The students lined the middle of the wooden-floored hall in their droves. The red colours of the Shanghai business school glittered against the backdrop of black suits and white walls.
The 375 students were about to graduate from the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance, the postgraduate finance arm of the wider Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
The splendour of Wenzhi Hall in Jiaotong University, in the eastern reaches of the city, made for a fitting send-off for the legion of financiers.
You do not have to travel far from Jiaotong’s base to find a plethora of banks and finance houses dotted along the banks of the Huangpu River. They mark a cut of China tailored to the budding advisor, analyst or broker.
The shindig was a vital part of the business school’s blueprint. SAIF has the ambition to become the world’s leading finance masters providers.
The school has come a long way since it launched its inaugural programs were launched in 2009. This year it pumped out 225 Finance MBA graduates, 109 Finance EMBA graduates and 41 MF graduates.
Shen Jibing, director of the school’s Career Development Center, said that although employment has been in a difficult situation in recent years, most full-time MBA students who had worked in non-financial industries have succeeded in finding core potions in the finance industry.
The employment rates and the ratio of students successfully shifting to the finance industry remains above 90%. The school claimed last year that 100% of their 2013 MBAs had signed MBA job offers by August 2013.
They have been propelled by a booming Chinese economy and rapidly developing financial sector in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.
Professor Wang Jiang, Dean of SAIF, encouraged his graduates to make good use of the opportunity afforded to them by the booming financial industry.
Zhu Jian, deputy secretary of the CPC Committee of SJTU, said that SAIF was established by the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government to achieve the nation’s strategic goal of establishing an international financial centre, adding that the coming decade would be the Chinese financial industry’s bursting point.
But he also pointed out that changes are needed. Prof Wang said the Chinese economy needs a modern financial system, and that the risks inherent with the marketization of the financial sectors, including that of interest rates, exchange rates and risk premiums, will need to be avoided.
He added that a market melding between China and other global financial markets, including inward foreign investment, is a must for the development of the country’s economy.