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Comments (23)

May 31, 2012 - 3:49pm

just out of curiosity, why are you doing that? family? work? neither?

GBS
May 31, 2012 - 4:48pm

[quote=AndyLouis]lived in Suzhou for a year but went to Shanghai all the time, you'll have an amazing time, just watch out for the "gou rou"
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-04/21/content_12366087.htm[/quote]

What do you mean by "gou rou"? it is not mentioned in the article you linked. Do you mean "goo you" or "di goo you" (地沟油) aka recycled or gutter oil? Yes that thing is nasty, all the more reasons to find and stick to reputable sources, like Wal-Mart (seriously) or Carrefour.

I am much more disturbed by the defense of eating dog meats that is mentioned in the linked article.

Too late for second-guessing Too late to go back to sleep.
May 31, 2012 - 5:18pm
brandon st randy][quote=AndyLouis]lived in Suzhou for a year but went to Shanghai all the time, you'll have an amazing time, just watch out for the gou rou<br /> <a href=http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-04/21/content_12366087.htm[/quote rel=nofollow>http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-04/21/content_12366087.htm[/quote</a>:

What do you mean by "gou rou"? it is not mentioned in the article you linked. Do you mean "goo you" or "di goo you" (地沟油) aka recycled or gutter oil? Yes that thing is nasty, all the more reasons to find and stick to reputable sources, like Wal-Mart (seriously) or Carrefour.

I am much more disturbed by the defense of eating dog meats that is mentioned in the linked article.

lol gou rou (spelling?) is dog meat :)

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May 31, 2012 - 4:45pm

[quote=AndyLouis]lived in Suzhou for a year but went to Shanghai all the time, you'll have an amazing time, just watch out for the "gou rou"
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-04/21/content_12366087.htm[/quote]

Andy, just out of curiosity, I know you said in "your story" you moved to China to teach English for a year. Lately I'm all about doing something "crazy" (if you will) and ambitous like that. How exactly did that work? Was that like a program or something? Like I just can't think of how someone stumbles upon an opportunity like that.

GBS
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May 31, 2012 - 5:19pm
GoldmanBallSachs][quote=AndyLouis]lived in Suzhou for a year but went to Shanghai all the time, you'll have an amazing time, just watch out for the gou rou<br /> <a href=http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-04/21/content_12366087.htm[/quote rel=nofollow>http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-04/21/content_12366087.htm[/quote</a>:

Andy, just out of curiosity, I know you said in "your story" you moved to China to teach English for a year. Lately I'm all about doing something "crazy" (if you will) and ambitous like that. How exactly did that work? Was that like a program or something? Like I just can't think of how someone stumbles upon an opportunity like that.


hey GBS, give me a call sometime (# in pm) and i'll tell you the story, dont have time to write it up right now. or maybe ill do a part 2 on that post.

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May 31, 2012 - 4:53pm

interned there last summer and had a great experience, had great client exposure, stayed in swank hotels, etc. i think you get a lot more responsibility cuz the firms are smaller and the corporate culture in general is a lot more relaxed . im an ABC but i've always had a chip on my shoulder for not being fluent in mandarin so that's one of my goals as well. all of my extended family live in china but i never really knew them as I grew up in the states.

dont have anything lined up as most of the companies i contacted only wanted to interview in person. have some leads though so shouldnt be too bad. i'll probably be getting paid shit (prob same as an english teacher but it's still 3-4x what the average chinese college grad makes), and wont develop a great analytical skillset but i wanted to get better at the language and learn the business culture as im considering a long-term career there.

in any case it'd look good for business school if i decide to go back to the states. also the corporate culture is alot more relaxed, ex. less hours, people wear jeans to work, etc. so that was a factor in deciding not to go to HK instead. in the end i think its still a pretty comfortable lifestyle even if im not saving a lot of money. i went to a semi-target but this year nobody really went to my school except for boutique consulting firms so the opportunities in the US weren't really that great. the firms i did interview for didn't really think i wanted to work in the US, which was true lol

  • 1
May 31, 2012 - 4:59pm

additionally yeah i wanted to do something different than everybody else. finding an english teaching job is pretty ez just check craigslist, shanghaiexpat.com, thebeijinger.com, etc. if you go to a somewhat reputable school they will probably have some listings for SAT teaching jobs that will pay for your flight, housing, work visa, etc.

most of the non-ABCs i know in banking/consulting started off doing a masters at hopkins-nanjing or the one year intensive chinese program at tsinghua (IUP), OR started off teaching english and eventually transitioned into some sort of "business" role through networking. there aren't really that many IBD jobs on the mainland that would take a non-native Chinese speaker, but there seems to be a lot of market intelligence firms or consulting firms that help US clients learn more about different industries in china. it's all very interesting but you're not going to develop a great analytical skillset that you would in the US because things are less developed, and you'd have to settle for a local salary (8-12k RMB/month)

Jul 11, 2012 - 4:39pm

shit is rough in shanghai. interviewed with 5 boutique banks, some were pretty well-known but all said to spend some time improving my chinese reading/written wise. my resume is strong enough to get interviews and everyone was encouraging but language skills are a must, like many of the articles out there say. there are a few boutiques that hire native english speakers at the analyst level though so it is possible, but in general there just arent that many boutique banks in the mainland. my friend did a capital IQ run for both shanghai and beijing and only turned up 11 boutique banks for each, but there are def more. i've mostly found firms just by googling Cross Border boutique investment bank or Cross Border M&A.

