Sitting in the Beijing office of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPD Bank), I was organizing and analyzing company applications for commercial bank loans. I typed financial data from the application into my computer and began calculating several key metrics to evaluate client’s financial situation, such as revenue, profitability and liquidity. Although I didn’t have the right to approve or reject an application, from those numbers, I saw vivid stories of different companies, and I understood that each operation I made would be relevant to their growth in the future. This was a typical day of my first internship in financial industry in SPD Bank, which is one of the earliest listed and the fastest growing banks in China. During the internship, I have gained exposure to commercial bank operations, especially the approval process for business loans. Also, as I witnessed a series of specially designed mechanisms working together to minimize risk, I began to understand how critical a strong risk management foundation is for a bank.
The following year I moved on to my next internship opportunity, working in the audit group of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Beijing. My responsibilities included drafting letters of audit inquiry, creating audit working papers, and editing PwC publications regarding Chinese accounting rules and regulations. In addition to gaining experience with external audit procedures, I learned several important lessons. First, it is one’s ethical responsibility to practice prudence and diligently seek out the facts of a business’ operations. While performing an audit, I discovered that the client’s management fees had increased significantly compared with the prior year. I reached out to the client’s finance department and discovered that the anomaly was caused by a rare company distribution bonus. When I reported this to my supervisors they were pleased by my attention to detail and my ability to resolve the issue independently. Second, companies’ various stakeholders, such as bank and attorney, should be further aware of the importance of external audit. For example, one of the major difficulties I experienced in my projects was the low responding rate of letter of audit inquiry. When I reached out to the receivers to follow up the progress, most of them didn’t think they had legal obligations in responding to the letter. Facing this situation, I think it requires not only public accounting firms to work more closely with a company’s stakeholders, but also relevant laws and enforcement to be in place to ensure the compliance. Third, teamwork is critical for success in business. I learned how to collaborate with other collogues in an efficient way. I also learned to put one others’ shoes and make compromise in the process of negotiation.
Exposed to the work environment at PwC as well as at clients that are foreign companies, I have strongly felt a more advanced operation and management system compared to my previous experience with SPD Bank. However, I know in China there are millions of local companies like SPD Bank: in spite of abundant capital and innovative entrepreneurs, the tremendous development potential is constrained by a lack of qualified people who are able to improve the Chinese capital market and to bridge the cultural gap between China and more developed countries. I have made up my mind to pursue further education in the United States after graduation from college. I believe that doing so will allow me to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to help China’s start-up companies reach their true potential. I choose to apply the MS in Accountancy program at Rochester Simon Graduate School of Business for its notable reputation in both academia and the business world. The rigorous professional training will help me achieve my short-term career goal of working for financial institutions that facilitate Chinese companies in international business.In the long run, I hope to participate in policy making for China’s financial industry in order to support its growth and prosperity. The program's focus on leadership and global perspective will help me achieve such goals. I look forward to sharing more with the admission committee in the interview.