Many factors encouraged Eric to take a job with the Prime Brokerage sales team at Morgan Stanley Hong Kong after a six-month internship in 2018, but one stands out above the rest. “My manager was a big reason why I decided to join after graduating from college,” he says. “She cares a lot about my personal and professional development and recognized early on that I’m a very goal-driven person.”
The opportunity to set an ambitious goal presented itself just two months after Eric joined the firm as an Analyst. The Asia Prime Brokerage team needed someone to take the lead on analyzing substantial amounts of data around hedge fund performance, leverage, and positioning to create insights for clients. Eric, who majored in accounting with a minor in computer science at the University of Hong Kong, was intrigued by the opportunity. At the same time, he knew the project would be a lot to take on in addition to his existing responsibilities. “If it wasn’t for my manager’s support and encouragement, I don’t think I would have ever gotten through it or made as much progress within such a short period of time,” he says.
A little over a year after embarking on the project, Eric’s team was up and running, creating Prime Brokerage content that includes weekly, monthly and quarterly publications for clients. Although it’s his proudest accomplishment at the firm so far, Eric says he isn’t spending a lot of time celebrating. Instead, he’s continuing to take the advice of his manager, already thinking about the next big goal of his career.
What is your role at the firm?
I’m an Analyst in Prime Brokerage Sales, and my role is to work with hedge fund managers to bring them onto our equities platform. Our team sits within Sales and Trading, and we work very closely with many different desks across the floor.
What is your background?
I grew up in Taiwan in a family full of doctors. My dad and sister are both doctors, and many of our relatives are either doctors or work in healthcare-related industries. At an early age, maybe 15 or 16 years old—probably in a bit of teenage rebellion—I sat down with my dad and broke it to him that I was never going to be a doctor. That said, my parents have been very supportive of my career decisions.
What skills are necessary to excel at your job?
My role definitely requires strong interpersonal skills, which is probably true of any type of sales role. We are responsible for maintaining relationships with hedge funds, so we get to know our clients and their firms well. However, at Morgan Stanley, there’s also a general expectation that salespeople have technical skills as well. Despite being generalists, everyone on the sales team has a specific area in which he or she specializes.
How did you come to work for Morgan Stanley?
When I first came to Hong Kong for college, I didn’t even know what an investment bank was. I did several internships to try to figure out what I wanted to do with my major in accounting and minor in computer science. I had a month-long internship at an accounting firm and quickly realized that it was something I didn’t want to do long term. I also did an internship at another investment bank’s technology department, and while there, I got to know some of the people on the trading floor through networking. I thought what they did sounded really exciting and decided I should try it, which is why I applied for an internship with Morgan Stanley.
Is there anything that’s surprised you about working for Morgan Stanley?
The amount of responsibility you’re given from day one. I think the best example comes from when I was an intern. One of the senior members of my team was spearheading a project around marketing the firm’s capabilities to quantitative hedge funds. Given my background, I was very interested in quants and asked if I could be more involved in the project. Not only did he say yes, but he also asked me to create a presentation for firm management about the landscape of quantitative clients and our strategy toward servicing them. I was given the chance to work on an important strategic initiative, while still an intern. To this day, I still work very closely with that senior-level manager, who is now a Managing Director and also the head of my team.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I do a lot of photography; I guess it kind of runs in my family. My dad and I are both photographers, and my late grandfather was as well. We have a lot of gear passed down from my grandfather’s day—cameras from the Sixties and Seventies. Primarily, I’m a landscape photographer; I’m drawn to subjects like mountains and waterfalls. I’d say my favorite places that I’ve photographed have been the Isle of Skye and Iceland.