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Zhiwei Jiang

Subject: MSc International Management

Graduated: 2007

Place of Work: Bank of China International

Position: Research Associate

What were your main reasons for choosing Royal Holloway?

First for the reputation. Royal Holloway had a great sense of history and tradition, and my friend had recommended that I study somewhere with history and culture. Second, the university is very near London, the financial centre of the UK. As my interests lie in the financial sector I wanted to be close to the city.

What was challenging about studying abroad?

I had learnt English before coming to the UK, but that doesn’t prepare you for the difference in culture, and the different attitude towards learning. The professors at Royal Holloway are very friendly. You can pick arguments with them and chat about the course, and they will discuss fresh ideas and new topics with you. So you don’t just find out about what’s happening right now, but what will happen in the future. In China, the attitude is more orientated towards the teacher giving you the right answer, so there’s a lot less independent thinking.

Fortunately, before I started my Masters I attended a pre-sessional English course that took place at the College, so I was able to improve my English and have two months to prepare for the course.

Why did you choose International Management?

The School of Management at Royal Holloway offers a number of Masters courses, but International Management was the one that enabled me to build upon my finance knowledge by taking more courses in this area. Prior to starting at Royal Holloway I was working with a trust company, a financial company dealing with stock investment. But I found that I liked trading much more, so I decided to study in that area.

What was your favourite aspect of the course?

The professors arrange teams to work on different projects, so the time spent discussing the topics with classmates was probably my favourite aspect of the course. I think that being part of a team makes you work harder and produce better work. You will find in your career that you have to work as part of a team, so it’s a very valuable skill to develop whilst you are studying. Professors are willing to recommend additional reading to help you develop academically as well, which is great when you are pressured for time!

Have your studies helped in your career?

My studies are definitely helpful in my career, especially the independence that you acquire. At work, no one is going to tell you what to do so you have to be able to think for yourself. But you also gain independence from living by yourself, because when you first arrive you are completely by yourself. You learn to cope because you have to. In terms of the course itself, the Global Financial Markets module, specifically covering portfolio investments, is very helpful and relevant to my current job.

Do you have an outstanding memory from your time at Royal Holloway?

My outstanding memory is the graduation ceremony. My parents and wife flew to the UK for the ceremony. When you work and study as hard as we all did you get a great sense of satisfaction when you have finished, and you can look back with pride at your achievements. During exam periods we were spending so much time in the library preparing, but then you get out the other side of it and it’s amazing. It was a great day.

What does your current role involve?

My work at the Bank of China International is focused on commodities. Many people are familiar with stock because it’s quite straightforward – you know the company and you buy the shares. But commodities are very special for investors; the price is so closely linked with your daily life. When you buy a cup of coffee, for example, that’s pushing the price of cocoa up and somebody, somewhere makes some money. People aren’t so familiar with commodities, so I advise people where to invest their money. My daily work involves analysing the markets and trading on behalf of the investors.


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