Joining a student society: my experience in the Cass Chinese Career Society (CCS)
As an MSc Business Analytics student, I’ve found being a Co-President of a student society one of the most rewarding experiences of my studies, as I’ve allowed to practise some of the skills I learned in the events we host. One of the greatest things about joining a student society is that you get to surround yourself with amazing people. They are your peers, alumni or guests that you may never have had the opportunity to know if you hadn’t decided to click on that event link. They all shine in a way or another and may inspire you at some point in your life when you are least expected to be inspired but need it the most.
In a career-focused society like the Cass Chinese Career Society (CCCS), we are all working hard towards the same goal so you can find the support you need to pull you through the sometimes inevitable difficult times when you are overwhelmed by the interviews and tests that you need to get prepared for while carrying the burden of your coursework piling up.
Landing a job in China
The ‘Landing a job in China – International Banks’ webinar was the second in the series of employability webinars hosted by Cass Chinese Career Society (CCCS). For students who are considering a banking career, this webinar was particularly useful as it invited three Cass alumni who now work in HSBC and Standard Charted in China and are at different stages of their professional life.
As a quick response to the unprecedented change starting in March due to the pandemic, CCCS introduced a series of employability webinars that focus specifically on exploring job options in China. Each webinar was generally divided into two parts: a discussion of the alumni’s daily work life, their career advice and tips, followed by a Q&A session. With an economic outlook that may worry some students, at CCCS, we felt organising these webinars could help our current students gain insight from alumni to prepare for the future.
105 students joined the Wechat group chat for the International Bank webinar while 45 students joined live on Cisco Webex platform. This webinar was very well received by our participants. The group chat was filled with gratitude when the webinar ended with a few students commented it gave them a lot more confidence in job-hunting during this difficult time.
Top tips to securing a job in China
Aside from key skillsets such as communication, leadership, analytical skills and teamwork, graduate schemes for foreign banks in China pay great attention to whether the candidate presents a good match with the company culture. For example, HSBC’s culture is ‘Open, Dependable and Connected’, so it can be very useful to think before the interview about how one’s experience and the way you behave can show these key values. For Standard Chartered in China, the company prefers candidates with a more proactive personality and who show great potential for business expansion. Despite the positions being based in China, English will be used mostly throughout the application process.
Another great piece of advice we get from the alumnus is about application strategy. To better manage risk in the process, it is advised to divide the applications into top, medium and low levels of difficulty of being selected. If you are interested in a career in finance, you can try applying for positions in different sub-sections a bit more widely such as securities, private equity, venture capital, trust fund etc. and then compare the offers.
Learning more about the banking industry in China
In general, banks have a very clear career path such as ‘Analyst – Associate – Associate Director – Director – Managing Director’ while the name of the positions may vary across banks. People are usually promoted every 2-5 years depending on own performance. Graduates in international banks have overall good credibility in the job market and therefore more choices in their following career development.
The alumni also talked about the responsibility, challenges and benefits of different job positions they have been in such as front desk roles, credit analyst and graduate role in detail. A detailed summary of the webinar content can be found in this article in Mandarin.
Iris Wang, MSc Business Analytics