Meet the MBA Class of 2021: Shannon Wong, Imperial College

Shannon Wong

Imperial College Business School

“Typical INTJ who focuses on planning and getting results, bonding with others over ideas.”

Hometown: Hong Kong

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a big fan of Kevin Richardson, a wildlife conservationist who has devoted most of his life to saving big cats from canned hunting. I hope that one day I will have the resources to support the same cause.

Undergraduate School and Major: Upper Iowa University, B.S. Psychology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: AVP, Investment Banking at Fortune Financial Capital Limited

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Imperial’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school? Why was it so important to you? When I decided to apply for an MBA, I was unsure if I would pursue a new role in finance or make a complete career and switch to technology. Therefore, I tried to look for a well-structured and accelerated program that would enable me to explore my interests fully. As I researched different MBA programs, I was particularly attracted to Imperial College Business School’s unique diffusion of business and technology. The programme is  designed to provide students with ample opportunities to expand their network and apply their knowledge in these two areas.

I was also impressed by Imperial’s emphasis on individual career development. As I am about to make a significant career switch, I believed working with a career advisor dedicated to helping me define career objectives and brainstorm ideas would go a long way.

Additionally, beyond the business school, Imperial’s MBA offers students the opportunity to collaborate with its highly intelligent and talented students from other streams. I thought this experience would help expand my network and advance my career goals.

What club or extracurricular activity excites you most at this school? What spikes my interest the most is Imperial’s WE Innovate, and the Global Experience Week. WE Innovate is an accelerator of female-led startups at Imperial. This is a place where I can align myself with other female professionals with similar innovative spirits and explore innovative ideas that challenge the status quo.

The Global Experience Week is an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to local businesses and work in a team setting to solve real-life business problems. Through this activity, I will be able to put theories into practice and develop a more international perspective of today’s business challenges.

What makes London such a great place to earn an MBA? How have you taken advantage of London to further your business education? As an international business and finance hub, London gives MBA students access to the world’s leading companies, and many opportunities in Europe. London is where many renowned technology and financial companies’ headquarters are based. Additionally, numerous fast-growing technology and fintech startups have set up their offices in London. There are plentiful opportunities for students to reach out to or network with these companies to secure internship or full-time offers.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest achievement was during my first year as an Investment Banking Analyst at DBS Bank. Without relevant undergraduate study or work experience, I experienced a steep learning curve as a lot of the work was fast-paced and highly technical. I felt out of place, and many senior colleagues were often too busy to help me out. Therefore, I didn’t have a lot of instruction. I realised I had to learn quickly if I wanted to make a meaningful contribution.

Therefore, I signed up for an intensive financial training boot camp to build up my knowledge. And at work, I would ask my more experienced colleagues as many questions as possible to fill my knowledge gaps. Over the following year, because of the progress I made, I was given the opportunity to engage in more deals and able to work independently with minimal supervision. Additionally, senior bankers also nominated me as the mentor of the capital markets internship programme to help college interns develop their research and financial modelling skills.

For me, overcoming challenges outside my comfort zone has made me a more resilient, mature and a confident person. I have also become a strong believer in each individual’s ability; hence, I am incredibly passionate about helping my peers or my juniors to grow professionally.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have spent the last five years pursuing a career in investment banking. My role involved advising my clients on the deal structure and valuation and managing multifunctional teams in equity fundraising transactions, such as initial public offering, rights issue and private placements. I also had to leverage my network to identify strategic and financial investors for our clients and bring subscriptions in for our deals.

It was through this aspect of my work that I developed a deep interest in strategy, innovation, and leadership. Having been promoted to AVP (Assistant Vice President), I felt that it was the right time to focus on developing my strategic mindset and exploring new career ventures by studying for an MBA. I believe completing the MBA programme will accelerate my professional and personal development, helping me become a more effective leader and negotiator.

What was your defining moment, and how did it prepare you for business school? A safari trip to Sri Lanka Yala National Park made me realise the importance of wildlife conservation. I began to notice how urban development and the way we live has been damaging the ecosystem and destroying the places where many animals call home. Many companies and organisations have come up with innovative solutions for the problem, and I want to support and be part of these groups.

Since early this year and before starting my MBA, I have been helping a Ugandan eco-tourism organization with its fundraising. This experience has given me unparalleled insights into the struggles of locals who depend their living on eco-tourism and the disruptions to conservation efforts due to the pandemic. It has also inspired me to work on business solutions that are both profitable and sustainable during the MBA.


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