February's Old Brightonian of the Month is Andy Zhang (Ab. 2007-09). Andy is our OB Ambassador in China and lives in Shanghai with his young family. Andy tells us about how he has turned his passion into his work and how he'd drive off the desert island.
When you were at Brighton College, what did you want to be when you ‘grew-up’?
I wanted to be somebody independent & influential in the industry which I am passionate about.
Tell us about yourself now you've grown up.
I am still building my reputation. However, I think I have achieved some of my dreams. Watches are always my passion since childhood. Transforming from a watch collector to an industry person and running one of the top brands in the world is truly amazing.
What are your best memories of school?
Countless. 2 years in Brighton College is life-changing. I seriously mean it! I think the moment when I was selected as school perfect as a Chinese student still feels unreal to me now. Besides that, our sixth form in Abraham House was so amazing that no one wanted the holidays to come! We did sports, music and fun altogether... including that secret Nintendo game room that I secretly managed, along with the other two heads of house!
What advice would you give to your school-age self?
I am not at a stage that I could give any definite advice yet as life is unique to everyone. As we grow up, we face many choices which are life-changing. Pick the ones that you truly passionate about and are willing to wake up for without alarms.
What do you do as a career?
I run a few start-ups from my family business including export/import and properties. Also, I am a full-time regional business development and client director for A. Lange & Söhne, which belongs to the Richemont group.
What does your job involve?
My role at Richemont is a combination of brand management, marketing, influencing, clientele and business development. My peers around 40 years old and so I am fortunate to have been able to join the team at a relatively young age.
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
It's funny: I don't find it challenging, but I do find it exciting. Of course, selling watches at a price tag of around 200,000€ in a developing market might sound “challenging” to others but it is all fun to me.
What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?
My two kids and my wife.
What is the single thing that would most improve the quality of your life?
Being more honest with myself and doing things for passion and not for others. (Inspired by "If" by Rudyard Kipling)
What are the three objects you would take with you to a desert island?
Water – to survive
Car – to get back to my office
My watch – can’t live without it
How would you like to be remembered?
An influential, humble man who also inspires others.