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Hong Kong co-op leads to brokerage job

Jimmy Weng, BA’07, has an ambitious plan for his life: See more; do more.

“I always want to be on the move,” he explains. “I always want to be learning something new.”

He had the same philosophy as a Northeastern undergraduate majoring in finance and insurance. So it was no surprise when he took a co-op position with Morgan Stanley—and no surprise that the job was based in Hong Kong, one of the world’s great financial hubs.

On co-op, Weng pitched business ideas to Asian hedge-fund clients and provided capital-raising support to institutional investors. After just a few months in, Morgan Stanley offered him a post-graduation job as a prime brokerage associate. He quickly accepted, even though it meant deferring his studies at Harvard Business School for two years (he’ll enroll in its MBA program this fall).

“Not only am I building relationships with hedge-fund managers and regional investors,” Weng says of his stint at Morgan Stanley, “but I’m learning in a smaller team setting than if I were working in the United States. The exposure to various teams within prime brokerage is much wider.”

Global financial problems have taught Weng other lessons, too. “We can’t take on or provide as much leverage as we used to,” he says. “We have to be much more selective in taking on new business, while making sure our top clients are adequately serviced.”

Weng’s Hong Kong experience has accelerated his career development. It’s also given him a greater understanding of the human condition.

“Hong Kong is very fast-paced, very vibrant,” Weng says. “It could take ‘the city that never sleeps’ nickname away from New York City. But there’s still a lot of poverty. Until you live in these situations, until you really feel it and recognize the struggles of the Hong Kong people, you can’t truly understand it.”

Before joining Morgan Stanley, Weng completed co-ops at Fidelity Investments, working as a fund accounting analyst, and at Lehman Brothers, working as part of the equity swaps and derivatives team.

Now, as he enters the next phase of his professional life, he has broader goals, for himself and for the world. To prepare himself to become a thought leader within the financial industry – perhaps he will return to MorganStanleysometime in the future, he says – he’s going to spend the next few months in Beijing, researching Chinese government policies and economic plans, and studying Mandarin at Peking University.

“I want to travel and learn as much as I can so I can create opportunities,” Weng says. “I want to be the change I want to see in the world.”