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Money Moves

Nurturing gifted individuals for a career in finance

by Jacky Wong

Industry elites help prepare gifted students for a bright future in banking and finance
Photo: Wallace Chan

Hong Kong's world-renowned finance industry requires exceptional people to keep it running. At the invitation of the Education Bureau (EDB), the Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) has developed a training programme that aims to nurture such people and to give them a head start in a banking career.

The collaborative effort began in 2001 with support measures initiated by the EDB for exceptionally gifted students.

Chow Dik Suk-wan, senior curriculum development officer (gifted education) at the EDB says training and international exchange programmes have been run for more than 5,000 gifted students since the project was launched. The certificate programme series in the Banking and Financial Services is a new attempt between the EDB and the HKIB to respond to its internal survey finding which revealed that more than 30 per cent of gifted students are interested in developing a career in the finance industry.

The graduation ceremony for this year's programme, held on 25 August 2007, saw a total of 120 students from secondary schools and universities receive their awards. "We hope the programme can help explore our students' potential and broaden their scope of knowledge, while helping Hong Kong train more outstanding leaders who can contribute to the success of the commercial sector," Mrs Chow says.

The programme is a combination of lectures and case studies developed by industry practitioners, which gives participants an overview of Hong Kong banking and financial systems. Participants are also required to sit for an examination at the end the programme.

Carrie Leung, chief executive officer of the HKIB says the industry is impressed with the programme and helped to make it more realistic for the participants. "Some banks even take it as a foundation course for their management trainee programmes, which provides a comparative advantage for programme participants when applying for jobs," she adds.

Carlos Cheung, chief dealer in the spot market section at the treasury department of the Bank of East Asia, says the ongoing success and competitiveness of the Hong Kong banking and finance industry rests with the availability of quality people. He believes the programme can assist in achieving this. "We need more people who can demonstrate their expertise and international outlook, and continuously upgrade their professional knowledge to keep pace with ever-changing market developments," he says.

Ng Ho-yin, a participant in the programme who also serves as the external vice president at the Hong Kong Federation of the Exceptionally Gifted, finds the programme practical and relevant; and says he learned a lot about the finance industry. He particularly enjoyed the opportunity to see and use real world resources, such as when a lecturer in an international trade finance session showed him a real documentary credit, supplementing the theoretical knowledge he learned in his university studies.

Another participant, Leong Tsz-san, says the programme helped her decide to pursue a career in finance. She will enter the University of Hong Kong this September and hopes one day to work in an investment bank.


Taken from Career Times 31 August 2007

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