In the afternoon of 23rd April, many SAIF MBA applicants including overseas candidates joined an online dialogue with SAIF international alumni, as well as a Finance MBA program info-session. Moderated by Dorothy Huang, admission staff of SAIF Finance MBA, the event featured an inspiring conversation with Mr. Nick Laursen, Managing Partner at LvS Partners and Mr. Matthias Keschka, Associate Director at Fosun Capital. Both SAIF international alumni shared with the participants how the SAIF program has facilitated them reaching new heights in life and transforming career in China.
“Who is SAIF?” “Why SAIF?” and “What can SAIF offer?” Dorothy kicked off the event by informing the participants with the historical background, faculty, academic research and international collaboration of SAIF.
Founded in 2009, SAIF’s mission is to become a world-class institution of research and advanced learning in finance and management, as part of the effort to fulfill the national strategy of building Shanghai into an international financial centre. The world-renowned faculty of SAIF have in-depth academic research expertise, with more than two thirds of them received tenure at leading universities before joining SAIF,and their contribution to implement the best curriculum system to our students is one of the significant advantages that distinguish SAIF from other institutes. SAIF built cooperation with world leading universities to offer various kinds of international programs, among which 40+ international partners are MIT, Stanford, and the Wharton School.
Dorothy then introduced the Finance MBA program of SAIF. Being the first of its kind in China, the Finance MBA program aims to cultivate industry leaders well versed in modern financial knowledge. It is committed to developing financial talent with local impact and global competitiveness, as well as entrepreneurs and professional managers with industry knowhow, financial thinking and innovative spirit in the new context of finance.
When it comes to the curriculum design, SAIF’s Finance MBA adopts a “Finance+” fusion model based on the finance curriculum of top business schools such as MIT Sloan and the Wharton School, while taking into account the economic and financial realities in China. The Program offers over 90 courses ranging from the basics and specialties of finance, to general managementThere are 51 finance and industry-related courses, 22 business management courses and 15 practicals. On top of that, SAIF provides optional courses focusing on cutting-edge industries, such as big data marketing, Fintech & Tech-Fin, Sci-tech innovation enterprise, supply chain, energy finance, the clean energy market, and real estate finance, etc.
Students of SAIF can start with a crafted pre-studying plan to be fully prepared for their learning journey since June. Dorothy highlighted a novel module – Leadership Qualities at Gobi Desert Challenge. That wonderful trip to the desert always works in icebreaking, inspiration, and bringing everyone together.
Following the info-session, SAIF two international alumni shared their own experience of what they have learned at SAIF and career development after graduation.
Mr. Nick Laursen is a Danish national. 10+ years ago, he bought a one-way ticket and flew into China for a SAIF-Copenhagen Business School exchange program. As he told the participants, SAIF faculty is the best out of five schools that he has studied at. Especially the PE/VC course of SAIF, to him as a continuous learner, is phenomenal. And the inspiration that he got from the professor was exactly what made him stay in China.
In 2019, Nick co-founded with his business partner a PE firm. They focus on investing in innovative tech-companies in the areas like renewable energy, digitalization and biotech. Working in China for over a decade, their practical expertise has been building the success expansion of those companies into China, and have experience from 17 cross-border projects (ongoing and completed). The firm is now managing EUR fund and USD fund, while RMB fund is also on the way.
Mr. Matthias Keschka is a German national and has worked in Germany, Hong Kong, the US, India and Mainland China. When he came to China he compared all of the top business schools and applied for the Master of Finance program at SAIF. He was largely impressed and inspired by the whole learning journey. The fact that SAIF always encourages the students to take on challenges resonates with him the most. Together with four SAIF class mates, he took part in the 2015 Hult Prize and won the Asia Pacific Regional Championships, making SAIF the first Chinese champion b-school in this category, being invited to meet the former president of the United States and present in front of more than 300 renown business leaders in New York. As a student Matthias was also the first writing a thesis about impact investing in China, earning tremendous support and coaching from the professors.
Since there is a 70% overlap of courses between the MF and MBA programs, Matthias is no stranger to the MBA events. As part of the MBA team, he has joined the Asian Business School Desert Challenge three times winning two times as a team and two times as an individual. He was part of the team who set up the SAIF rowing club which is run by highly motivated EMBA & MBA alumni, representing SAIF in international competitions against Harvard, Cambridge and Oxford. Upon graduation, a professor recommended him to Mr. Xinjun LIANG, the CEO of Fosun International at that time and one of the SAIF DBA alumni. Matthias then joined Fosun as the assistant to the CIO. In this position, he dealt with a vast number of local and overseas investment projects of Fosun, including the investment into the largest Indian 3rd party logistics provider Delhivery, the acquisition of the German leading manufacturing system solution provider FFT, a JV with a Malaysian semi-conductor company, and the establishment of an automation and digital solution provider for the Chinese rice wine industry. Currently he is working at the private equity investment management team of the group, Fosun Capital, as the Associate Director being in China and investing globally.
The last part of the online event was a dialogue and both alumni representatives responded to the questions from the participants. (N: Nick Laursen; M: Matthias Keschka)
Q1: What made you choose SAIF?
N: When I got the chance for exchange, I evaluated Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore, as they are the three financially more developed cities in Asia. To me China is the center of Asia, Shanghai is the economic center of China and SAIF is the best financial institute of Shanghai. So it was only natural to choose SAIF.
M: First of all I was looking at many different master programs in many countries. And I looked at different options of schools in the mainland. I believe that SAIF had the best faculty and with a truly global vision which is the reason why I choose SAIF.
Q2: How did the SAIF program boost your career development?
N: The professor of PE/VC course used to be one of the founders of Apollo Global Management Asia. I benefited from him not only the knowledge in class, more importantly, his network that helped me start a new career in China.
M: SAIF often invites professionals to have in-depth sharing with the students. I find that very useful for the current equity investment job that I have. Besides this, the school always encourages communication and collaboration across projects. In my case, I got to make a lot of Chinese friends through different events like the Asian Business School Desert Challenge, the rowing club and the competitions we took part in. This really helped me to blend in, network and learn.
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