We invited Jolly Gong, a current Part-time student, who owns extensive job experience in finance industry, to talk about their MBA journey, including how the programme benefits them as a Finance professional, and how to tackle the practical challenges they face in their jobs with the knowledge their acquired from MBA.
1) Can you please share your background with us? (Including your job title, function, company and industry)
Hello, my name is Jolly and I’m vice president of Institutional sales in Orient Securities Hong Kong limited. It’s a Chinese investment bank and brokerage firm headquartered in Shanghai.
To put it simply, My job is to provide research services and financial products in the primary market to institutional investors, like mutual funds, hedge funds, asset management companies and so on.
2) Why did you choose HKU Part-time MBA?
I got my first master degree in Chinese University of HK, majored in journalism 7 years ago. I have no academic background for finance. Though I have working experience in the capital markets as IR/PR specialist for listed companies in HK for over 5 years, I still need more solid and systematic knowledge on finance. Now working in a Chinese investment bank, I think it’s necessary for me to enhance my finance background through HKU Part-time MBA program. So I came here.
3) Can you share us how has the programme equip your current role?
I’m now working as a sales in sell side. My job is to sell my expertise and products to those buy side investors. The curriculum in HKU MBA program helped me to work as a Finance professional. We have core courses to provide me basic knowledge that helped me to better understand the prospectus and research reports in my daily work. Others finance concentration elective courses, like Venture capital and private equity, Mergers and Acquisitions, hedge funds, that brings me a deeper and specific understanding of financial markets, from the perspective of each different angle.
Besides, I really enjoyed the Greater China Trek held by the MBA office. They invited leaders in different industries to share their working experience and life philosophy. I was impressed by the sharing from Henry Shi, a senior management from Haitong, another Chinese investment bank as a peer company to orient securities. That talk gave me more insights about the current situation and competitive advantages of peer companies in the same capital market, and thanks for the sharing, I could apply those relevant experiences to my current job.
4) Finance industry is being considered as an evergreen industry. However, the challenges it faces are huge. Given the experiences working within the industry, could you share the challenges you encounter in your role as a Vice President?
One of the challenges I’ve encountered is technology. The financial market needs more and more talented people with not only finance background, but also technology or programming skills, whether for stock trading or research. However, I had little knowledge about coding languages before.
Another challenge comes from the homogeneous competition among all the Chinese investment banks. It’s hard to tell the difference in terms of services, functions, systems etc. How to understand the trends of the industry, how to define the competitive advantages respectively, so as to find your own unique position in the industry. This is a problem that needs to be considered and solved.
5) Has MBA helps you when you face those challenges?
I was great inspired by the course Analytics for Managers, it’s first chance for me to get knowledge about python, though it’s quite tough for me at beginning, after several weeks learning and Practising, I find myself really into it. Python, as a tool, can make some of my work easier. Also coding language expands the dimension and way of thinking for me, helps with my logic and judgement.
6) Plenty of our applicants would like to use MBA as a door for career change, and the majority of them is to join Finance industry after they complete MBA. Could you share your advice to aspirants as such?
Finance is not just figures on the paper. It could be applied to many companies and industries, it is a method to capitalize an industry and make it grow faster. Many of my classmates are actually experts in different industries, such as pharmaceuticals, real estate, telecom, essential consumers, automobiles and so on. I believe, with the combination of professionals from different industry, together with the financial knowledge provided by the MBA programme, it will be a door of career change for someone who aims to land on a job in finance, or a stepping stone for those who would like to accelerate their position in a finance institution.