYU Shanghai, is a Violet at heart (and was also part of NYU Shanghai's first graduating class!). As a member of the NYU Alumni Association (NYUAA) Board of Directors, and the NYU Shanghai Global Alumni Chair in New York, Mike is no stranger to organizing and participating in alumni events. His volunteer work has included hosting the annual Chinese New Year alumni brunch, leading beautification projects at a New York City park for NYU Alumni Global Days of Service, and supporting philanthropic efforts such as NYU One Day and Giving Tuesday.
As Mike tells it, “NYU has such an incredibly diverse and welcoming network, as there's always an opportunity to get involved regardless of where you’re from or where you studied. In fact, NYU offers so many events and opportunities to students and alumni that it's difficult not to stay involved!”
Read on to learn more about Mike, including why the "Original Academic Building" at NYU Shanghai was his most memorable place on campus and what keeps him involved in the NYU alumni community.
What’s your favorite memory from your time at NYU?
I played point guard for our NYU Shanghai basketball team. At our very first home game, one of my best friends on the team hits a buzzer beater, and there’s an iconic photo of our team storming the court to celebrate while around 80% of our student body was there to cheer us on. It was definitely a “House of Highlights” moment.
Why do you stay involved with NYU?
NYU has such an incredibly diverse and welcoming network, as there's always an opportunity to get involved regardless of where you’re from or where you studied. In fact, NYU offers so many events and opportunities to students and alumni that it's difficult not to stay involved!
Why do you give back to NYU?
Currently, I give back by volunteering through the NYUAA as a board member and committee co-chair and as the global alumni chair for the NYU Shanghai Alumni Chapter. I’m also an alumni mentor for both NYU Stern and Shanghai students.
These are all organizations that have welcomed me with open arms and I attribute my successes today through the learning experiences made possible through these NYU networks.
What's been your proudest moment serving on the NYUAA Board?
I’m most proud to represent as co-chair of the NYUAA Recent Alumni & Student Programs (RASP) Committee. Additionally, I’m trying to set an ongoing personal record of attending NYU Alumni Weekend, captaining a Global Day of Service volunteer event, participating in NYU One Day, and attending the NYU Alumni Awards Luncheon every year!
Did you have any NYU classes or instructors who inspired or impacted you?
The Financial Services Industry course taught by NYU Stern Professor Charles Murphy at NYU New York really opened my eyes to the finance industry that exists outside of textbooks. Also, Music and Mindfulness, which is taught by Professor Tony Ackerman at NYU Prague, gave me insight into the intersection between music, mindfulness, and meditation, as well as how it transcends cultural barriers.
Finally, Management & Organizations taught by Professor Raymond Ro at NYU Shanghai was the perfect senior year class to equip me with the right mindset for transitioning into the business world.
What’s your favorite:
Food? MaLa Dry Pot (think of it as a stir-fry version of Chinese Hot Pot). I first discovered this dish when I studied in Shanghai and fell in love with it.
Book? Blindness by José Saramago.
TV show or movie? The Boys.
Song and/or Musical Artist? Travis Scott.
Podcast? The New York Times Daily
Place to travel? I did my fair share of traveling throughout Asia and Europe while studying abroad at NYU, so I’d have to put Sri Lanka up there. It's one of those places with incredibly friendly people, amazing natural landscapes, and isn't (or at least wasn't) a mainstream destination packed with tourists when I visited during my senior year of college.
Place on the NYU campus? The "Original Academic Building" at NYU Shanghai! This is exclusively NYU Shanghai jargon.
During my first year as part of NYU Shanghai's inaugural class, we shared part of the campus with a local Shanghainese university (East China Normal University). Our academic building was the one facility we‘d all go to for classes (at the time, our inaugural class included just 300 students).
Every day, we’d walk the same road from our international dorm to the “Original Academic Building” and back. It was nearly impossible to avoid bumping into nearly every one of our 300 classmates at least once a day and building camaraderie from those interactions.