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Rocket Pitch to a Crown

Babson senior Grace Wong is taking this year off to travel as an ambassador for Hong Kong – and for Babson.  Grace was named first runner up at the Miss Hong Kong pageant held last summer!  She also won the titles ‘Miss Photogenic’ and ‘Miss International Good Will!’

In January, Grace went to Hong Kong on a semester abroad from Babson and from her New York City home. She wanted to learn business in the culture into which she was born – Hong Kong. It was her first trip back since she was very young and she’d always felt a special bond with her native country.

Grace had competed earlier in the Miss Chinatown competition held in San Francisco, representing NYC, and she came in first runner up! With this win under her belt, and no internships waiting back home, she decided to stay for the summer and enter the Miss Hong Kong competition.

Pictured with Grace (on the left) are newly crowned Miss Hong Kong, Kayi Cheung, in the center, and second runner-up Loretta Chow.

First and second runners-up travel with the reigning winner for many of the year’s events, and Grace would be expected to step in if anything prevented Miss Hong Kong from performing her duties. Most of their time is spent at charity and promotional events in Hong Kong and China. In fact, they just returned from Beijing where they talked up the 2008 Summer Olympics!

2000 girls applied to compete. 200 made it to a first interview, then 50, then 24, until there were 12 ‘locals’ competing for the crown. Her 30-second interview – wearing a bikini – won her a place among the twelve finalists. Asked why she wanted to be Miss Hong Kong, she said she “always loved Hong Kong and wants the opportunity to promote it internationally.”

Grace’s focus at Babson is entrepreneurship. She credits the skills she’s learned here with helping her win this competition. For example, she is able to communicate comfortably with any audience, she has gained poise and self-confidence, she can deal with the sometimes negative comments from media, and she understands that failure is a tool for learning and for new beginnings.
Intense days in E-Tower and learning to give rocket pitches also taught her well. (Remember the 30-second interview – in a bikini?)
Just last month, Grace competed in Tokyo representing Hong Kong in the Miss International Pageant – the third largest pageant in the world. She placed among the top 15 out of 62 delegates from around the globe, and won the title ‘Miss Friendship.’

The rewards are many according to Grace. She has learned to be more flexible and can adapt to any environment. She feels cultural barriers she once felt are now broken down. And a real benefit is that she has friends in 62 countries around the world.  What a network!

View more pictures of Grace on her fan-made website