Jolly Yip Chi-fung may take five years to complete his bachelor of science (BSc) in quantitative finance, but there are very good reasons for this.
The final-year undergraduate at Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School realised early on that life at tertiary level is about seizing opportunities.
He did just this, signing up for two lengthy exchange programmes in Britain, which broadened his academic horizons, and allowed him to mix with people from around the world.
"It was great to get that international exposure," says Yip, who spent his second year in Birmingham and his fourth at the London School of Economics. "You have a lot of interaction with people of different backgrounds and nationalities, and, during the vacations, I would travel around Europe which I saw as another part of my education."
In his first overseas stint, he focused on business-related subjects such as management and marketing. The intention was to develop an all-round knowledge of the ways in which organisations operate on a daily basis, instead of the safe option of covering already familiar ground.
Then, in London, Yip chose as many courses as he could on various aspects of macro- and micro-economic policy. He says he wanted to be intellectually challenged, while also becoming more analytical in his approach to specific problems, something finance sector employers always appreciate. "I often remind myself that it is a privilege to be a student," says Yip, who recently landed a good offer from an investment bank in Hong Kong. "It has allowed me to develop my own philosophy over time and to figure out what is most meaningful in life."
Aside from his study of economic theory and the workings of financial markets, one of the key lessons he has picked up during his university tenure is that "money isn't everything".
A personal goal he hopes to achieve down the road is to work for a non-government organisation, such as Medecins Sans Frontieres. "If you have had good training, the chance to make money is always there," he says. "But it is important not to see this as the only thing to do with your future."