My Advice to Alma Mater


Interview Transcripts of Xi’an Jiaotong University


I Building a world-class university

Interviewer: Mr. Xuefei (Michael) Peng, as our senior alumnus, will you kindly enlighten us with your thoughts and suggestions regarding the construction of a world-class university?

Xuefei (Michael) Peng: There is a saying that an university does not lie in many high buildings, but many great masters. So I think teachers are important components of an university. Firstly a better source of educators is the key; secondly the source of students is essential. According to my memory of the past times, Xi’an Jiaotong University always requires lower scores of entrance examinations for student enrollment than Peking University and Tsinghua University, with the areas of students admission less than above two universities. Although Xi’an Jiaotong University is located at the northwest of China, at the age of globalization nowadays, if you intend to make yourself an international talent, you can take full advantages of advanced internet to learn at least a foreign language. You no longer need to take the College English Band Four or Band Six as a standard of English acquisition. In addition to English, you can acquire one or more foreign languages in the same manner. Because you do not need to buy films or pirated discs in foreign languages as in the past. Since there are numerous resources on the internet now, it is totally feasible for you to make full use of internet resources as long as you are ready to spend your time and energy.


Now we are at the era of globalization with developed traffics and more convenient cross-border travels. For example, Xianyang International Airport near to Xi’an leads to more international exchanges. It enables students to open their eyes and expand their horizons in a better way. I noticed a lot more net bars around the school and do not think it is a good phenomenon, because net bars are places for students to play online games. If schools can offer free WiFi around the clock, students may make better use of internet and learn whatever they want. In my website, there are my comments on the development of IT industry. The development of IT industry in China does not rely on several universities or companies, but enabling ordinary people to see the world through internet. There are free program codes on internet and they may be used freely. Students of colleges and universities may start their companies through internet or earn advertising fees by setting up a blog or website. But it is a pity for them to waste time on the online games. Schools may look into reasons of students’ obsession with online games. Maybe they are not satisfied with their major or etc. Students should be guided by colleges and universities to learn to use their spare time. Students of engineering course should highly value their ability of DIY. The free WiFi may not necessarily have positive influences on all students because not everyone likes to learn things. At least some people will make full use of WiFi. Students of colleges and universities should not only improve the face-to-face social skills, but also pay attention to social skills online. Through the internet, you can find foreign friends and learn a foreign language. Through the internet, each person of Xi’an Jiaotong University may develop a circle of foreign friends. But very few people have tried to do so. You can see a the world through the internet. If you have no access to internet, you are disconnected from the top of world, then you will fall behind much worse after graduation from universities and colleges.


The source of teachers should be improved. The first type includes the full-time tutors and the second type includes the part-time guest professors who may be invited to give lectures at Xi’an Jiaotong University. The third type includes more programs of student exchange with the first-class universities or second-class universities. The exchange students may not necessarily acquire a lot of knowledge, but it is key for them to broaden horizons and establish different way of thinking. In addition to this, frequent contacts with businessmen should be made. Universities and colleges could invite companies’ executives to give lectures. Not all students will become engineers and some of them will work as the companies’ management. They may need the relevant knowledge and contacts.


At present, some world-class universities, like MIT, provide lectures online, so that students can make their own decisions to learn things. If they have questions, they may find the e-mail of the lecturer and send questions through e-mail. Even if they are students of the university, I believe they could still get the answer as long as the question is well-presented and valuable. In fact the e-mails of many professors of first-class universities are open to public and can be found. The method of learning is more important than test scores.


As for the source of students, highlights to attract students should be created, like free WiFi around the clock, more quotas of exchange students. Xi’an Jiaotong University can fully use own historical and cultural advantages to find similar highlights and establish more extensive mechanism of exchanges with universities abroad.


Students in school may also undertake works online and do some outsource work for some companies. As long as you obtain a legitimate job and really make money, you do not necessarily have to physically work at the company. But students must learn to make own judgment regarding the real and fake information of online jobs. The key lies in the full use of internet resources. The working experience will also lay the foundation for further studies abroad.


II Impression of youth class


Interviewer: Xuefei, how do you recall your life of youth class at Xi’an Jiaotong University?


Xuefei (Michael) Peng: The youth class for me is leaving home early and staying in the library early to read books according to my wishes. So I had bad scores of specialized courses with a lot of failed subjects. I could hardly remember the times of make-up examinations. Therefore I lied to myself that I had such a high IQ that it could not be tested. In this way I encouraged myself otherwise I could not get on with the study. Haha(Laugh)…….


Interviewer: The ranking of Xi’an Jiaotong University was great then, but now it is left far behind. What should we do about it?

Xuefei (Michael) Pengs: Ranking is only tied to the research capabilities, which is not specifically linked to students. As long as a school can cultivate capable students, they will become the school’s brand and the school’s reputation will gradually be raised.


III   Advice to young alumni and alumnae 

There is a lyric in the song of Xi’an Jiaotong University called “as the light of the world”. I hope more young alumni and alumnae can achieve this point. The second point is to find their strengths, discover their own interests and find a job suited to their strengths, which requires a certain amount of time. They need to search for answers with a question mark. The third point is that we must learn to strengthen health through exercises.


Xuefei(Michael) Peng


Written by Xuefei(Michael) Peng