Kaiwen Shen

Economics and Finance BA

why did you choose to study your course at Manchester?

Kaiwen Shen
Kaiwen Shen says his experience was everything he ever wanted. Challenging and fulfilling.

I've always had a passion for trading. Back in high school, three of my friends and I used to trade virtual money on real stock and commodity data, and whoever ended up last had to buy the rest snacks. We held this competition every two weeks and we all became passionate about the stock market.

Later, I lead the same team of four people to an international simulate floor trading competition and we came first in the competition. I enjoy every trade I made, even the loss-making ones. And I want to make this my career, so I chose to study Economics and Finance.

The University of Manchester has one of Europe’s top 5 business schools, and have a great reputation for being the top university for employer’s satisfaction, highly ranked in both teaching and researching ranking. Plus it is located in one of the most modern cities in Europe, and also has great diversity among teachers and students.

What has been the highlight of your course so far?

There are so many highlights that I don’t know which one to mention. The first thing that comes to mind is the great professor, Klaus Shenk-Hoppe.

I was a student who didn’t have much interest in math, but since what I’m passionate about involves a high level of math, I must bear with it and try to keep up. Professor Schenk-Hoppe was such a great teacher, he helped me find confidence and interest in math.

I managed to complete a brain teaser from Professor Schenk-Hoppe, that he didn’t think there was a possible solution, and I emailed it to him. The next day, he wrote my name on the blackboard and wrote my proof in class! I was so surprised and almost burst into tears in that class. 

What has been the most challenging part of your course so far?

The most challenging part of my course is dealing with high complexity in the teaching material.

Almost all the courses are a well-designed challenge for a student to pursue but without overwhelming themselves. And as the year progress when you look back, it is often the case that you found yourself learning an unbelievable amount of knowledge.

What subject areas are you interested in?

Financial engineering. The idea of using algorithms to beat the market is both fascinating and inspiring.

Have you undertaken any placements?

I took an internship in China with China Pacific Insurance Company, under the risk management department last year. Also, I will be taking The University of Manchester 'student research experience internship' (SEI) with Klaus Schenk-Hoppe this summer (the project has been postponed, possibly we will be doing it online).

Last year I did a computational modelling of insurance stress-test, based on Chinese insurance company policy, and the open data from the company. I believe it is a boost for my future employability since I’ve learned programming languages like python and learned to use web spiders to collect open data from the internet.

This year, I have high expectation for the SEI with Professor Schenk-Hoppe. We will do a project called “location, location, location, an evolutionary approach to hotelling problem”. It is a project using computational power to solve a classic game theory model. I believe this is an outstanding opportunity for me to demonstrate my research ability and my ability to self-learn a whole new area that I’ve never encountered before. 

How would you describe your student experience so far?

It is everything that I ever wanted. Both challenging and fulfilling. 

Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?

I’m involved in the Chinese Student and Scholar Association (CSSA), the Manchester Investment Fund (a student society) and peer mentor and upcoming PASS leader.

I would highly recommend students to do the same because it doesn’t matter if you are in a society or taking part in university leading schemes, you can always have it the way you want. You can decide what role you want to take in a big organisation, and what you get out of it is directly in proportion with the effort you put in. Plus, you get to know cool people from different backgrounds with the same interests as you, there is no downside in taking part!

How has your international student experience been so far?

It is great. I came to Manchester alone and when I got to my accommodation, volunteers were helping us right at the entrance of my accommodation. Telling me what to do during welcome week, and the receptionist is also kind in pointing me in the right direction.

I have never lived away from my parents, and this is a whole new experience for me, but I managed to keep healthy, fit and get everything sorted. At first, the bus culture was a surprise to me. In Shanghai, buses will stop at every stop, and they are usually full of people, no one says thank you to the bus driver. But I genuinely think the bus culture in the UK is way better, and less crowded as well.

What are your plans after graduation?

I would like to further my study in Financial Engineering and pursue a Master's degree. Lots of the course units I’m taking now involve a great depth of data cleaning and coding which will definitely be a plus in my future application.

Also, I think my SEI experience this year will help me demonstrate my research ability, which is also something that will make me more competitive than students from other universities. 

What advice would you give to future students?

I would say to some of the shy international students to open yourself to people and opportunities!

There are so many great events and chances to make great use of your time, don’t be afraid, your nationality is never an issue, you are stopping yourself from being great!