Boutique Employability in a Chinese Investment Firm


April 27, 2020


In seven days, I will officially be a college graduate. I plan to work in a large investment firm in China. After using the BE-EDGE methodology to analyze the corporate decision of Intuit’s QuickBooks trying to expand its market to China, I realized I had a unique niche of marketable skills as well that add value to my future career, especially in how I can find a job that is a good fit for me rather than conforming to what a company expects in its supposedly ideal job candidate. I crafted a personal strategy for my boutique employability.

 Why a Traditional Approach for Job Hunting Doesn’t Get the Job

Chinese investment firms see thousands of resumes for each job position, mostly from finance major graduates at Chinese universities. Over 8 million people graduated from Chinese universities last year alone! Many of these applicants have experience with accounting and investment analysis software and even personally invest in the Chinese stock market. But the vast majority of the veritable sea of resumes get thrown away without getting a second look. With so much competition, it is so easy to get passed over.


How I Will Shape My Space Around My Personal Goals

Unlike other applicants, I will make my case to shape my space – that is, highlight nuanced ways that I am unique to accomplish goals beyond simply getting a job. In my opinion, Chinese financial markets are behind the times and will need to globalize in the next few years to stay profitable. So, I hope that I can help expand Chinese investment firms beyond their current outdated system. Using the BE-EDGE framework, I will shape my space around this goal and find a company that works well for me.


The “Making Your Case” Project

This semester, I spent many long hours with my classmates analyzing how Intuit’s QuickBooks could expand into Chinese markets. Based on the company’s uniquely American perspective, we found that QuickBooks could work very well internationally, but rather than simply translating the existing QuickBooks software into the Chinese language or just conforming to Chinese business practices, we suggested a niche marketing strategy of emphasizing the uniqueness that QuickBooks could have in supporting Chinese agricultural businesses. In this way, the new QuickBooks was not an American software trying to sell itself to Chinese customers; instead, it was a very local feeling but globally trusted brand connecting directly to customer needs.


My Boutique Employability Skills

Applying strategic ideas I learned to get ready to shape my space, I’m making sure my future employer is a good fit for me rather than trying to conform with a generic company. I bring a few primary unique skills and added value to my job that most people won’t have.

First, I studied abroad at a U.S. university, which means that not only do I speak English fluently but also, more importantly, I have a uniquely American perspective on business and investing. Chinese investment firms may not even realize how important a skill this is because they haven’t yet adjusted to the new globalized economic world. Growing up in China, I learned about business from a Chinese perspective, but in the U.S. my education opened my eyes to how businesses run successfully and how to find good investment opportunities. In fact, just by looking at the history of American markets, I can predict how the Chinese financial markets will progress in the near future, knowledge/insight that is incredibly valuable to any Chinese investment firm. Many Chinese investors fail when taking their chances in American financial markets due to simple mistakes. My unique combined Chinese and American perspective gives me an edge over the competition in making better investment choices. Since Chinese investment firms will expand globally, I have a unique position of adding more value to investment decisions than job candidates from Chinese universities.

In addition, my wide network of friends is all highly intelligent and help me in many ways. Of course, networking is one of the main ways I plan to get access to certain employment opportunities that I wouldn’t have found by myself. Many of my friends are taking jobs in Chinese investment firms where I’d like to work, and our friendships create perfect networking opportunities for future jobs. Furthermore, my friends all have good business sense, and they will help me gain more knowledge and information about excellent investment opportunities in a globalized economic world. By staying connected with my network and making it clear to potential employers how well connected I am, I bring another unique value for picking up new clients as well.


Concluding Remarks

As I get ready to fly back home to China with my college degree proudly held in hand, I confidently think back on my personal strategy of using the BE-EDGE methodology of making my case to shape my space. Investment firms need someone just like me, I just have to let them know how much they need me. I have a uniquely American perspective on business and investing, and I bring a wide network of investment advisors and potential clients with me everywhere I go. Keeping all this evidence in mind when revising my resume, applying for jobs, and going on interviews, I will find a company that is a good fit for me and will help me accomplish my globalization goals rather than feeling trapped or needing to convince an employer that I will conform for them. My boutique employability is the main thing to highlight in my job application process.


About the Author

TL, the author of this article, grew up in China. Over time, his strong background in math began to unfold new avenues for him in business, stocks, and financial markets; he noticed his unique skills in predicting how the stock market would go. By simulating investments and watching profits and losses match his predictions, he grew to appreciate how his mathematical skills could prove profitable in an investment scenario. He is graduating from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts in May 2020 with a degree in Accounting, and plans to apply his skills in math, finance, and accounting to his new job at a large Chinese investment firm.