Andrew Chen is one of a group of full-time MBA students from Sydney’s Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) working to launch a new cryptocurrency fund, tapping into the hottest buzzwords in fintech—bitcoin and blockchain.
With new developments in financial technology, cryptocurrencies have truly taken off. You can invest in bitcoin, litecoin, and ethereum on your phone. At some business schools, you can even use bitcoins to pay for your tuition.
Andrew worked in IT services and ran his own alternative investment firm in the US before relocating to Australia for his MBA. He’s using the entrepreneurial environment of business school to explore new opportunities in blockchain and artificial intelligence.
He’s also considering a career in consulting. AGSM—ranked the best MBA program in Australia by the Financial Times—boasts close connections with the big three management consulting firms; Bain, BCG, and McKinsey.
BusinessBecause caught up with Andrew to find out more.
Where are you at right now with your cryptocurrency fund?
We're hoping to have the fund up and running before we graduate so we all have jobs! We’ve been interested in cryptocurrency for a while and decided it would be exciting to raise our own fund.
There’s quite a bit for us to do in the process of raising the fund. The MBA has introduced me to frameworks and models that I can use to build out the business—like creating a Business Model Canvas to sketch out my initial strategy; using Excel to build a financial model; and creating a marketing plan for the fund.
It has also given my access to smarter minds than my own through professors and the cohort. I lean on them to critique what I’ve done in building the fund.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at AGSM?
About a year before I started my MBA, I happened to be visiting Sydney and dropped in to visit the Australian Graduate School of Management. Six months later, one of their recruiters met with me in DC and convinced me to apply. I hadn’t considered an MBA program outside the US, but Jayne is very persuasive!
I was hoping to make a career change to consulting. AGSM has an excellent reputation for turning out quality consultants so attending was really a no-brainer. Also, I don’t like winter, so the warm weather and beaches made AGSM an easy sell!
What stands out from your AGSM MBA experience so far?
My classmates. I have access to so many accomplished individuals in one place. Being in class and learning from them has been a huge benefit for me.
One highlight for me was the PwC Case for Change. That was very exciting because I had the opportunity to work with some of the brightest members of my cohort. Being named the winner validated that I can work with the best and positively contribute.
Without my MBA at AGSM, I wouldn't have met classmates that encouraged me to start a fund. I’ve really gained a wealth of experience that I could not have gotten elsewhere. I want to travel to as many countries as I can and, because of the MBA, I now have private tour guides to more than 20 countries around the world!
What advice do you have for anyone considering an MBA?
Approach the MBA with an open mind and give every opportunity a try. I came into the MBA with the view that I wanted to be a consultant; now I’m trying to start my own cryptocurrency fund. If you’re unwilling to keep an open mind, you’ll shut yourself out of potential prospects.
Another important aspect for anyone considering an MBA is whether they can adopt an adaptive mindset. An adaptive mindset is useful when working in teams, becoming an effective leader, and being an empathetic communicator.
It’s always difficult when deciding on a school, but I highly recommend reaching out to as many alumni as possible. It helps to build a portrait of the culture of the program.