Hong Tu – China Business Services Interviews Scott Anderson of RNL Design

Hong Tu – China Business Services is happy to announce an international business interview series. Given our audience, there will be a particular but not exclusive focus on China. Each month, we will interview people who have done work in China, are learning Chinese or are experts in international business.

This week we interviewed Scott Anderson who works for RNL here in Denver. Scott has done work all over the world including China. He’s studied Chinese with us for about 8 months.

1. Tell us about RNL and your work there. What do you enjoy most about it?

RNL is a multi-disciplinary design firm, founded and headquartered in Denver, specializing in architecture, interior design, urban design and landscape architecture. My focus is in the urban design and landscape architecture studio, where I’ve worked on everything from a small corporate plaza in Golden CO, to a parks and open space network plan in Cairo, Egypt, to a new city for more than 500,000 people in Dalian, China.

What I enjoy about the work we’re doing here is the broad range of clients, scales and project scopes that we encounter every day. It makes for an interesting work environment, where the tasks from day to day are always changing, and where each day we’re dealing with a new set of challenges.

2. What role does China play in RNL’s plans? 

During the economic downturn, RNL was very fortunate as a firm to be well diversified internationally, especially in the Middle East/North Africa and China. Doing work in China has broadened our international experience, and has honed our productivity and efficiency, as the clients and projects there have been quite demanding. We have since opened a small office in Singapore in the hopes of doing more marketing and business development in China, which we hope to be fruitful for architecture and urban design work over the next decade or so.

3. What drove your decision to learn Chinese? Why not another language? 

Having traveled to China on a few occasions, I became very interested in learning more about the language and the culture, as well as the finer points of doing business in China. I have studied several other languages out of necessity (Spanish in high school), boredom (Portuguese and Japanese), and general curiosity (Arabic), but with extraordinary lack-of-use, as well as lack of personal relation to the material, those languages quickly fell out of my knowledge base.

Chinese, on the other hand, I feel is going to be relevant throughout our lifetime and probably beyond, both for business and for tourism. Simultaneously, the relationship development between China and the United States is going to be an economically and politically interesting one going forward. Understanding Chinese, even in a small amount, is going to be a valuable individual asset in the decades to come.

4. Your class moves at a fast pace and you keep up despite missing a few classes due to work travel. What study tips do you have for others?

Well, it hasn’t all been travel for work, but yes this summer has been fairly busy thus far, and missing a class or two each month has become an unfortunate habit. It’s a bit of a cop-out, but I have to say that the methods will vary for every person, and you should read Hong Tu’s article on study habits if you’re curious about how you might study more effectively. For me, to stay on track I have to dedicate a night each week to sit down and study for several hours, working on assigned homework and writing characters. I’ve also had to make flash cards for myself for vocabulary, and I review those whenever I have a bit of free time (waiting for the bus, for instance).

This won’t work for everyone, of course. Some will pick it up more quickly by listening or by reading, etc. In general though, my tip would be to stay interested and take joy in learning new things, and you’ll find the time and the methods to learn the language.

5. How can people find you if they have more questions?

They can feel free to send me a message via Linkedin and I’ll get back to them as soon as possible. I’d be happy to answer any questions or have a discussion about the language, classes with Hong Tu, or the work that we’re doing here at RNL.