Jie Jiao worked for six years in sales, and hopes to use the skills that she has gained from the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance to become a high- or mid-level manager. After a competitive selection process, Jie is President of the Student Committee for the SAIF MBA Class of 2012.
She tells us what it’s like to study for an MBA in China, and about meeting billionaire guest speakers from Wall Street such as Andrew Fris, Eddie Soleymani, and Robert Gold.
What are the main features of your role as President of the Student Association?
SAIF Student Association (SSA) was nominated by the 2010 MBA students. The purpose of SSA is to support all the students on SAIF's different programmes. I was lucky to be selected as the first president of the young SSA. Most of the time, SAIF delegates student activities to the SSA to organize and we also give some support in relevant situations.
Before SSA was founded, each programme, such as the MBA and MS Finance had activities that overlapped. SSA reorganized these activities and has allocated resources more efficiently.
My role is to lead my six departments, which work for different projects. I also represent all the students, reporting and negotiating with the person in charge from each programme. Furthermore, I liaise with the administration and faculties, especially after running some quarterly projects and collecting suggestions or complaints from our students. My mission is to help SAIF to build up a good reputation among all the business schools in China or even globally. I am also involved in some international programmes, which help SAIF to build relationships with our partners.
What process did you have to go through to get voted in as president?
Our Preparatory Committee organized the selection process. The rule is that anyone can apply to be selected. Each person needs to hand in an application form. On the day, everyone will choose a number randomly and give a speech for not more than four minutes, in the order they have selected the number, and after that, there are two rounds of Q&A. The final result is shown on the board after the Preparatory Committee have voted.
What is the main event you organize each year?
This is our first year and I became the president on 17th, December 2011. I have organized six departments; clubs, sports and art, academic, secretary, communications, and liaison. There are around 24 members of the SSA.
- This March, we held a spring welcoming ball night, which included many fantastic shows given by our own students.
- In April, we organized an American Trading competition. The initial session was given in the SAIF lab.
- In May, we organized a discussion meeting with the representatives of each programme, face to face with our high level administration. We helped to resolve some internal issues and give more support to all SAIFers. In the same month, we held the dragon boat competition with other business schools, to celebrate the dragon boat festival. Besides that, we held our clubs’ open day to the public. We presented our 24 clubs’ activities and there were some talks given by our faculty to our current students, new students and external visitors.
- In June, we cooperated with AceBridge to hold a financial competition among 10 business schools in China. The final round was held at SAIF.
- July welcomed our graduation ceremony for our 2010 MBAs and MFs. SSA held a fantastic party for these students on 8th July. We will plan to have another clubbing competition in this Summer Vocation.
What was the most exciting speaker you brought in this year?
The speakers we had were Andrew Fris, Eddie Soleymani, and Robert Gold. They are famous traders in Wall Street, have worked for 10 years in the trading business, and are all billionaires. We learnt a lot from them and they brought their latest published books to us.
Why did you decide to do an MBA?
I have six years of sales experience, and I hope to end up being a middle or high-level manager.
Meanwhile, I want to focus more on certain industries and I think SAIF has an appropriate programme for me and it is the right time to get an MBA: when the job market is extremely competitive. An MBA degree significantly increases your chances in the job market.
What benefits do you see to doing an MBA in China?
I graduated from Oxford Brookes University, and I’ve had one year of experience working overseas. I strongly believe that local resources are very key for personal career development. The benefit of studying for an MBA in China is that it provides a solid foundation network and it is easier to adapt to the local business culture, especially in finance, where there is a focus on local conditions. We can see that there is a conflict and gap between east and west and it was especially widened in the finance industry.
Also, SAIF has a very good faculty, who are all from top business schools. In SAIF, I feel I can maintain both my studying and career planning.
This Fall, I have been chosen to do an exchange programme at Washington University. It is very exciting and I am looking forward to making more friends and enjoying my student life there. It has also fulfilled my dream to study in America. I think having a good education background is very important to switch into finance. When I have been interviewed by some companies, it is evident that studying at SAIF strengthens my application.