Why MBA: CEIBS
Chris Wong (centre) with CEIBS classmates. He chose CEIBS because he wants to make a career in China
Chinese-Canadian Chris Wong never considered the MBA as an option until he began working extensively on the biggest bankruptcy in the world and watching the boom of the Chinese market.
Chris, 29, thought he was done with schooling when he graduated from McGill University, Canada with a BCom in Accounting.
He was eager to get into the workforce at a top accounting firm once he had graduated from university. He secured roles within the audit practices of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte & Touche in Toronto.
After a few years of working in the accounting industry, he knew there was a lot more to discover so he began researching ways to move his career into the finance industry. So, having qualified as a chartered accountant in Canada, Chris decided to relocate to his birthplace Hong Kong, to get in on the finance action over there.
He joined KPMG as an Assistant Manager in its Transaction and Restructuring Services. He worked there for nearly three years during which he was heavily involved with the Lehman Brothers liquidation, the biggest bankruptcy the world has ever seen.
During this time, Chris managed millions of distressed assets which Lehman’s Asia Special Situations Group had previously invested in. This involvement sharpened Chris’s interest in finance and made him consider various routes he could take to break into the industry.
Having lived and grown up in the Western world, including attending boarding school in Bedford, Southern England, Chris did not want to pursue his MBA in Europe or North America. He wanted to develop his career in the Greater China region post-MBA, so CEIBS in Shanghai was his top choice.
“CEIBS was the only school I applied for. I wanted to learn about Chinese business culture, grow my personal network in mainland China, and continue to live in a big city”, says Chris.
He added, “CEIBS certainly fit all of my criteria. With China expected to overtake the US as the world’s biggest economy, one can’t go too wrong with the best business school in the country!”
Chris was not disappointed by his CEIBS MBA experience. He loved the small class size where everyone really got to know each other and build friendships which he is sure will “last for a life time”.
His fondness for CEIBS grew even more during his exchange programme at Kellogg Business School. The CEIBS MBA programme has bilateral exchange programmes with 30 leading business schools around the world and allows students to take an exchange term abroad.
“While I fully enjoyed my time at Kellogg, I came to appreciate CEIBS even more. I was able to learn from cases written on companies from China, US, and other emerging markets at CEIBS, while at Kellogg cases were mostly on US companies. In addition, while schools like Kellogg have a huge alumni base in the US, CEIBS has a much bigger alumni base in mainland China. You will find that many C-level executives in China are actually CEIBS alums”, says Chris.
Chris was also very involved in extra-curricular life at CEIBS and held various leadership roles in several MBA clubs. He was President of the Tennis Club, Vice President of the Finance Club and amongst the organizing group of INNOVATEChina, CEIBS's very own global business competition.
During January 2010, Chris organized and led a Finance Career Trek to Hong Kong where a group of 24 CEIBS MBA students visited and met with representatives from leading investment banks such as Nomura, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital to explore career opportunities in their investment banking divisions, private wealth management, investment research and sales and trading.
A further highlight of Chris's time on the CEIBS MBA was representing CEIBS, along with two other classmates, at the second Asian MBA Stock Pitch Competition, held at National University of Singapore. They progressed to the finals, outperforming teams from other top Asian business schools such as HKUST and Peking University along the way.
Chris’s summer internship was at CIMB, the Malaysian Bank which recently announced its plans to buy Royal Bank of Scotland’s Asian investment banking assets. He was based in Hong Kong and worked in Equity Research focusing on the China/Hong Kong consumer staples sector.
Having completed all his classes in February, Chris is now exploring employment opportunities. Despite the headcount freezes and continual rounds of cuts made by investment banks since late 2011, he has managed to get interviews at several research houses, as well as a few private equity and venture capital firms.
“I am confident that with my work experience, my qualifications as a Chartered Accountant, and an MBA, I will be able to break into the finance industry despite the market conditions”, he says.
Chris has since rejoined CIMB as an Assistant Vice President in Equity Research, and covers the China/Hong Kong consumer sector
Read more about the reasons people head to business school in the Why MBA section
Why you should join BUSINESSBECAUSE...
Connecting people before, during and after b-school
Build a network of useful connections
Gather information & get weekly newsletter
Get job and b-school application tips
Read real life stories published daily