Morgan Stanley

Ka Fai

Vice President, Investment Banking

Why did you decide to join the firm?

Morgan Stanley has a strong competitive presence in Asia. Our international platform is truly global, so it provides diverse exposure across clients, deals and geographies. This helps us stand out in front of clients. When clients have cross-border investment needs—say, there’s a Chinese client who wants to know more about the euro regulatory environment—we are knowledgeable on that.

I was also attracted to the culture. People help people grow here. I cannot emphasize enough how much the firm has helped me advance.

What is a typical day like for you?

My days differ a lot. We put together pitchbooks, prepare financial models for clients and develop forecasts and valuations. It's a very fast-paced industry. A client might ask us to respond to a request for proposal and our deadlines are usually measured in hours; it could be 48 hours, or as little as six.

Does your team work together when things get unpredictable?

We are very close. If someone asks for help, the team is happy to provide it, we all pitch in. There's a lot of collaboration and knowledge-sharing. We need to work as a team—even if you have a brilliant idea, you have to polish it and bounce it around with others before you deliver it to the client. That requires working closely.

How would you describe the firm's culture?

It's a very open environment. If you want to discuss an idea, you can just walk across the office to talk to the right person. Even as a relatively new member of the team, I feel free to express what I think. I feel as though I'm an important part of something.

How has your career progressed at Morgan Stanley?

Not long after I arrived as an Analyst, I was considered for the Accelerated Career Path program. It’s the program in Investment Banking and Global Capital Markets where you’re evaluated for promotion from Analyst to Associate. I really benefited from the collegial atmosphere here—it set me up for success both in terms of that initial promotion to Associate and going forward. 

Do you get many chances to speak the four different languages you know?

Yes, and it's tremendously helpful. In Hong Kong, I speak Cantonese to local clients. They appreciate someone who speaks the local language. I know Thai, which is handy when I interact with Southeast Asian clients. I speak Mandarin, which is essential when working with Chinese clients. The languages help me in all sorts of different situations.

What do you like most about your job?

I see the impact and benefit of what I'm doing. I see what I contribute to clients. I'm happy every time we close a deal. Sometimes the process could be very difficult, but I see the direct impact of my work.

How do you give back to the community?

Giving back to society is part of the firm's culture. My whole team is very supportive of these endeavors. I participated in volunteer work cleaning up a beach on the west side of Hong Kong, where it's extremely dirty because of all the rubbish that washes up on the beach. It was hard work, but we made a big difference and felt good doing it.

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