Asset Management (资产管理). What’s that? I had no idea of what I was signing myself up for. I did know one thing, though. I wanted to explore––by venturing into unfamiliar territory––and expand my limited skill sets via exposure to new, challenging situations. In essence, I sought to step out of my comfort zone. Taking this into account, Harvard China Fund matched me up with China Universal (汇添富), a Top 10 Asset Management firm in China with ~$190B USD in assets under management.
From the very first day, I was welcomed with open arms. David Huang and Beckee Hou, my mentors, provided me with a detailed company overview and introduced me to the entire International Business Department team. Despite our initial meeting, and future meetings, taking place on Zoom, I felt physically present at the conference table, sitting side by side with everyone––it did not feel like an e-meet at all!
As the sole newbie on the team, I worked hard to catch up: learning and developing a fundamental understanding of the basics of finance. I experienced an exponential learning growth throughout the entirety of my internship––there was always something new to learn about! The bulk of my internship work consisted of performing in-depth comparative analysis on equity investment strategies and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics among the U.S., European, and Chinese markets amid major macroeconomic disruptions (e.g. inflationary period, Russia-Ukraine war, supply chain shocks, etc.). Furthermore, I would oftentimes find myself falling down a rabbit hole of endless questions the more I tried to understand a particular topic. This was largely due to my inquisitive nature and dissatisfaction with the minimal financial data I found during my initial searches. Hence, to improve the quality of my equity research, I had to be creative with my approach and ask the right questions, so I could ultimately unearth a gold mine holding tons of valuable information. This, alongside the frequent communications with my mentors, is essentially how I contributed value-added work for my team.
All in all, I am incredibly grateful for an enriching summer experience that allowed me to grow personally and professionally. I owe many thanks to my wonderful mentors in keeping me on my toes with challenging projects and managing expectations. I now have a much better––maybe slighter better––understanding of some similarities and differences between the U.S. and China markets, albeit I am still a novice in the dynamically fast-paced world of finance.
This blog post was written by Tony Huang, Harvard College Class of 2024, and a participant of the Harvard China Student Internship Program in 2022.