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SAIF Attracts MBA Students Keen To Become Future Financial Leaders

Students see Shanghai school as China's gateway to careers in finance

Mon Nov 30 2015

An MBA at the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance is a popular choice among ambitious MBA candidates keen to become future financial leaders.

The relatively new program — established in 2009 — has quickly become one of the leaders in its field, renowned as a gateway to careers in China’s large financial sector. Yet with increasing numbers of Asian schools offering highly-regarded MBA programs, the competition to attract applicants is rife.

BusinessBecause spoke to a number of the school’s former students to ask them why, when faced with the choice of hundreds of top business schools world-wide, they chose SAIF.

“SAIF is the top finance institute in China,” says Ying Hu, a 2014 MBA graduate who secured an internship at China’s Industrial Bank. For Ying, SAIF was the perfect place to launch a banking career. “I wanted to break away from my original way of life, and to challenge myself.”

Yingzhen Hu, a 2014 MBA graduate who moved to Shanghai with ambitions of becoming a fixed income fund manager, says: “This city has a very bright future ahead. I wanted to change my function and my work place, and enrich my financial and management knowledge.”

Former molecular geneticist, Wang Xiaoyan, chose SAIF for the pure finance concentration, which helped her to move into the industry and join a biomedical venture capital fund. “The SAIF MBA is so rigorous and systematic on all aspects of finance,” she says. “It’s given me a great financial analysis framework.”

Nancy Liu, a 2012 MBA graduate who now works as investment manager for Comway Capital Group in Shanghai, agrees. “The specialty of finance closely matched my career plan. My course-mates were all finance-related; some of them worked in the finance industry and some of them intended to after graduation.”

Yet not all SAIF MBA graduates go into careers in finance. Vince Kott, a Canadian former professional golfer turned market trader, originally joined SAIF to kick-start his career in China. Yet after having profited from his MBA experience, the high-flying entrepreneur returned to Canada to start his own businesses — Kott Sports and Hornet Watersports — which design and manufacturing sporting products.

“SAIF has internationally-renowned professors, great buildings, and impressive learning technology,” he says. “Even though the school is very young, you can tell its reputation is going to grow.”

For most of its graduates, including Vivian Tang, a former tax consultant at PwC, studying for an MBA at SAIF was an unforgettable experience.

“It exceeded my expectations in every respect. I took courses taught by the most famous professors in each field and I made friends with fantastic people.”