In this edition of the LRCCS Spotlight Series, we have a double feature – Cherry Tou, Ross undergraduate, and Arber Lajqi LSA undergraduate. Cherry has an upcoming summer internship at Casino Louis XIII in Macau, and Arber did the same internship in summer of 2015. Both Cherry and Arber were awarded with the LRCCS Walter Power Scholarship to finance their internships in Macau.
Part I – Cherry Tou
LRCCS: Tell us a bit about yourself
Cherry: I’m from Macau, I grew up there. I came to the US for my undergraduate education; I’m a sophomore now with a double major in Business and PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics).
LRCCS: What’s your impression of this internship you’re about to go on?
Cherry: I found out about this internship through LSA. It’s at a new hotel called Louis XIII, which hasn’t been opened yet. It’s a business finance internship working directly for the CEO, Mr. Walter Power.
LRCCS: What do you hope to get out of this internship?
Cherry: I really want to get to know more about how a hotel or a company in general works. I’ve had other internships but they were very siloed in specific departments so I didn’t get the big picture. I’m very excited to work directly with a CEO; I’ve never even met a CEO before!
LRCCS: What do you want to do when you graduate?
Cherry: I want to go into investment banking for two years. I hear the hours are really intense, but I enjoy that intensity. Hopefully I can do that in the US.
LRCCS: What other sorts of things are you passionate about?
Cherry: I really love organizing conferences! It’s exciting to encounter challenges and solve them, and then see the result of all the planning.
I was involved in TEDx UM, and organized the first TEDx talk in Macau when I was in high school. One of my friends gave a TEDx talk in Egypt, and that’s how I first heard about the platform. For UM, I helped with the marketing for our TEDx event.
Right now I’m also working on the Asia Business Conference; I’m the VP for the event.
LRCCS: What kind of a vision do you have for your life?
Cherry: I did some volunteering in rural Chinese schools back in high school; one of the students I met had to walk two hours every day just to get to school. And I realized how privileged my life has been. So I really want to help promote education in rural China. But I think if I want to make a significant impact, I should work in the private sector first. I’d like to help build schools and volunteer in that region.
Part II - Arber Lajqi
LRCCS: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Arber: I was born in Kosovo and moved to New York when I was 4. I went back to Kosovo for 8th grade and high school, and then came back to the US for college. My family came to the US because of the Kosovo War. Since I moved so young, I didn’t know Albanian at all, so after the war was over my family sent me back to learn the language.
LRCCS: What was your experience like interning in Macau?
Arber: At first I was hesitant because I had no experience in casino finance. But I’m super grateful I went through with it. I met Mr. Power on my first day out there and he became sort of like a mentor. We structured the internship together, where I had my own project but also did some things that were more like shadowing.
LRCCS: What did you learn from your time there?
Arber: Everything was mesmerizing for me. The casino is the most expensive in the world, per square foot. Working directly for a CEO, who was very humble, was a great experience. I never thought I’d have a chance to work so closely with a CEO – we met at least once a week.
I honestly didn’t think I had much to offer – the youngest person at the company was 30. But by the end I felt like I really made a contribution; I felt like my project really meant something.
LRCCS: What do you think was the most important thing you learned from Mr. Power?
Arber: He told me to do something I’m passionate about, because if I don’t, I won’t be able to accomplish nearly as much. Also, his humility really inspired me. Before I met him he seemed like this mythical figure that everyone looked up to; so initially I was a little intimidated. But when I finally got the chance to meet him, he made me feel so comfortable and relaxed.
LRCCS: Any idea about what that thing is which you’re passionate about?
Arber: Well, another thing Mr. Power told me is that if you think you know exactly where you’re going to be twenty years from now at the age of twenty, you have no idea what you’re talking about. But I think I have a foundational idea about what I’m interested in, which is mathematical analysis in the finance field. I like making numbers tell a story, in a way that people can believe.
LRCCS: What interests you about the finance field?
Arber: I think it’s fun making predictions. Being able to guess right provides a sense of validity for my skills, and that’s a great feeling for me personally.
LRCCS: What was your typical day like in Macau?
Arber: I would go to work around 9 and leave around 7:30 – not because I had to, but because I wanted to get as much out of the experience as I could. After work, I started practicing Jiu-Jitsu. Mr. Power is a huge fan, and I believe he was finalist for a world championship in his age range. So I’d practice from 7:30 – 10. I’d go back home, shower, eat dinner, go to sleep, and repeat.
LRCCS: Where do you see yourself post-graduation?
Arber: For right now, I want to gain more experience in finance analysis in general. I dove in head first to the casino industry, but I want to see what else is out there.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for our next spotlight with erhu rockstar Xiaodong Hottmann