Master’s In Finance: Zijie Sheng, NYU (Stern)

Student Name: Zijie Sheng

Graduate Business School: NYU Shanghai and NYU Stern School of Business (joint program)

Describe Yourself In 15 Words: A thoughtful guy who has a deep love for the investment and financial world.

Master’s Graduation Class: 2020.

Undergraduate School and Major: Penn State University, Finance.

Current Employer and Job Title: Chuanghouse Capital, Investment Analyst.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Assisting a startup company with its Series A funding and successfully raising millions of dollars. My role in this project is developing supporting material, such as building a financial model and business plan. To do this, I had to understand the company’s business model and financial status deeply in order to prepare logical supporting material. Based on the past operating performance and the vision of the firm, we present the business form to potential investors in an attractive way by setting up its financial data and future sales pipeline of the start-up.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: My proudest accomplishment as a Master of Science in Quantitative Finance (MSQF) student was the capstone project we completed in the last semester. The project required fairly strong data analysis and modeling skills, and we worked with a real company to solve a real issue they were facing. Our team successfully built a precise forecast model for the company, which will improve the company’s predicting accuracy of its consuming material in the near future.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The MSQF program offered jointly by NYU Shanghai and NYU Stern offered a chance to study in New York City and build connections with Stern professors, while I was also able to find a job in Shanghai and focus on a career in the Chinese market.  For students majoring in finance, studying at Stern was a valuable opportunity for me to build connections with some of the most famous professors in the field. Also, the degree has helped me get a great job in China, where I live and have a network. Thanks to Shanghai’s well-developed financial industry, there are many exciting opportunities within the local market for finance students, so it was a great city to finish our studies and look for a job.

What led you to choose a Master’s in Finance over an MBA? From my point of view, this master’s program offered the academic knowledge I needed based on this point in my career. I wanted to learn more supporting skills for my career as I was starting out and the program helped me make a better decision in choosing a specific career within the finance industry.

What has been your favorite course and how has it helped you in your career? My favorite course is Emerging Markets Finance. This course offered me insight on how the Chinese financial market is different from the American market. Also, Professor Jean van de Walle, who is also a fund manager, guided us to understand the market and investment funds from the view of an investor. It was the first time I felt that I gained valuable resources and knowledge necessary in order to make better investment decisions. The course captures a great picture of how to manage a fund, and I want to be a thoughtful and analytical manager. I use these skills as a Fund Manager in my current job; I have to take a lot of factors into account and weigh what is the critical one to make recommendations and decisions.

What role did your school play in helping you to land your first job out of the program? NYU Shanghai’s Career Development Center (CDC) connected us to many financial institutions in Shanghai. Also, CDC often held career-oriented workshops and invited top companies to conduct campus hiring. Fortunately, through one of these connections I was able to successfully accept a role.

How did your classmates enhance the value of your business school experience?
The students in the MSQF program are all very nice and smart, and we had a wonderful time. They taught me many things, such as the importance of teamwork, how to communicate with others, and how to lead a team. I believe these are very useful skills in school and in our careers.

Who was your favorite faculty member and how did this person enrich your learning? Professor Jeffrey Wurgler, the program’s director, encouraged me a lot. During the capstone project, Professor Wurgler had several meetings with us to discuss the methodology from his practical and professional perspective. His advice at that time was very constructive for our early model building.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s graduate Master’s program? The NYU Shanghai – NYU Stern MSQF offers great opportunities for you to get into the finance world, and to find a finance related job in Shanghai.

What was your best memory from your Master’s program? Studying in New York City at the beginning of the program was a wonderful journey, and the first course, Business Communication, impressed me. The four-day course created a very close connection among the students. As a group of five, my team worked intensively from morning until night every day, preparing for our final presentation. The final project was to present the recommended strategy to align our favorite company with industry trends and it required numerous industry studies. We encouraged each other in the challenging times and had a very joyful teamwork experience.


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