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FinTech, Impact Investing, Entrepreneurship: Diverse Career Success For SAIF Graduates

More than just finance careers at top Shanghai school

Thu Dec 31 2015

Since the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance was established in 2009, hundreds of its graduates have gone on to achieve great career success, both in China’s financial sector and beyond.

Perfectly located in China’s foremost financial hub, Shanghai, SAIF attracts students from all over the world, who are eager to break into the competitive Chinese jobs market.

“The majority of our graduates have found jobs in financial institutions in China after they graduate,” says Gloria Wang, international affairs officer at SAIF.

“[SAIF] is highly recognizable by recruiters, as they believe the students have gained important insights into the local market.”

With the finance focused b-school boasting 100% employment rates for its full-time MBA and master of finance (MF) programs, students at SAIF can expect to land stellar jobs — and fast.

Bobby Huang, a 2013 MF graduate, recalls how he practiced “every possible skill required for any real-life working scenario at SAIF”.

“[The program] provided guidance and support, to better prepare us for facing real-life challenges after graduation,” he says.

Bobby’s experience prepared him well: he quickly landed a top consulting job at big four professional services firm Deloitte in Shanghai, before this year moving on to work as a business analyst for management consulting giant McKinsey & Company.

George Jiang’s career developed at the same break-neck speed.

He graduated from SAIF’s MF program in July 2012 and went straight into the graduate business development program at multinational media group Thomson Reuters in New York.

He remembers the SAIF careers councillors as “helpful throughout the job application phase, usually making introductions and recommending us to companies”.

George then relocated to Taiwan where he worked as business development manager for peer-to-peer lending platform Shacom. But he always knew he’d come back to Shanghai.

Today, he works at the cutting edge of finance and technology for Shanghai-based online lending platform Dianrong, known as the Lending Club of China”, a reference to the leading US online lender.

Lise Birikundavyi travelled thousands of miles from home and left a promising career with a top Canadian hedge fund to sign up for SAIF’s MBA.

“While studying finance, I had to be in Shanghai. It’s a hub,” she says, where she can craft a network.

SAIF was Lise’s route to her dream job: working with emerging markets. During her MBA she became a founding partner of EM Genesis, which links investors with growing and impactful companies in East Africa, and she also worked as a consultant for impact investing group Africa Impact.

After she graduated in 2014, Lise moved back to Canada to work first in private equity and, since May this year, as a senior analyst at fintech venture capital fund M2S Capital.

With more than 90% of SAIF’s graduates going into finance, the school boasts an increasingly impressive international alumni network for the financial world.

Yet not all SAIF graduates’ career paths are so aligned.

Like many of his peers, Vince Kott, a Canadian ex-professional golfer, originally joined SAIF to kick-start a career in finance. Yet armed with the business knowledge, financial skills and entrepreneurial confidence of an MBA, Vince returned home to set up his own business designing and manufacturing sporting products.

Whatever the industry, SAIF is more than happy to support its students in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Things are expected from MF graduate Helen Jihan Zhong, whose childcare business Nature Gift received around $80,000 in funding from the school. But the benefits of launching a career at SAIF extend far beyond funding.

“When I approach our clients and when I hand out my business card they say: ‘Wow, you have gone to SAIF?’” says Helen. “They trust my ability.”