by Elliott Harland, MiF 2018
One of the great things about LBS is that you can go to any country in the world and all of the best companies will welcome you with open arms. This year I was one of the three leaders of the Hong Kong Asset Management Trek. The trek caters for those who are interested in pursuing a career in asset management in Hong Kong or those who just want to broaden their knowledge. As the trek is one of the first treks to take place of the year, primarily due to the early recruiting season in Asia, we had only 6 weeks to prepare all aspects of the trip (companies, candidates, timings – the lot!). So the pressure was on.
The leadership team was represented by three programs (MiF, MBA, MFA). With a lot of work and coordination, including a helping hand from the China Club, the Career Centre and personal contacts we managed in a short space of time to put together a list of 17 confirmed funds. This included world-wide names such as Fidelity, Marshal Wace, Invesco, PIMCO, etc, etc (in fact, the whole list is impressive). Additionally, we had contacted and organised three social events with LBS Alumni based in Hong Kong – this included a lunch put on by a Hedge Fund named Optimas (the largest Hong Kong hedge fund launch in 2016), which was created and run by LBS Alumni! This is a testament to the far-stretching reach of the London Business School brand as well as the interaction between programs and Alumni.
With 17 funds to see in 5 days, the days were action packed. As we shuttled around Hong Kong, we could see first-hand what it would be like to work and live there. The skyline is one of the most impressive that I have seen and we were fortunate enough to be able to observe it from many different angles on our travels. The company visits were no easy ride. We were given the audience of division heads, portfolio managers, and CEOs of some of the largest managers in the world! If you are looking for a unique insight into the way that asset management works in Asia – look no further! The trek attendees consisted of 13 participants, ranging from post-university (MFA, MiM) to post-experience (MiF, MBA). This led to diverse and interesting conversation for all.
From an academic and a professional point of view this trip was priceless. There will be rarely opportunities to meet with some of the most pivotal players in asset management. With both China opening its doors to investment and expansionary regulation, Hong Kong is really in a unique position. I was able to make more connections in one week than I have ever in my life. Additionally, taking on a leadership role helped encourage further trust from the senior figures that we met which will be hugely beneficial for future relationships.
As a newbie to Asia, the highlight for me was to experience the hustle and bustle of a new city. Many of the company visits were in high skyscrapers which offered fantastic views. Our travels to-and-from were a mixture of trains and taxis which gave a real overview of the city. Additionally, the night-time atmosphere was energetic and I particularly enjoyed my time on LKF which draws attention from all over the city.