San Francisco, Calif.
Investment Guru, Adjunct Professor
As head of emerging markets at BlackRock Inc., Jeff Shen, Ph.D., runs investment in emerging markets from Chile to China, one of the most critical elements in the emerging market growth story.
A familiar face on Bloomberg TV, CNBC and other media outlets, Shen is one of the most sought after portfolio managers for up-to-the-minute global market outlooks and investment strategies.
"BlackRock manages trillions of dollars of assets for our clients and we think of it as an honor and a privilege," says Shen. "The most important thing for me is making a difference, not making 'X' amount of dollars. I want to help give people a better financial future and to be well equipped for their financial needs in retirement. That is a huge challenge globally as the world's population is living longer."
An economics major at HWS, Shen's impressive resume also includes positions as co-head of investments for BlackRock's Scientific Active Equity. He is a member of its Global Operating Committee and Asia Pacific Executive Committees. Shen is also an adjunct professor, teaching MBA/MFE classes on international investment at both NYU, where he earned his Ph.D. in 2000, and UC Berkeley.
Shen came to HWS from China as a mid-college transfer student in 1991 and found life in Geneva much different than in Nanjing, a city in eastern China with a population of seven million. But he also found, to his delight, that HWS offered a stark contrast from his higher education back home.
"The Chinese college system was focused on one discipline -- economics," he says. "Hobart was such a magical place that gave me a fascinating exposure to America and a broadening experience from both an academic and cultural perspective. It was certainly a transformational experience for me."
Since Shen came to the U.S., China's gross domestic product has gone up 15 fold, and while Shen admits that life in China could have been extraordinarily exciting as well, he "would not have had the global exposure and broader perspective on life that I have had in the U.S. I get to have the best of both worlds."
Shen's tenure with BlackRock dates back to 2004, including his years with Barclays Global Investors (BGI), which merged with BlackRock in 2009. At BGI, he was the Head of Asia and Emerging Market equity investment. Prior to joining BGI, he was the global head of asset allocation research and macro absolute return investment at JP Morgan Asset Management.
After earning a master of economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he began his investment career, working in hedge funds, risk management research and macro investment functions for JP Morgan in New York and London.
At this point in his career, Shen feels extraordinarily blessed with what he does and what he has. "If I could freeze my life at this point, I would be very happy for the rest of my life."