some of the merchant banks need fundraising guys so that is possible as well but you need to time it right. unfortunately i dont have the money to just spend time learning chinese so will prob have to take a consulting job or even teach english (gasp) as a last resort. but i've only been here a month so it really isnt as bad as i put it out to be.

writing in chinese maybe isnt that important at Cross Border firms since a lot of it is pitching to foreign buyers/investors, but being able to do online research and due diligence in chinese is important. i imagine a lot of cold calling and due diligence interviews in chinese to dig up information is common as well which can be hard if the companies are small and run by local entrepreneurs.

any kind of PE/direct investing is near impossible for foreigners, though it seems more possible out of HK but only at a relatively senior level (VP and up) and even then most analysts are local chinese or local HK

Jul 11, 2012 - 10:47pm
highhater:

writing in chinese maybe isnt that important at Cross Border firms since a lot of it is pitching to foreign buyers/investors, but being able to do online research and due diligence in chinese is important. i imagine a lot of cold calling and due diligence interviews in chinese to dig up information is common as well which can be hard if the companies are small and run by local entrepreneurs.


It would be nice if you could just conduct due diligence by reading stuffs off your computers or speaking to people over the phone while sitting in the comfort of your air-conditioned office. Many foreign investors thought they could make money doing that, then they found out the hard way.

Good research China has to be done physically, in person. As in you need to be there on site checking out the company, talking to people there and chasing after them. Sometimes the company in question is located in the middle of nowhere off paved roads 20km away from the nearest town, well you get to do what you get to do and get your hands and feet dirty, literally.
In China companies often keep 5 separate books so you can never trust whatever financials they provide you with unless you have literally counted all the eggs yourself and then some. Doing business in China can be a long, hard slog and trench warfare at its best (or worst). That is precisely why you need to be fluent in spoken Chinese, perhaps knowing several other dialects in addition to to Mandarin depending on which region you cover.

Sometimes you really feel like you are in the Matrix, where what you see is not what is really there and what is there cannot be seen unless you really dig into the piles. There is no spoon, indeed.

Too late for second-guessing Too late to go back to sleep.
Jul 12, 2012 - 11:45am

wow, best of luck with everything man!

just out of curiosity, why don't you return to the previous firm you interned at in Shanghai? And wouldn't consulting also need a high level of chinese/mandarin skill??

Jul 12, 2012 - 12:15pm

Check to see if your school has a local alumni club/chapter in shanghai. If the college has a lot of international students coming in, there's usually some type of welcome committee in cities like shanghai. And that seems to be a good venue to meet alumni

Jul 13, 2012 - 12:08am

check out smartshanghai.com and enjoyshanghai.com. i've seen job postings there related to finance/consulting albeit with ambiguous responsibilities.

definitely work on your reading and writing man. even the foreign firms there value fluent mandarin skills, especially for ABCs like yourself. take classes at an university or do one of those language exchange programs to meet new people while learning chinese. kill two birds with one stone.

good luck bro. i've spent some time in shanghai before and would love to go back there someday.

Jul 13, 2012 - 3:04pm
swordfish24:

good luck bro. i've spent some time in shanghai before and would love to go back there someday.

swordfish, what's your avatar? I've seen it a few times on the internet and always wondered what it is.

My dad's working in Shanghai. I interned there last summer and the weather is absolutely brutal. Not to mention the ridiculous cost of housing. I dunno if I would go back to work full time.

Jul 13, 2012 - 4:38am

i couldnt return to my firm last year because i was the only analyst and when i left they had to hire someone to replace me. so now, they're full on analysts and even then the boutique doesnt do traditional investment banking, just fundraising. so basically you don't learn anything about valuation, modeling, etc.

consulting typically does require a higher level of chinese but the deliverables are all done in english for foreign clients so i imagine that's why they need a few foreign analysts who can write english reports well. same thing with banking, at least if they focus on cross-border M&A or raising capital from overseas investors.

i grew up speaking english with my parents but always heard it around the house so was able to take an intensive class at college and picked up the tones pretty easy, which is the main obstacle for most non-ABCs. a lot of people ask me if im taiwanese when they hear me speak because i inherited somewhat of a southern accent from listening to my parents.

i studied abroad in hangzhou for a semester then was here last summer and found a chinese gf, which helped my spoken mandarin skyrocket. had my first interview in chinese last week that went pretty well but they needed my reading/writing to be better. have two interviews next week, one with a consulting firm and one with an investment consulting firm. in general it is a pretty rough environment for foreigners since there really aren't a lot of finance opportunities in general. at the entry level you don't really have anything to offer except native english speaking skills and an american education. but they do value an american education which is why you'll get paid same as a masters graduate (8-10k/month) rather than a bachelors who would get paid lower.

if you're thinking of coming here then definitely spend all your time beforehand learning chinese. double up on chinese classes. even if you have taken all the chinese classes your school has to offer then do an independent study with a chinese teacher; most schools should have that option.

princeton in beijing is a good summer program. it is VERY intense. you have very little free time though and don't get to explore beijing/china too much (from what i've heard). there is a language pledge as well. a friend of mine did that after he graduated and came out being able to interview in chinese. he got a job at a hedge fund in HK and is now starting his own. albeit he got it through family connections and had no prior finance experience whatsoever. the tsinghua IUP program is good and so is hopkins-nanjing, but unfortunately i just didn't have the money to do any of them.

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