Launching an international career in investment banking

Master of Finance graduate Evan Zhang shares how his experience as an RMIT international student started a career in finance across China and Australia.

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Evan Zhang graduated from RMIT’s Master of Finance in 2009. After graduation, Evan returned to China to launch his career in Ping An Trust China as a risk analyst, where he successfully reduced the workload of the Risk Management team by 75% through renovating the financial risk models during his first two years.

Evan’s successes in the investment banking sector led him to executive positions in prestigious investment banking organisations across China and Australia.

"I went back to Shanghai after I graduated and invested more than 10 years in the investment banking industry in Shanghai and in Sydney, which ranked as a top career choice for Chinese business students.”

Since 2019, Evan has returned to China as the Founder and CEO of his own startup JobReady, China’s leading virtual internship platform that helps thousands of university students gain work experience before they land their first job.

We caught up with Evan to find out how RMIT’s Master of Finance has shaped his stellar career in business and finance.

What attracted you to study Business at RMIT?

We live in a business world. If technology drives the world, then we need to apply business-enabled technologies to advance and succeed. China's economy is still on a fast-track expansion and that means more business opportunities available to students.

I believe that to become successful, business should not only be learned from classrooms and textbooks but with real experience. Studying business and finance at RMIT offered a great commercial environment where you can not only learn from the classroom, but from interacting with the people in the Central Business District. 

What inspired you to study in Melbourne?

Studying at university takes years so it was important to find the right city. Melbourne is one of the top liveable cities globally so I could pay more attention to academic successes rather than managing any lifestyle variations. Besides, the similar time zone between Australia and China helped me keep connected with my family and friends.

RMIT also offered me a safe and welcoming study environment, which was the most important thing while I was considering studying aboard. I was also attracted to study at RMIT because it is located near the heart of the business district in Melbourne City. 

What was it like to study away from China?

I really loved studying in Australia. The major reason is because Australia is an open and friendly country that welcomes people from different cultures. I had the opportunity to learn and to make connections with people from all over the world.

I graduated in 2009 but every year I still meet and have reunions with those friends I made at RMIT.

RMIT student, Evan

 

We live in a business world. If technology drives the world, then we need to apply businesses-enabled technologies to advance and succeed.

What skills from your studies abroad gave you advantage over other job applicants in your field?

In one word, Empathy. Empathy helps you to think more comprehensively in a foreign environment and becomes part of your skillset.

Studying aboard means you will be away from your safety zone and you will need to embrace new people, new environment and new things. 

To be successful in your career, you may need to learn why others think differently and be able to put yourself into other people’s shoes. With empathy as part of your skillset, you will gain more insights and added depth into understanding your work and how to work other people. 

Because I was exposed to different cultures and mindsets almost every day while pursuing my business degree in RMIT, studying in Australia helped me to cultivate empathy and an inclusive way of thinking. I believe it is a core advantage over other job applicants.

How has your learning experience at RMIT prepared you for a career in finance?

I knew I would return to China once I graduated from RMIT, so the China experience had become crucial if I wanted to secure an ideal job in a Chinese company.

When I was completing my degree, RMIT partnered with a reputable Chinese University to offer a China Law subject. I benefited from that global opportunity arranged by RMIT.

What made you return to China to pursue your career?

I returned to China to work after I graduated from RMIT in 2009, and in 2014 I moved back to work in Australia. 

The first time I returned to China was because I was offered a great career opportunity in finance, and my international experience was a great advantage. 

I have returned to China a second time because I have raised enough funds from venture capitalists to launch my own start-up company JobReady, and I believe the company will be more successful in my home country. 

What would be your top advice to international students considering study in Australia?

Be confident and arrive early. Don't worry too much about your English level, you will quickly learn when you study with RMIT. RMIT International staff offer the best tier of support for international students, and some of them can even help out in Mandarin. 

As a Chinese-background student, I understand that academic success is our blood and university is the bridge that connects your knowledge to the real world.  My advice is to join student unions and interest groups – as many as you can to make the most of your studies abroad!

Student unions and groups are great experiences because they offer you opportunities to work in groups with different people in a protected environment. It will also help you understand the importance of empathy. Empathy is essential to career success.

Teacher and student examining a projected chart

Interested in a career in business and finance?

Discover what’s next with RMIT’s range of industry-focused business courses.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.