Brandeis International Business School

Gaohan “Zack” Zhang, MA'14

Gaohan Zhang
What was your career goal when you were an undergraduate?

I grew up in Quzhou, a city about four hours east of Shanghai. I decided to leave China for college because I was interested in business and felt that the U.S. definitely had the best to offer. I majored in accoujting, but after graduating from Michigan State University, I just couldn’t see myself as an auditor. Accounting is about historical financial data – looking back on what has happened. Finance, on the other hand, is forward-looking. It involves making decisions and solving problems. And that’s what really interests me.

Why was Brandeis your first choice in business schools?

I chose Brandeis International Business School for two reasons: its appealing location in metro Boston; and its rank. In 2014, the school ranked among the top ten in The Financial Times ratings of Master of Finance programs for the fourth consecutive year.

Your interests narrowed again – from accounting to real estate. How did that happen?

After taking several Brandeis courses in real estate and obtaining a year-long internship at Cushman & Wakefield, the world’s largest privately‐held commercial property services firm, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the field. I also knew he wanted to go back to China. I competed with PhDs from MIT, Harvard and Columbia for a position in the future leaders program at Country Garden, one of China’s leading integrated property developers.

How did the real estate program prepare you for your career?

It gave me the courage and confidence to challenge myself, because I know no matter how hard things get, I'm not by myself; I have a whole family [of fellow students and professors] to support me. I owe my success in large part to the Brandeis program. It helped me gain important knowledge in understanding real estate capital markets and different sorts of investment, debt, and equity financing.

Tell me about the connection you felt with Brandeis.

I felt strongly connected to the International Business School because of the people. As an international student, it can be hard to adapt to the U.S. culture and way of doing business. However, Brandeis has the most open and friendly student culture I have ever seen in an American school. It has such a diverse student body, and that makes the professors, staff and students appreciate the cultural differences and open up to people from different backgrounds.

Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance
Class of 2014

Real estate

Senior Associate, Kaiyuan Capital (Beijing)

Previous Experience
Country Garden Group; Cushman & Wakefield; Campanelli; Lyon Capital

Home Country

Undergraduate Institution
Michigan State University