Economics and finance major Christian Westphal ’21 (Madison, Connecticut) interned this fall semester at CDI Global, a small investment bank that specializes in cross-border transactions, as part of Centre College’s Centre-in-China program.
Westphal was responsible for conducting market research and reporting deal trends in China’s TMT and Biotech sectors, facilitating client relationships and conducting due diligence on potential target companies.
“As someone who has never been outside of the U.S., except for Canada, I really wanted to take full advantage of the study abroad opportunities that Centre provides,” he said. “China, being as different culturally as it is, offered me a unique way in which I could challenge myself and experience a unique culture unlike my own.
“China also interested me as an economics and finance major because of its unique growth model and dynamic business climate,” he continued. “Interning at CDI Global represented an opportunity to step into the investment banking world, a career I would like to pursue following graduation. Additionally, I knew that working at the firm would give me firsthand glimpses into the trends that are currently shaping China’s economy.”
Throughout the internship, Westphal was able to learn that China’s investment banking and business climate is extremely different from the U.S.
“While it is a common trope, business in China is relationship-driven,” he said. “More than any firm in the West, CDI Global dedicates much of its time to establishing relationships with Chinese companies, even if they aren’t trying to get a deal done.”
He also learned how involved China’s government is in economic decision making.
“When working in China, it is much easier to work with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mandates than against them, which is why much of the firm’s work focuses on targeted areas like Biotech and TMT,” he added.
Westphal added that this experience represents a significant step in his professional development. As a sophomore, he has already been exposed to the field he hopes to pursue.
by Kerry Steinhofer
December 13, 2018