Born in Shanghai, Helen spent nine months between July 2011 and September 2013 interning at Chinese companies – Morgan Stanley Huaxin Securities, Kerry Logistics, China Universal Asset Management and Towers Watson. After gaining her BSc in 2013, she enrolled on the Masters in Management (MiM) programme the same year. During the programme she was offered a job at Pictet, a Swiss wealth management bank based in Hong Kong, which she starts in September 2014.
I was in my final undergraduate year at the London School of Economics trying to figure out whether to go straight into a career or to study a Masters. I looked back at the work experience I’d done, and decided that before looking for a job I needed to work on certain soft skills – presentation and group work, in particular – so that I would be ready for the business world. Knowing that London Business School is one of the world’s top business schools, I did some online research and found the MiM, which, with its broad-ranging and practical curriculum, seemed perfect.
It was also important to me to attend a graduate school, where students bring a variety of life and work experiences to the mix. I was looking to be part of a group of people from whom I could learn – people who would be able to give me all sorts of job-related advice. Sure enough, I quickly developed a valuable network. The student clubs are excellent. With the Luxury and Retail Club, for example, I participated in a “Milan Luxury Trek”, visiting the factories of Gucci and Fendi among others. Being able to witness close-up how a shoe or a bag is actually made exposed me to the craftsmanship involved in those high-end brands, and really deepened my understanding of brand management within the luxury retail sector.
I love city life. I was born in a Shanghai and I completed my undergraduate degree in London. And at London Business School you get the best of both worlds – it’s based in one of the world’s great cities, but the campus itself is friendly and intimate. There are a lot of social events, including weekly get-togethers for the School community, which are a great opportunity to meet new people and also to reconnect with friends that you may not have had time to catch up with during the week.
The Global Immersion Field Trip to Shanghai was an amazing and exciting experience. I’d done three internships in the city before joining the MiM programme. This was very different – it was more about learning and developing, and not just in an academic way. The whole week was very well organised, with time spread between Fudan University and local companies, with social events in the evenings. I particularly liked that the company visits concentrated on local Chinese companies rather than global corporations. We got a real grass-roots insight into how things work out there. It was an intense and stimulating week, packed with lively discussion with my classmates – we weren’t just talking about assignments, but exchanging views on politics, economics and culture.
The Career Services team at London Business School has been exceptional, especially when looking for a job. Although I’m almost fluent, English is not my first language, so it’s been really useful to be able to get feedback on my CV, covering letters and applications. Their response and support is excellent, and the team would reply to my questions with brilliant and clear advice. They also send weekly bulletins packed with useful summarised information relating to job searches, and provide training for interview sessions and assessments. It’s exceptional – by far the best career service I have ever experienced.
I didn’t expect it, but the MiM has really evolved my aspirations and goals. With the assistance of Career Services I applied for a wide range of jobs, and during that process I discovered more about myself and what I really want to do. Though I started out being interested in retail, I came to understand that my skill sets match better with private banking. Now I’ve been offered a job, at Pictet, a Swiss wealth management bank, which starts in September 2014. After a couple of years of working at the investment advisory desk, I hope to become a private banker. I know this is the path for me.
The main thing I’ll take away with me will be the sense of community. I have gained so much from the wonderful people that I am building strong friendships with. And with ongoing programmes including the MBA mentor scheme, the School encourages us to build upon that strong community feeling. I know I’ll carry that with me forever, whatever my career holds.