Gary Barker put his study of the Mandarin language and Chinese history to the test during a three-and-a-half month internship with his employer’s Hong Kong affiliate which ended just after the June 30 handover.

      “The business environment is very dynamic. They cut to the chase,” Mr. Barker, a Georgia State University graduate student and employee of Fry Consultants, said of Hong Kong.

      While in Hong Kong, he often worked 10-hour days, starting his mornings with Mandarin lessons and then working on three main projects: an initial public offering for a manufacturing corporation, a marketing plan for a software company and an investment prospectus for the Asia-Pacific region. He also squeezed in a nine-day tour of Beijing and Shanghai.

      He would like to work in Hong Kong again, appreciating its status as an Asian center of finance and transportation. “I’m very optimistic about the future of Hong Kong. The business people are not that concerned [about the handover], I don’t think,” said Mr. Barker, who noted that the stock market reached a record high the day before the handover, and that Hong Kong is experiencing a real estate boom.

      The Hong Kong internship fulfilled the last of his Master of International Business degree requirements and was an obvious extension of his position with Fry Consultants, which focuses on corporate strategy and international business development. Mr. Barker has worked with Managing Director Mark Towery for more than two years, starting out at The Global Advantage before that company acquired Fry Consultants.

      For further information about Fry Consultants, please call (770) 226-8888. For more information about GSU’s Institute of International Business, please call Dan Kinsey, program manager, at (404) 651-2753, or e-mail:

by Lori N. Howard