Below are first person stories of life after HWS from recent graduates. Check back each Friday for a new profile.

Jesse Leiter '09

Jesse Leiter '09

Current City: Hong Kong
Individual Major: China in the Global Economy, Minor: Economics
Current Position: Regional Product Manager, Asia Ex-Japan Equity Research, JPMorgan
Age: 24

Playing college hockey was the sole reason I decided to attend HWS (…okay fine, the beautiful campus didn't hurt either). However, a push from my father to learn Mandarin Chinese (I thank him every day for this) soon altered that original reasoning. My collegiate objectives became completely restructured and within a year or so, I was one of the few lucky enough to know exactly what I wanted to do.
I found both the study of economics and international relations incredibly tangible. Being able to understand why things are the way they are and trying to see how the world and dissimilar markets operate through different cultural lenses seemed applicable toward succeeding in any desired profession. It would make one more aware, and in an increasingly more connected world, this was surely relevant. Being able to understand influences on global pricing, how companies strategically cut costs to grow margins by sourcing from overseas, the headwinds that may result from an appreciating currency in emerging markets for an importer in a developed market, or even the fundamentals in the valuation of different asset classes, seemed crucial in grasping not only global economies but ultimately, what drives economical, political, and social outcomes in the world.  Realizing the increasing growth disparity between developed and emerging markets, China certainly held the crown in my mind in terms of potential for change and opportunity.  Thus the rising importance of Mandarin Chinese initiated my interest in the language, eventually leading to an overwhelming passion for studying the people, culture, and history.
With this in mind, the financial route offered me the best of both worlds (finance and Asia). The Office of Career Services helped me earn an internship at Oppenheimer and Co; a boutique investment bank in NYC. During my time there, I quickly learned that developing a unique niche would differentiate myself against competing candidates—and if I wished to compete with them (especially during an economic downturn!), having a niche was practical and necessary. With support from the most remarkable professors at HWS, I designed an individual major, later titled "China in the Global Economy," by combining economics with international relations, Mandarin language and Chinese history. Next, Career Services introduced me to several senior JPMorgan alums. I made it through the interview process and following my study abroad in Beijing, returned for JPMorgan's summer analyst investment banking program. I was placed into U.S. Equity Research covering internet and media companies.
My experience was invaluable and HWS alums helped make it that way. I quickly learned that this was the industry I wanted to be a part of for many years to come. I also knew that leveraging my ability to speak Mandarin would come in handy at such a global institution. After graduation I entered JPMorgan's full-time analyst class in the summer of 2009, within U.S. Equity Research, as an analyst and product manager. I have since been placed in a new role in Hong Kong. The increased level of responsibility here keeps me motivated and I'm doing whatever I can to continue overlapping and better integrating my experiences in the U.S. with the newer Asia business model.  
I've come to realize that the maturity growth trajectory from ages 18 to 24 can be astronomical. To think I'd be close to where I am today (literally in Hong Kong) just three or four years ago was crazy talk. Commitment and intellectual curiosity can work wonders, but I also loved what I was doing. I enjoy making an impact and I am forever grateful for my experiences at HWS. The connections I've made from being a HWS alum are a rarity. After being in Hong Kong for just three weeks I had already attended an HWS alumni dinner. Incredible. 

My future plans: To work hard and continue to enjoy what I do.


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