Hometown: New York
Studied: Lehigh University, U.S.
Languages: English and Korean
Interests: Golf, snowboarding, non-fiction literature and travel
I was born in New York and spent most of my early childhood there. I moved to Pennsylvania for high school and stayed to study at Lehigh University where I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics, majoring in accounting.
Finance wasn’t my initial career path. My original plan was to study biology with the goal of entering medical school to become a doctor. That changed after my first year when I realised that although I enjoyed science, that particular path wasn’t for me. So I changed track, turning instead to a typical business-focused curriculum involving finance, accounting, economics and marketing.
I had the opportunity to work in finance in New York first as an intern right after university which set me on the path towards Hong Kong and to joining CLSA Capital Partners in December 2015. I’d known about the firm for quite some time, primarily from the research and brokerage side of the franchise.
My decision to join CLSA was based on a number of factors including the people I met during the interview process, the scope of my current role and the overall potential for growth, all of which contributed towards my decision to join the company.
In the short time I’ve spent with CLSA, I would have to say I’m impressed by its entrepreneurial culture and business-enabling and lean structure, in terms of management and decision making. This allows the firm to be nimble and lends itself to timely and opportunistic decision-making.
My advice to graduates seeking a career in finance in a hiring environment that is so hyper-competitive, is to learn to be proficient at Microsoft Excel. It’s the baseline for most graduate skills nowadays, and if you aren’t at that level, and you’re looking to enter finance, you’ll already be a step behind. Be well read, keep up with current events and be sure to demonstrate that you are driven, resourceful and proactive to potential employers.
I actually do draw on my academic qualifications in my daily role to a certain extent, but its less important than the practical skills I’ve learned, and how to apply those skills. I think it’s more important to demonstrate an aptitude for learning new things quickly, and being able to apply them to your job, than what you learn at university.
My biggest learning curve was in 2008 when I moved to Hong Kong from New York. It was right in the middle of the global financial crisis and getting acclimated to a foreign place, personally and professionally, took much longer than I originally anticipated. Everything was so different and seemed challenging at the time. Now in hindsight, I’m very happy I made that decision.
My proudest achievement is being a husband, and a father, and everything that entails. After a busy day, I like nothing better than spending time with my family.