IFT student Cici Liang says she is making good use of what she has learned at the Institute in running her recently established bakery business in the Mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.
“My partner and I opened a bakery in Zhuhai in September,” says Cici, who is in Year 2 of the IFT Bachelor of Science in Hotel Management programme. “I have several apprentices working under me now. They help with production. I also take care of the development of new products, while my partner focuses mainly on sales and stocking.”
Cici became interested in the crafts of pastry-making and baking when she was in Primary 6. “But I was not really good at it,” she says. Later, while at high school in Macao, she invested more time in learning the crafts. “That was the period when my interest and skills were really honed,” she says.
Cici’s present bakery venture is her second attempt at a start-up. Her first began about a year ago and has since been closed down. “I was on my own. The workload was too much,” she says.
Cici says she realised the importance of teamwork from group projects for various courses at IFT and began looking for a partner to launch a new bakery venture. Her studies at IFT have helped the partnership succeed because they polished her interpersonal skills, so she can communicate better with her partner, Cici says.
IFT has also taught her about accounting and managing money which, she says, also helps run her business.
“I was not a big fan of subjects like accounting and finance,” Cici states. “But we had a group project in the accounting course which meant handling the account records of a restaurant, stocking and other accounting-related issues. This experience was very useful for me in opening my own business.”
Cici’s baked goods have been available on the Taobao shopping website since December. She says business is booming and that she and her partner are planning to expand.
The young entrepreneur says it is difficult to balance running a business and being a student, but she tries to devote as much time as possible to her studies.
“The education I’m getting from IFT is part of the reason I can run my present bakery,” she says. “Some of our classmates don’t understand why we have to take subjects such as finance or accounting, because they think they’ll be no use to them in the future. But my experience shows this kind of knowledge is helpful.”