Misty Li is currently a senior at the McDonough School of Business, double majoring in finance and international business with Chinese coursework. Originally from California, she has taken advantage of different global opportunities through her study abroad semester in Copenhagen, Denmark, and her Global Business Experience consulting project in Barcelona, Spain. During the past two summers, she interned at Morgan Stanley in New York City. She will return to the company upon graduation -- this time in their Hong Kong offices.
Why did you want to pursue a double major in finance and international business? How did you become interested in these areas?
Growing up in a multicultural household, with my parents speaking Chinese more fluently than English and my father traveling to China often for business, I developed a natural interest in international affairs. This motivated my decision to study international business at Georgetown, a major that would allow me to understand the intersection between policy and business through a global lens. Within the international business major, I chose the Asian regional studies focus and took Chinese language classes to improve my fluency. Additionally, I decided to double major in finance, which has provided me with a strong, technical foundation and also allowed me to apply concepts and theorems to today’s economic problems.
Tell us about the study abroad opportunity you pursued in Copenhagen.
I spent the fall semester of my junior year in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the Danish Institute of Study Abroad (DIS) in the international business program. Since my regional focus for international business at Georgetown is Asia, I wanted to spend a semester in Europe to understand another key player in the international market. I took European Business Strategy as my core course, in which I examined case studies of several European companies, traveled to Western Denmark to visit LEGO and other notable Danish companies, visited several banks and large corporations in London, and finally, completed a consulting project for the Carlsberg Group.
How was your experience with global consulting in Barcelona? What did you learn about working with a foreign client?
My global consulting experience allowed me to understand the various factors that a business must consider when deciding to go global. Professor Ernst would always say “Businesses are competing with everyone from everywhere for everything. You produce nowhere to sell everywhere.” Globalization is here to stay, and it is essential for businesses today to realize that and take advantage of globalization. Working on a long-term project for Nestlé over the course of the semester allowed my team and me the opportunity to study the company in depth and understand which factors of globalization Nestlé was most affected by. This class allowed me to synthesize concepts I learned from my introductory McDonough classes (marketing, accounting, finance, operations) into a cohesive and holistic strategy that the business I was working with could actually use.
Our week in Barcelona was amazing—it was the perfect blend of educational, cultural, and fun. The lectures by Professor Mir allowed me to understand the Spanish market specifically. It was interesting to listen to ESADE professors lecture on international marketing while we were in an international setting. Site visits to Lindt and Mars helped me understand how executives of multinational corporations analyze problems. It allowed me to see the frameworks of SWOT, PEST, and Porter’s Five Forces that we learned in class being applied to real life.
What motivated you to pursue a global consulting opportunity in the European region?
Prior to my junior year at Georgetown, I had little exposure to Europe and the European business climate. Growing up in an Asian-American household, my interest in Asia was natural. While studying in Copenhagen I learned about the complexities of Europe—the pros and cons of the welfare state, the multiculturalism and fragmentation, and the nuances of the Euro currency. My desire to continue learning about the European business environment motivated my decision to apply to the Global Business Experience.
What was your role at Morgan Stanley?
I interned in the Institutional Equity Sales and Trading division during my sophomore and junior summers. The internship program is rotational, and I worked on both sales and trading desks. I accepted an offer to join Global Equity Sales in Hong Kong.
What advice do you have for juniors who would like to pursue a similar international finance career path?
I would tell them to approach recruiting with an open mind; there is definitely more to the financial services industry than just investment banking! And say yes to every unique opportunity that presents itself—though it may not have been something originally on your radar, it will distinguish you as a candidate in the future. And more important than knowing how to effortlessly perform all the valuation techniques, it’s crucial to demonstrate a strong interest in the markets and current economic news. Have an opinion on the policies of the Fed, on the actions of the Bank of Japan, on the price of commodities, on whatever topic interests you.
What classes are you taking in your last academic semester at Georgetown McDonough?
Call me crazy, but I decided to take a full schedule of five classes this semester. My last three required courses are Global Financial Markets and Institutions, Productions and Operations Management, and Social Responsibility of Business. Additionally, I am taking a sociology course, Culture and Consumption, and an introductory anthropology course.
What do you think you will miss the most about Georgetown once you graduate?
I will miss Georgetown’s strong sense of community. By senior year, you walk into your classes in the McDonough School of Business and know the majority of your classmates well. I’ll miss attending Bagels with the Dean on Thursdays and catching up with my deans and former professors whom I’ve gotten to know over the years. I’ll also miss Georgetown’s culture of mentorship that has provided me with great opportunities and great friends.