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I’ve done an MBA in the US, should I work on Wall Street or come home to China?

An increasing number of Chinese nationals are doing MBAs in the US and other Western countries, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they should stay there to work after they graduate.

Ben Sopranzetti, Associate Professor of finance at Rutgers Business School in New Jersey, places about 30 to 40 students per year into Wall Street jobs, mostly via his alumni network.

He says many young Chinese prefer to get overseas jobs when they graduate, believing the opportunities on offer are better than those at home. “This is not correct. Both are equally valid entry points into investment banking. Opportunities in China are actually better – people there can face clients much earlier.”

More entry-level positions are opening up in China, says Sopranzetti, but foreign banks there are recruiting primarily from the best universities. “Students from a second-tier school have an uphill battle if they want to land a position in a bulge bracket firm.”

Wayne Hua undertook an EMBA from Rutgers and is now a SVP and head of advisory, sales, treasury & markets at DBS China.

Hua says compensation packages in the mainland are getting closer to those on Wall Street, especially at a senior level. “It was lower two years ago, but now it is ramping up.”

But not everyone with a foreign MBA finds it easy to land a job on their return to China, in particular those without any financial sector experience prior to studying. “China doesn’t have any talent shortage in entry level roles. Middle to high-level experienced professionals are largely in need,” says Hua.

As for foreigners who want to work in China, Sopranzetti comments: “Investment banks are also recruiting outside of China, but the candidates must be proficient in Mandarin. In fact, Mandarin is becoming a very popular language in colleges these days.”

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