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A Grad Student with Multiple Leadership Identities

By Tingyi Wang

Danlei Hu is a successful Chinese graduate student in childhood special education, but this is just one of the many titles she wears. She is making a mark on campus as the chairwoman of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) and in the business world as founder of a company in China that has focused on business management and event planning.

Danlei Hu is an Adelphi graduate student, chairwoman of the CSSA and a successful business owner.

In addition to completing her ongoing graduate courses, Hu also needs to guide the work of the school's CSSA.

"My original intention to join CSSA was that my boyfriend was in it, and he was scolded miserably by the previous chairman. I thought I had started a company before, so this should be very simple for me," Hu said, explaining why she joined CSSA. She first worked at the CSSA secretariat and succeeded in becoming the chairwoman in May 2021.

Even before that, in January 2021, Hu joined CSSA to work at the Spring Festival, which is a grand festival for the Chinese. She introduced and shared this important part of her culture with her peers. She demonstrated her outstanding performance in a series of Spring Festival activities, which brought together many Chinese students in school and allowed them to experience the familiarity of their hometown.

Besides running student organizations and doing her graduate work, Hu also founded her own business management company, Hangzhou Chuangyi Business Management Co., Ltd, an event planning business, in her third year of high school in November 2014. Her company team has a clear division of labor and she has divided it into three parts. The first is responsible for academic content, which is the rules and systems of the business competition. The second is responsible for the recruitment of students, and then third allows her to do some supplementary work.

"I wanted to start a company because my first boyfriend wants to have a company. At that time, we were very popular in doing business simulation competitions, but my high school was worried that it would not be effective,” she said of her original intention of starting the company. “So, I registered specifically for the business of the company for the simulation competition,"

Hu is working hard for a management company and also has some good outstanding achievements.

From 2015 to 2017, her company adjusted its focus to organizing their various business competitions. At that time, her company contracted the only student business competition in the Zhejiang area. In other words, all the students will participate in these competitions in her company.

The business competition is a group of four to six people, and there are several groups going to compete. They are simulated to build a company to operate and simulate the market economy for each group. The company with the highest market capitalization is the winner. Those students who come to participate in the competition are interested in business areas. Hu’s company has also trained many students who are now engaged in hotel management and business operations. "I think it makes a lot of sense," she said.

In 2018, she turned the company's business to event planning. Unlike the previous business, the current business, also Hangzhou Chuangyi Business Management Co., Ltd, is focused on planning events for others, and her company is not the organizer. Her company’s main customer base are students who want to become business majors. The company currently employs about 20 people and an annual income of about $50,000 to $60,000.

"The former chairwoman and secretary-general liked me very much after seeing my resume," Hu said. "My resume is the strong part of my personality.”

Even with her demanding leadership roles, Hu manages to also excel in the classroom.

“She is a very good student. She participates well in class and engages in class discussions,” said Pavan Antony, a professor in the Ruth S. Ammon College of Education and Health Sciences. “She has met with me a few times to inquire about questions related to course work. During the last semester, she worked in groups with a few other students on group assignments where she participated actively.”

Hu studied in China before attending Adelphi. Because of Covid-19 she was taking classes online from her home in the Zhejiang province, Ningbo city, China, though she is back on campus now. She worked at a student association in high school and as a league branch in college. Now after studying abroad, she is still working in the student association as the chairman. Another student might have been discouraged by these challenges, but Hu showed her resilience by being as involved as she could possibly be on campus even if she might not be there physically.

“When I started my business, I also had to prepare for China's college entrance examination, and exam abroad. So, I only sleep four hours a day," she said. "I had a miserable life when I started a business, but the achievements belong to me. I feel pretty good now because the company has also made money. I am satisfied with my life.”

After graduation in December 2022, Hu planned to apply for a PhD in special education in autism or education leadership.

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