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Beijing to Buffalo

Wei-Loon Leong returns to his alma mater as the new director of international alumni relations

Wei-Loon Leong. Photo: Douglas Levere

Arriving in Buffalo for his first semester in January 2001, Wei-Loon Leong (MBA ’05, BS ’03) stepped off the plane to nothing but snow. New to the area, the Malaysia native thought to himself, “They call this the spring semester?” Apparently UB’s international admissions officers had mentioned Niagara Falls, Toronto and New York City, but had “left out the snow part.” Fortunately for us, Wei-Loon decided to give UB a shot anyway.

It was a very different scene in October 2013 when Wei-Loon and his wife, Xiaoli Mu, got off their flight from Beijing on a beautiful fall day in Buffalo. For Wei-Loon, it was a homecoming of sorts after spending the past eight years in the Chinese capital, where he was most recently a senior manager for business administration at Beijing BISS International School. He is now UB’s first director of international alumni relations, charged with developing a comprehensive program to engage the university’s 8,000 alumni who live overseas.

We caught up with Wei-Loon shortly after his arrival. Among other things, we found he has become a little more accepting of the local climate.

What UB taught him

Frank Krzystofiak’s data modeling class in my MBA program really helped me a lot in my eight years in China. It helped me analyze and present information easily enough for people to understand and make important decisions.

Most embarrassing moment at UB

When we were students, my brother and I bought durian, a tropical fruit, at the Tops on Maple. It smells like a corpse, but it tastes pretty good, in my opinion. We brought it back to Governor’s Hall and opened it up in the shared kitchen. Then the RAs came out and were close to calling the cops, so we had to pack it up and eat it outside.

His new take on snow

Just deal with it! When we sold our car in Beijing, we had a little snow brush that the new owner didn’t want. I chucked it into our luggage and then put it in our new car here. The salesman saw this little snow brush and he says, “Did you guys bring this from China?”

On saying goodbye

Leaving the friends, the network and my in-laws was more difficult for [my wife] because it’s her first time living overseas. For me, it’s very comfortable to be back. More like a second home. UB hasn’t changed a lot, except for the Stampede bus. It used to be a Blue Bird!

Anchor Bar vs. Duff’s

I like Anchor Bar and my wife likes Duff’s. She orders very hot. I get mild.