Program: International Finance
On Nov. 11, 2001, China, together with the rest of the world, celebrated its ultimate attainment of WTO membership. As a student majoring in finance, I, while praying for a bright future for my country, feel quite excited at the encouraging career opportunities made possible by the opening of China's financial sector.
I settled in Hong Kong with my parents in 1994. My middle school life was thus spent in this financial center of the world. My parents now operate several enterprises in HK and my growth accompanied that of those enterprises. I witnessed the entire process how my parents became established in their business. Meanwhile I developed my own strong interest in commerce, especially in finance, and cultivated my business intuition. In 1998, I took the university entrance examination (administered by China Education Commission) specially orientated towards overseas Chinese students and was subsequently enrolled in Tsinghua University as the 2nd top student among them. In this most prestigious university, I chose to specialize in international finance.
With its competitive environment and academic elitism, Tsinghua University helped me develop a mature character and lay a solid career foundation. Nevertheless, as Mainland China and HK differ fundamentally in educational system and textbooks, my initial disorientation resulted in my relatively unsatisfactory scholastic performance. Yet I had implicit confidence in my intelligence and my potential and with due efforts (doing coursework for an average of 10 hours a day was not uncommon) I managed to rank top 10% for the last year in a class of 30 students and was awarded HK PeiHua Educational Scholarship. This reaffirmed my philosophy of life: success comes more from diligence than from natural talents.
Finance is a subject posing high demands on the comprehensive qualities of a person. For a practitioner in this field, mere professional knowledge is not enough. Innovativeness, interpersonal communication, and business intuition are equally important. Therefore I participated actively in rich extracurricular activities. As Minister of Academic Exchange of the Finance Association of Tsinghua University, I organized a number of academic seminars and I was awarded Best Conceptualization for Tsinghua University's annual Business Plan Competition. I won second prize in the Academic Paper Contest launched by The School of Management in 2000 for my thesis entitled Insurance Securitization. I have been able to accumulate important practical experience over the past two years by undertaking estate project evaluation and analysis of securities investment for my parents' company, applying the theoretical knowledge I had acquired from my studies. By visiting the US, Thailand and other countries, I have developed an international perspective.
In terms of my career objective, I desire to develop myself into a successful financial. Currently, China is relatively weak in its financial sector, e.g. in the creation of financial derivatives and financial management. The Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 fully exposed the flaws inherent in the existing Asian financial market. Being a HK citizen, I particularly understood its disaster impact. On account of the historical and cultural affinities between HK and UK, I choose to pursue advanced studies in UK to major in and finance.
I plan to apply for a Master's Program at the reputed London Institute of Finance and Economics where I will receive the most updated professional training and enrich my professional expertise. After completing my Program, I plan to work for approximately 2 years in a multinational financial enterprise in HK and then embark on an MBA Program at a first-rate American university. Ultimately, I plan to take over my parents' business and transform their company into a major financial establishment.
Applicant: XX Program: Finance (XX)
Two decades ago when the Japanese commodities flooded the entire world, even the most imaginative observer failed to predict that China would supplant Japan to become the “world factory” that it is now. Similarly, although current international controversies about China’s financial industry are largely confined to whether China should appreciate its RMB value and open its financial market wider, who can bet that China will not become a leading international financial center in the near future?
“Impossible is nothing.” As a student of finance, I have implicit faith in China’s being the fastest growing financial market in the world. To become prepared for the advent of this historical development and play an important role in this process, I need to pursue advanced education in my area of specialization. On the other hand, the financial market of China has already produced some financial scandals comparable to the Enron/Arthur Andersen, Global Crossing and WorldCom accounting scandals. This is especially disastrous for a fledging market. While western countries have enacted a higher level of responsibility, accountability and financial reporting transparency on accountants and organizations, it is vital for China to learn from those measures. I believe that ethical standards are equally important in accounting education, along with learning accounting practices and principles. It is my strong desire to learn how to uphold the highest standards of ethics and to pass this knowledge on to my home country.
