Andy has a Postgraduate Master of Arts in Economic Science from the University of Aberdeen. Following his graduation from the part-time Masters in Finance in 2008, Andy relocated to Hong Kong where he is now Director of Sun Hung Kai (SHK) Financial.
The impetus for enrolling on the Masters in Finance programme initially came from my wife. She was studying for her CFA at the time and kept asking me questions from her own course that I found difficult to answer. I had been working in finance for a number of years, but it was remarkably sobering to realise how little I knew outside my direct area of specialisation. Even within equities, there were gaping theoretical holes that I desperately needed to fill; you can only learn so much “on the job”. Looking back now, it seems silly that I thought I could advance my career without a firm financial base.
The part-time format of the programme appealed to me as I was living and working in London. Since I intended to continue my career in a similar industry, it was important for me to stay at work. I also wanted a programme that focused exclusively on finance. London Business School offers the top-ranked Masters in Finance globally and was easily my first choice.
Life as a part-time student is definitely a balancing act. I was holding down a demanding job at the same time as attending classes, completing assignments, and maintaining a relationship and a social life. I was careful not to over-commit to extra-curricular activities, but I did join the Investment Management Club. At one point the club ran an incredible event where I travelled to the USA to meet Warren Buffett. He was hosting a lunch at a golf club in Omaha and London Business School was invited to attend alongside the major Ivy League schools. I got to meet the great man in person and fire questions at him for over two hours – it was a genuine career highlight.
It’s pretty typical for graduates to want to explore new opportunities, whether in different fields, different roles, or different countries. When I finished my own degree, the EU was just entering the heart of the financial crisis and I felt Hong Kong offered me the new challenges that I was after. Over the last few years I have met with a number of graduates who are interested in working here too; I thoroughly enjoy helping the students who reach out to me. The London Business School network is very strong in China and moving forward, I will be using the alumni function more to leverage my own business.
I still don’t know everything about finance, but what I do have are the tools and understanding to explore and overcome the challenges I meet at work. There are so many different levers being pulled within the economy now, and not just in China. A broad understanding of finance has never been so important. FX manipulation, changing yield curves, options, volatility, mergers, acquisitions, IPOs, statistics, statement analysis, accounting frauds, quant analysis, monetary policy, fiscal policy, interest rates - I have used every one of the electives I studied.
My company’s main project at the moment is to revamp our research output to offer only genuinely unique products. We have devised a number of proprietary idea generation tools that are back-testing successfully and proving surprisingly popular with clients. The equity business for both the buy and sell sides is in a state of flux at the moment, but the analytical building blocks I took away from my degree mean I am nimble enough to continue evolving our offering.