UCL Alumni


Leading a club from strength to strength with Andrew Ng

How Andrew Ng (LLB Laws 1985, Honorary Fellowship 2014) spearheaded the UCL Hong Kong Club over two decades.

Andrew Ng among fellow UCL community members

16 June 2023

UCL has many vibrant alumni clubs and groups that support graduates in their careers and host social events and activities. One of the most enduring groups is the UCL Hong Kong Club, which was set up in the 1970s. With alumnus Andrew Ng (pictured above, third from right) at the helm for over two decades, the club has gone from strength to strength, helping hundreds of alumni to build their networks, develop new skills and find friendships.

Finding his place

Andrew was born in London and spent his high school years in Ashford, Kent. Returning to London for his law degree was an easy decision – “It’s the best university city in the world. I love its restaurants and theatres, opera and jazz clubs, museums and galleries, parks and coffee shops”.

Andrew was particularly drawn to UCL by its diverse community. “I chose UCL because of its rich history of diversity and excellence; some of the first Chinese, Indian and Jewish students in the UK studied at UCL, including Wu Ting-fang and Gandhi.

“It was also one of the largest multidisciplinary and cosmopolitan universities, so I could meet students from all backgrounds and disciplines, from architects and archaeologists, to artists and lawyers to medics and physicists.”

The idea to study at UCL originated several years earlier when Andrew read Learning the Law by UCL Quain Professor of Jurisprudence Glanville Williams. It was the first law book Andrew had read, sparking an interest which led him to take Law. He remembers his studies fondly:

“We learnt from debating with each other in small groups of about 8, with the tutor as facilitator. I found my voice arguing with excellent lawyers (tutors and students) in tutorials or study groups. The teachers were inspirational. I particularly remember Professor Ronald Dworkin, one of the greatest 20th-century philosophers, lecturing on jurisprudence from drafts of his then-yet-to-be-published Laws Empire, and (later Lord Chief Justice) Harry Woolf lecturing on Administrative Law.”

Inspired by Andrew’s experience, his younger sisters also studied at UCL. Like Andrew, Rosie studied Law, while Elizabeth gained a BA in History.

From London to Hong Kong

Andrew credits his time at UCL with setting him up for his career: “I truly believe a UCL Law degree opened doors in the City for me and my sisters”.

Having begun his career with Field Fisher and Barlow Lyde & Gilbert in London, in 1990, Andrew “caught the Hong Kong bug” and joined Baker & McKenzie, then the largest firm in the world and one of the largest in Hong Kong. 

“When I first came to Hong Kong in 1990, I was lucky to have a support network of my UCL friends, so, before I started work at Baker & McKenzie, I bunked with a friend, Voon Hon Lai, a graduate of The Bartlett, and reached out to a few UCL friends who were pretty much the first people I knew here.”

Andrew expected to spend a few years in Hong Kong; he’s still there 33 years later. In 1997 he founded his own law firm “by accident”. Having already made strong connections with what would become loyal clients, including old alumni friends, the business was successful “from day one”.

Giving back

Andrew and his sisters joined the UCL Hong Kong Club in 2000. Later that year, he was appointed a club director by the then-Chair of the Club, Ka-Kim Chu. Andrew succeeded Ka-Kim Chu as Chair a few years later. In the last two decades, the club has changed a lot, with membership growing to over 4,000 alumni across all UCL faculties. 

UCL Hong Kong Club

The club has introduced a range of activities for its diverse alumni community as well as for prospective and current students. Their regular events include dinners, breakfasts and drinks receptions; these are complemented by special talks featuring speakers such as UCL President & Provost Dr Michael Spence, and professors of Laws, Physics, Public Health and Psychology. 

Its alumni and careers-focused events have included talks on geoeconomics, finance and climate change. The club has also organised art exhibitions to showcase works by The Bartlett and UCL Slade School of Fine Art students and alumni.

Many club members have received support from the club, whether while at school, as a UCL student, or in the early stages of their careers. They’re now giving back through the club’s mentoring scheme, which supports current students and recent alumni by matching them with more experienced alumni in their chosen fields. 

The connections made at events or through the mentoring scheme often develop into enduring relationships. Andrew reflects: “I have kept in touch with hundreds of mentees from when they were high school students, mentees, interns to when they become alumni volunteers.”

Supporting future generations

Andrew is also a governor for the UCL Scholarship Hong Kong Foundation which, for over 40 years, has helped fund, administer and award scholarships to financially needy local students. Their support includes funding the UCL Hong Kong Alumni Scholarships and prizes such as the Sir Charles K. Kao Prize.

Andrew’s efforts were recognised in 2014 when he was elected a UCL Honorary Fellow. Honorary Fellowships are awarded to those who have given exceptional service to the community or UCL. 

“It was wonderful to attend my second graduation with my wife, son, mum, sister and niece; old friends, like then-Dean of Laws Professor Dame Hazel Genn, who gave the oration; Emeritus Professor Dawn Oliver, who interviewed me in 1982; Jackie Dyson and Lord Harry Woolf, who taught me; those who travelled from afar, such as Joseph Fok, Vincent Cheung, Tony Luk and Raj Gupta; and to have Boris Johnson as the keynote speaker.

“The Honorary Fellowship is an excuse to regularly attend UCL graduations both in London and Beijing and a great opportunity to celebrate with my graduating mentees and their families.”

Considering joining your local alumni group? Andrew encourages getting involved.

“Participating in the UCL community whether as a mentor or volunteer is a fun and rewarding way to give back and reconnect with our vibrant and impactful UCL community.”