On the verge of completing my undergraduate program at the Department of Accounting of XX University whose financial management specialty is ranked first in the entire country in the most recent national assessment, I have decided that the MSc in Accounting and Financial Management of XX University is exactly the program that can satiate my academic and professional objectives. Reputed for its excellence in both teaching and research, your program furnishes graduates with theoretical and practical skills required of accountants and financial managers for success in the increasingly complex world of finance. Another fascinating quality is that through your program a valuable foundation is laid also for careers in investment banking and financial analysis. This career-oriented nature is what I appreciate most about your program.
I deem myself a most worthy candidate of your highly respected program not only because of the close connection between my current undergraduate program and your postgraduate program but also because of the excellence I have achieved in my program. With a GPA of 84.45/100, I am ranked top 8 in a total of 40 students in the entire grade. I have achieved especially high scores in three categories of core courses (dominated by presentations and case analysis)— (1) financial management, (2) finance, accounting, and auditing (3) mathematics, statistics, and economics. Plus a whole spectrum of advanced courses in my final year, this academic background corresponds perfectly to the course structure of your program.
One of the key developments happened when my distinguished performance in advanced financial management course qualified me, out of 80 candidates, for a 4-member team led by Prof. x x x , (chair of the department who taught the course) on a survey project concerning the structure of equity rights of China’s listed companies, a project commissioned by XX. Among thousands of the companies, we sampled the most representative 20 in each industry and collected their financial reports over the past decade. By applying statistical methods and excel software, we quantified the data and ferreted out their similarities and differences. Although our work was quite basic, collection and codification of statistics, I improved my fundamental ability to perform rigorous scholarship through effective and productive teamwork.
My academic career consists of many other important activities. Prior to the International Conference on XX hosted by our department, I helped doctoral students consult all the available relevant literature on the subject that enabled them prepare several high-quality working papers. In the “XX” University Thesis Competition this May, I claimed a third prize with a paper entitled XX. As CFO of the university’s English Club, I made the club’s both ends meet by winning sponsorship from local enterprises when I found membership fees alone could not support the club’s day-to-day operation. As vice chairman of the student organization Economics Association, I succeeded in securing the autograph of our association’s name from the Nobel laureate Prof. XX when he came to deliver a lecture at our university, giving tremendous encouragement to the members of our association. I have done extensive internships at XX City’s Development Zone, XX Bank (XX Branch), and China XX (XX Subsidiary), gaining insights into government finance, banking, and advanced financial management respectively (China XX being a leading state-owned listed company employing XX, XX, and XX, etc).
I love financial management because of its central importance in corporate development and its challenging nature. As the agent capable of optimum allocation of resources in a world where resources are rapidly depleting, a corporate organization depends on financial management as its “nerve center,” enabling the functioning of all other departments. Financial manager must have comprehensive knowledge about accounting and financial statistics, corporate financial procedures, securities management (including derivatives pricing and analysis of the market behavior of the financial investors), as well the macro market environment. For me, to be a successful financial manager means always keeping myself abreast with the constant changes in the complicated local, national and global financial sector. Under your program, I would like to concentrate on the following specific areas of study—value assessment, analysis of financial reports, theories of financial market and investment management, theories of corporate management and internal control.
To learn new and flexible modes of thinking and to seek constructive answers to some intriguing questions will be another important objective of my pursing a British education. For instance, in studying corporate management theories, we have to decide whether the maximization of corporate value means the maximization of the value of the shareholders or that of the people with related interests. The question itself is necessarily open-ended, depending on different premises and different economic environments. I am also interested in effecting some important transitions. For example, instead of learning how to calculate corporate value, I would like to probe in why corporate value is to be calculated the way it is. I believe that by helping me ponder on those issues, your program will teach me how to be more rational in my future decision-making processes.
It is true that UK’s Accounting and Financial Management is very advanced, far ahead of that in China. However, it should always be considered in particular historical, economic and political contexts. Any mechanic borrowing is bound to end up in failure. In my future career, I would creatively and constructively apply your knowledge and skills to the specific circumstances of China and I like to face the challenges that this will present.
In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith made the classic observation that individuals acting in their own self-interest can benefit society more than they expect to. I wish to become a well-trained financial manager, a profession that will bring me a strong sense of achievement. This is because, while enlarging the corporate value through my personal efforts as an individual, I will also achieve important self-actualization. This perfect fusion between corporate value and personal value is what your program will lead me to and is what your program is all about.