Interested in Banking? Meet Rose Zu (McIntire ’12), Analyst at HSBC in NYC

The HoosNetwork team caught up with Rose Zu (McIntire ’12) for an interview. Rose is an analyst at HSBC in NYC, and writer for Girl Meets Food, Inc.

HoosNetwork: What is your job position and how did you enter the work field you are in now? rose1

Rose: I am currently a manager in HSBC’s Global Trade and Receivables Finance business, Transaction Services team. Our business as a whole helps companies finance their import and export needs. My team processes the transactions that come through. My role involves a mix of ensuring regulatory compliance and improving operational efficiency. On a day-to-day basis, this means I am using skills including Excel analysis and reporting, project management, and communications.

My time at U.Va. and McIntire got me interested in banking as an industry, but I didn’t want to go into investment banking, consulting, or working for the Big Four. When I did my job hunt, I looked specifically for international banks, and HSBC fit the bill. Luckily, I was a fit for HSBC as well. I joined as an analyst in their Graduate Development Program, which was a rotation program in their Retail Banking and Wealth Management business. I was able to develop many valuable skills and gain valuable insight into the business, but when I was nearing the end of the program after a year and a half, I knew that there was no better time to learn a different business line. Through the connections that I gained during the rotation program, I was able to secure a role as an analyst in my current team. It was a great fit in terms of skills they needed and what I wanted to learn. After a year, I was promoted to my current role as a manager.

HoosNetwork: What factors contributed to your decision to go to graduate school?

Rose: I am a firm believer in builder your personal toolbox. My time at McIntire taught me analytical skills, and I had always enjoyed writing. Throughout my rotations, it became clear that my value-add to the teams that I was on was the ability to do both. Since McIntire formalized my analytical ability on paper, I wanted some official indication of my business writing skills. The graduate degree is also helping me develop skills for my personal life – I am currently a blogger on Girl Meets Food New York, where I share my food adventures with the world. I’m also developing my own website, where I hope to share my travels as well as experiences in NYC. Finally, the timing was right. I didn’t want to wait too long to go back to school – it’s an adjustment to have to go to class and do homework and take tests again. At the same time, I finally figured out which direction I want to pursue, and how to take advantage of the tuition reimbursement benefit that my firm offers.

HoosNetwork: How did you adjust to moving to New York & how does living there benefit what you are doing?

Rose: Adjusting to New York was difficult for me. I grew up in the suburbs of D.C., and Charlottesville was not exactly a big city. New York can also be extremely isolating, and it’s hard to meet people because everyone is always on the move or looking for the next big thing. Luckily for me, I like the people at work, and I was able to make friends through HSBC.

New York is one of the major financial centers of the world, so being here gives me an advantage in my banking career. Not only am I able to network at my firm’s national headquarters, it is also easy to connect with professionals at other firms. And as we all know, networking is everything!

HoosNetwork: What are a few tips you have on adjusting to and living in New York?

Rose: Make an effort to meet people and maintain those connections. There is so much going on that it’s very easy to meet people on a one-off basis, but you have to work extra hard. Think of yourself as the new kid in the middle of sophomore year at high school. You have to work extremely hard to make friends, but that’s what will help you make the most of the city.

HoosNetwork: What advice do you have for young alumni and future graduates entering the workforce or deciding on graduate school?

Rose: Be patient. As a fresh graduate, I was extremely eager to take on challenging projects and make a name for myself, but you have to take a step back and realize that you are a blank slate. Despite your brand-name education, you have no experience compared to your managers and colleagues. “Know your place” sounds harsh, but  starting out with a modest and open mindset will impress the right people a lot more than if you’re too eager to show off.


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