Colin Kelly '08
Position: Analyst for the NBA in China
Field: Finance & Consulting
Thesis Title: “Information and Political Power: The Impact of Foreign Communications Technology in the Decline of the Late Qing and in the Modern PRC”
I graduated with a joint degree in History and East Asian Studies in 2008. After college, I spent three years in investment banking with Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong before relocating to Beijing and joining the National Basketball Association. At NBA China, I currently support senior management and business unit heads with financial and strategic analysis to help grow the game and our business in the world’s largest market. My experience in the History department was not only intellectually rewarding, but also provided me an analytical toolkit which I continue to employ and build on today.
The professional applications of a History degree may not be obvious to all, but I believe History uniquely prepares students to not only quickly ascertain the key points of reading material, but also succinctly present a well-crafted and well-supported thesis, both essential to practically any analytical job. The ability to digest and synthesize a large amount of information is particularly important to any research-related role, and pouring over public filings such as annual reports comes easily after the History department’s tutorials. Similarly, History teaches students to clearly present and support an argument, a skill that is an integral part of any presentation in the corporate world, from a company’s investment highlights when selling an IPO to internal deal memos. Having lived overseas for the last five years, I would also highlight that having a strong understanding of a nation or culture’s history is critical to understanding its present, especially modern China. Lastly, the analytical rigor that a History degree hones in terms of evaluating primary and secondary sources has myriad applications. In my line of work, the quality of data can be questionable and a lot of information simply can’t be taken at face value. A healthy dose of skepticism and the drive to pursue multiple different angles to investigate a company or corroborate data can help one reach the right conclusion. I believe History (and East Asian Studies) have served me well in my career thus far and would strongly encourage any prospective concentrator to consider History, whether a budding financier, investor, entrepreneur or academic.