M.S. in Commerce 2010 (Finance Track), University of Virginia
B.A. in International Economics 2009, University of Groningen and Fudan University
After: Shaw Kwei & Partners, Vice President (Hong Kong)
Now: London Business School, MBA Candidate (London, UK)
Leveraging economics with business
My undergraduate major is economics, which is fairly academic, with theories to explain macroeconomics. In business, my undergraduate studies help in understanding the big picture of a country or an industry, but help little with regard to the micro details of a company. The M.S. in Commerce helped give me solid business skills.
Most memorable class: Global Immersion Experience
I found the Global Immersion Experience (GIE) to be the most compelling class and Peter Maillet to be an impressive and helpful professor. GIE provided me with an opportunity to understand (in my case) Southeast Asia from an outsider's point of view and with opportunities to meet with businesspeople, professors, and others that a tourism trip could never provide. It was also a perfect combination of the academics and real-world experience, and thus was a unique value-adding class.
Preparation for a job in finance
The M.S. in Commerce Program provided a perfect transition from academics to business, from formal classes to informal networking events, preparing students to “hit the ground running” and reducing potential employers’ training costs.
The value of Commerce Career Services
Commerce Career Services was very helpful, providing me with lots of interview practice. The HoosOnline network also provided me with access to different companies. My current boss is, in fact, a Comm School graduate.
Advice for future students
Private equity, where I launched my career, is a learning experience. We never expect anyone to know everything upon joining the firm, but the potential to learn quickly and grow well-rounded is more important. Thus, academic experiences, communication skills, on-campus activities, and summer internships can demonstrate your competences.
Most memorable GIE cultural visit
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, was my most memorable visit. It felt like Shanghai in the 1980s, yet I could see the emergence of capitalism.
UVA’s Honor Code was very impressive to me, and has grown in me ever since. People can be dishonest in daily life, trying to seize short-term benefits, but I appreciate the long-term benefits of being an honest person, both in life and in work.
Favorite Charlottesville activity
Canoeing with my host family and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.