Skip to main content



GLEF = small intake + diversified student mix + CFA® Institute University Affiliation Program + fully supported by 2 departments and 2 faculties.

Getting Global Getting Pro

Jackie Tu grew up in Taiwan. He was particularly good at mathematics at high school but had wanted to study economics and business at university, knowing little about the difference between the two. So he went to his adviser who asked him if he had thought about studying finance. That opened up a new vista for Jackie, who did some research and discovered that it was a major which could combine his interest in mathematics and business. His subsequent enrollment in the Global Economics and Finance (GLEF) programme at CUHK to realize that dream was history.

GLEF at CUHK is jointly offered by the Department of Economics and the Department of Finance. Prof. Terence Chong, Co-Director of GLEF, said that they welcome those with a global mindset and team spirit to apply. GLEF is fully-supported by 2 departments as well as 2 faculties, which allowed students to enjoy double opportunities for scholarships, internships and so on. Dedicated advisors are also available to deliver all-round support to GLEF students.

Prof. Chow Ying-foon, Co-Director of GLEF, added that specialized courses and non-conventional topics like Economic Integration, Banking and Financial Regulation, China Economy, etc., have been designed specifically for GLEF students.

It is these specially designed courses which Jackie found most interesting: ‘Unlike other courses that are taught in a big lecture hall, these courses have only a class size of around 30. You will take the courses with your fellow GLEF students, which gives you more chances to express your thoughts. Of course, these courses are more intensive.

“I’m not the only international student. In GLEF you will meet students from all around the world. In my year, we have Taiwan, Korean, Indonesian and Brazilian students. In this little ‘global village’, you will learn to respect people’s backgrounds and deal with different people. All of my friends in GLEF treat me like family. I have a nice time here!”

Jackie added: ‘GLEF puts equal emphasis on economics and finance. The programme gives you solid knowledge of both subjects and you won’t be deficient in either.’

GLEF students do not straddle two worlds but rather navigate equally well in both. In the words of Professor Chow, ‘The programme aims to provide students with solid interdisciplinary training in economics and finance in a global context, and to cater for societal needs by preparing graduates who have strong analytical training and the requisite global mindset to overcome future challenges in the banking and finance industry.’ Graduates from the programme have developed promising careers in multinational firms in the banking, finance and business consulting sectors or to engage in financial research in public or private organizations.

Professor Chong also challenges the students: ‘You will be put into a highly-demanding and challenging learning environment, which will unlock your potentials and polish and develop the skills necessary for your future success. GLEF provides the highly specialized skills and knowledge for those who aspire to launching their careers in the financial institutions in the global markets.’

Abundant internship and exchange opportunities are provided to the GLEF students. Almost all of them have the opportunity to participate in exchange for studying in an overseas university for one term or more, during their penultimate years. Internship opportunities in terms of placement or invitation-to-apply are always available. Practicum is also provided in the form of self-sought internship or company sponsored projects.

The importance of practicum and internships cannot be overstated. Jackie said, ‘When people hear that you study economics, they might think you’re studying economic theories. This is probably the biggest misunderstanding of our programme. In GLEF, we also focus on putting economic theory into practice. For example, there are courses that ask you to do reports on specific financial or economic issues. And through this kind of training, GLEF students are ready for the real-life challenges when they go into the real world.’

Jackie wishes to work in the financial industry in future. ‘With the solid training from this programme, I am convinced that I possess the ability to do well in my future career,’ a confident Jackie said.

Jackie will not have to worry about the future, though. Many GLEF graduates have joined the banking and finance industry, established start-up business, or gone on to further studies. On top of that, some graduates have embarked on a professional career after attaining professional qualifications like CPA.

Jackie is now our alumnus, and he was sage about how to survive and thrive in GLEF: ‘Be ready and enjoy. You will love the flexibility and support this programme gives you. However, GLEF is not a place for you to idle away you four-year university life. This is a top and tough programme. Get prepared and you will have the most fruitful university life.’

Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2021