EAS Alumnus Brian Smith


Brian SmithBrian Smith graduated in 2004 with a BA degree in Chinese Studies. He recently wrote to us:

"Shanghai is a city of absolute opportunity. The notion of Shanghai as a center of inspiration and creativity, unfortunately a faint one back home, is apparent everyday as I walk through the city’s streets. The metropolis is growing and building upon itself at a dizzying pace. I am not exaggerating when I say the streets I walk on today will not look the same one month later. To live and work in this machine called Shanghai is a challenge as well as a hobby. The city offers the opportunity to become successful in an alternative career such as mine, and at the same time it retains its historical significance, which I study as I walk through the streets of the French Concession.

The impulse to live and work in Shanghai came from a conversation with Professor DeBlasi while on a plane to Tibet back in the summer of 2004. I explained to Professor DeBlasi I may have the opportunity to intern for the largest boardsports apparel company in the world. Though I realized I could make far more money, and have a much easier life in Shanghai by teaching English, I was encouraged by Professor DeBlasi to “explore my options,” and to challenge myself. Two months later I bought a one way ticket to Shanghai and crashed on my friend’s floor while I started my internship at Quiksilver.

Five years later I am currently the Core Sports Marketing Manager for Quiksilver Greater China. I handle the development of boardriding culture in Mainland China and Hong Kong, as well as the maturity of the Quiksilver image in a culture with little or no background in action sports. Specifically I organize skateboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding events all across Greater China, I sponsor teams of young Chinese athletes, and I promote the Quiksilver brand through various PR channels, such as magazines and celebrity sponsorship. It is with my understanding of Chinese language and culture that I was able to develop a well rounded perception of modern China and its future direction. And through these developmental stages, specifically in the youth market, I find my route to successfully market a brand image.

It is an amazing experience to rely on my background of Chinese studies, combined with my life-long hobby of skateboarding and snowboarding, to create an interesting life in Shanghai. However, it is not only this combination of knowledge about China and boardsports which equals opportunity. I’ve realized after many years of living in China, it does not take a great idea and top-notch Mandarin to be successful. To find your way in Shanghai or anywhere in China, it takes a willingness to take on the difficulties of the Chinese language and culture, as well as determination to do things for yourself never expected while living at home."

Anyone interested in contacting me for any reason, please write to: brianj16@gmail.com.


Last updated August 28, 2009