Distinguished Vice Chancellor, Professor Gao, members of Macquarie University and Tsinghua University, fellow graduates and guests
One of many reasons why I chose this program is that I hope to treat myself a graduation trip to Australia. Well today I have an even better version of the graduation than I ever expected. So first of all, I want to thank you all for giving me the honor to speak on behalf of all my fellow graduates on this very important day.
I want to talk about choices. We are making choices everyday of our lives. I don’t know if you share the same feelings, but choices seemed to be easy to make when we were kids – “I want to be a scientist” “I want to be an astronaut”. “I want to be the president”. As we grew up, the more we know, the more we want, and more confusing and tempting the whole world becomes, the harder the choices are. It could be worse that at this particular stage of our lives, late 20s or early 30s, when we just begin our career but do not have enough bargaining power in the society to leverage up our choices, sometimes we are just frustrated, and feel that we don’t have a choice.
Well, we do. We choose to sleep 3 hours and finish our assignment after a heavy day at work; we choose to go to classes over the weekends after a long business trip while still jet lagged; we choose to give up our time with friends, or time in bed, in front of TV, to read the textbook or work on the put/call models. We are sitting here, because we made choices. Not THAT single choice we made to apply to the program, but the hundreds of choices we made in the past 700 days and nights to fight till the end.
Then, why do we make these choices? To all of us, life is a journey of pursuit of happiness. We might define happiness in many different ways. For me, two levels above the basic demands as a human being, happiness is when you realize your value, and when you influence others in a positive way, even in the tiniest form.
I started my job in finance as a law school graduate. Obviously my legal background did not help much when I started to work in aviation finance, an industry dominated by mid-age male bankers from the western world.
At the beginning, unfortunately, my presence as a young Chinese woman was rare and weak. However, two years of training in Applied Finance program gives me the backbone to speak up. As I moved on from investment to FRM, tortured by Steve, Frank and Bernt, I started to realize that there was no rocket science what the bankers were talking about, as much as they tried to fuzz you with fancy power points and colorful par charts. Also, as this program is not merely lectures of theories, applied finance benefits me a lot when I am structuring s, especially cross-border financing. This program leveraged up my capacity, pushed me up to a higher place in my career, and most importantly, I started to see some values and confidence in me that I never thought I had. That is why not only I chose to complete the program even though it was demanding, but also I chose to recommend it to my peers at workplace, and I will continue to do so.
The second kind of happiness is how you feel when you have positive influences on others. To begin with, on behalf of all the graduates, I want to thank all of our lecturers for making the choices of coming to China. I know it can be challenging to miss family gatherings and spend a whole day on a transit fights to come into a smoggy city. I know without teaching in this program, you already had a very fulfilling and respectable job in Sydney. Thanks for making the effort and made us students’ lives different. Also, I want to thank Tsinghua and Macquarie for bringing this program into China so that we can have the opportunity to receive world level finance education here and to start to think about the future of Chinese finance industry, find out the discrepancy between China today and the global level, and make a difference.
To make the right choices, we are always facing the biggest enemy, ourselves. Here I want to give my admiration to my classmates, those who have not had a chance to be exposed to an English speaking environment before joining the program, and those who also struggled to meet their commitments to families at the same time. You have doubled, or even tripled the efforts and come this far. Please be sure to be very proud of yourselves!
Last but not least, we cannot achieve this without the support of our family, friends and the loved ones. On this special day, many of you have brought a plus one or plus two, please turn around and say thank you to them.
My fellow graduates, we have won a battle, a rough one. In the past 700 days we made all the choices to carry on and fight till the end. But, as professor Gao said it is not an end; it is just a new beginning. My dear friends please keep your head up and enjoy the journey!