Hongda Jiang

Hongda Jiang



Degree and Class Year

BA ’08

Current City

Beaverton, Oregon


International Affairs and World Languages (double)


Model UN, Go club, gaming society, Russian club, Chinese TA, International Students of LC, Third Culture Kids, IA Symposium

Overseas study


What three words would you use to describe L&C?

Globally minded, diverse

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

In my junior year of high school, I received a wide variety of fancy pamphlets and flyers from different universities. They talked up all kinds of benefits of attending their respective institutions—including one that bragged about their local ice cream. L&C just sent a nondescript postcard with a picture of a forest, with no details about any aspect of the college. This postcard left me intrigued and I remembered L&C throughout my four-year enlistment in the army. When my enlistment was ending, I found out that L&C was a great school for international relations, so I applied out of curiosity and enrolled in the fall of 2005.

How do you describe the liberal arts?

I can describe a liberal arts education in terms of what I got out of it. I learned some of the key questions to ask to critically and counterintuitively approach any problem, such as “compared to what?”, “under what circumstances?”, or “when would the reverse be true?” I also learned how to communicate succinctly and effectively while increasing quantities of information compete for everyone’s attention.

How did you select your major?

I’ve been interested in international relations, especially geopolitics and the impact of technology on the discipline, since the age of 12. This is still my favorite intellectual pursuit to this day. Studying international affairs at Lewis & Clark was a no-brainer. I also wanted to study Russian since I was a teenager watching the awesome and mysterious villains on the X-Files TV drama who spoke Russian, so when I finally had the opportunity to study Russian, I did so. I thought I might as well get a degree out of studying Russian, so I double-majored in foreign languages (now World Languages and Literatures).

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your career?

My proficiency in Russian enabled me to get my first job out of undergrad as a business development manager for a Moscow-based boutique consulting firm. My unusual combo of international business and military experience led me to be admitted to the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, which opened the doors to just about every Fortune 500 company for me.

What would you say is the most important thing you learned at Lewis & Clark?

Think counterintuitively and always question whether one is using the right metrics that are genuinely appropriate for assessing any given situation.

What’s your favorite part or most memorable experience of serving on the Board of Alumni?

Brainstorming business ideas with students at Winterim.

How do you encourage other alumni to give back to the college?

Take time to develop, grow, and maintain long-lasting networks with fellow alumni and students. Encourage students to proactively help each other with job prospects and internships, so as to cultivate a norm of “students helping students.” Help fellow students understand that alumni are always more than happy to connect with them, either during or after their time at L&C. Never be hesitant to reach out to an alum for help or advice.