About Zane

Hometown: Ningbo, China
Current Position: Investment Banking Department at CITIC Securities
Previous University: Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE), Beijing
Undergraduate Degree: Finance
Q: Why did you decide to pursue a master's in finance?

A:  Even though I gained a lot of financial experience as an undergraduate, I knew that studying for a master's degree in the United States would give me more exposure to American financial institutions, and I wanted some flexibility to choose where I could live and work after earning my degree. Also, China is in the process of opening up its financial markets, which presents a great opportunity, but it means that all of us working in the industry need a greater understanding of international financial rules.

Q: What made the D'Amore-McKim program stand out?

A: The D'Amore-McKim MS in Finance full-time curriculum is quantitative and STEM designated, which means I had the chance to apply for the STEM extension to OPT and work for three years as a financial analyst or consultant in the United States after graduation. Boston is a financial hub, and D'Amore-McKim has strong connections to the industry—from international companies to small businesses and startups. 

Also, Northeastern has a well-built system to help international students get used to American life. The Graduate Career Center at D'Amore-McKim invites guest speakers, organizes networking events, and helps you with career preparation skills like cover letters, resumes, and so on. They also match you with a mentor so you have an inside access to your industry. My mentor was a director from Citizens Financial Group, and he gave me lots of useful advice for my job search.

Q: How did D'Amore-McKim prepare you for life after graduation?  

A: I received constant support and help from our professors. The faculty members not only supported us in academic ways, they also helped us in professional ways. Whenever I had any career doubts, I would consult with my professors and they would share their advice with me. 

I gained many quantitative skills, such as Python coding, that have helped me improve my work efficiency in investment banking. These skills are definitely a huge asset in my career because investment bankers are not looking for only a finance background; they look for new hires with a variety of finance, analytical, and technical skills.

Q: How has your MS in Finance degree helped you achieve your professional goals?    

A: After graduation, I returned to China and now am working in debt financing in the investment banking department of CITIC Securities. I am currently serving regional clients in Eastern China, mainly around the Shanghai area and helping them raise capital by issuing bounds.

I chose this job because with China opening its financial market and trying to establish its global presence, I felt that investment banking could start to develop quickly. Another reason is that it is a very challenging field. We have many responsibilities and sometimes it's a lot of pressure, but it is also a very rewarding industry. I believe that if I can survive in this kind of pressure, I can definitely survive in any other industry too.

Q: How did you improve your English language skills during your time at Northeastern?  

A: One of the most important parts [of my learning experience] was developing my English skills. After only one year in this program and in the United States, my speaking skills progressed a lot. I think I benefited from the small size of the class because I had the time to talk with the professors and my classmates.

Also, I participated in student clubs that helped me expand my social network. I really appreciated the International Tutoring Center, which provides international students with support as they improve their fluency in English. After graduation, I stayed in contact with some of their tutors and professors.

Q: What would you tell prospective graduate students who are considering the quantitative MS in Finance program at D'Amore-McKim?

A: I would encourage students to establish their professional goals as early as possible. Seek out opportunities for internships, because only through these experiences can you get closer to figuring out what you want from your career.

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