Zou Hao


Zou Hao


Award winner for 2016 Forbes “30 under 30” in Finance

At the age of 29, he was selected as “30 under 30” in Finance by Forbes in 2016. He was transferred from Tsinghua University to Stanford University. It only took him three years to get one Doctor’s degree and three Master’s degrees from Stanford University. After graduation, he worked as the Global Portfolio Manager and Permanent Member of the Americas Portfolio Committee in the Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) and was one of the five persons managing USD 20 billion. He is Zou Hao.

"I think what I feel most proud of so far is that I can represent overseas Chinese to get the Forbes prize. Among the winners of 2016 Forbes “30 under 30” in Finance, I am the only Chinese. Chinese employees face a huge resistance in their careers in the US and Canada, so I think it is not easy to get this award, because judges are all Caucasian. Only if you are exceptionally excellent can you get this award. Or else, a Chinese candidate will not be chosen with the same opportunity."

 Zou HaoAward winner for 2016 Forbes “30 under 30” in Finance

As old friends of the “500 Eminent Young Overseas Chinese in 2015”, William Ren, Vice President of CAIFU Magazine, interviewed Zou Hao recently. From study to career, from the past to the future and from experience to feelings, Zou Hao told us not only the journey of a Straight-A student, but also an outstanding life path. 

Zou Hao received his junior high school education in Wuxi. Since he won the first prize in the National Physics Competition, he was selected to the National Special Science Program of No. 2 High School of East China Normal University to be directly admitted by Tsinghua University. As a sophomore, Zou Hao was supervised by Yao Qizhi, the only A.M. Turing Award winner in China. In his junior year, he was successfully transferred to Stanford University and later got a Bachelor’s degree there. After that, he spent three years in pursuing a Doctor’s degree and his supervisor Professor Cioffi is an authority on broadband communication. Recommended by Professor Cioffi, the then young Zou Hao often participated in the formulation of and negotiations on the American and international communication protocols, became a board member of the Marconi Society and later was selected as Secretary General of the society at the end of 2014. Since he often served as the keynote speaker for conferences, to improve his debate and language abilities, he applied for the MBA of Stanford University at the recommendation of Professor Cioffi and was finally admitted after a short period of preparation.

Entering PIMCO seems a mission impossible for many people, but it is a legendary experience for Zou Hao. Zou Hao served as a summer intern at PIMCO at the age of 23. At that moment, he knew nothing about finance, but this was the way for him to enter the field of finance. He smiled and described: “At that moment, the interviewer asked me who the founder of PIMCO is. I said I didn’t know and the interviewer said 'Bill Gross is one of the most famous figures in the world. I recommend you to look for his information in Wikipedia’. For the afternoon interview, I went the wrong way for the hotel and told them I lost the way.” In reminiscence of this experience, he believed that the major reason for being enrolled was that he highlighted his qualitative analysis and mathematical abilities during the interview and these skills were what PIMCO needed most. Zou Hao said: “Later, I did pretty well as a summer intern and with my improvement several big financial models of PIMCO achieved substantial progress in efficiency. Later, PIMCO asked me to serve as a fund manager and enter the core business of the company—PIMCO’s national bond, futures and derivatives investment portfolio and I started to work together with the Chief Investment Officer Bill Gross. Managing financial derivatives is particularly important and I worked for a year, sitting next to Bill Gross in the office, before I got promoted to an assistant manager. Before long, I became the youngest Permanent Member of the Americas Portfolio Committee. The Americas Portfolio Committee manages the investment businesses in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and the whole American Continent with a total of 12 members. At that moment, I was the youngest member and the second youngest member was 36 years old. Later, I was promoted to be the Global Portfolio Manager and the Global Portfolio Team had five members managing nearly USD 100 billion in total.”

After leaving PIMCO, Zou Hao is preparing to start his own business. He said: “I hope to start my own company. I am 29 years old, young and strong. I want to work on it for five years and even if I fail I will not be regretful.” Zou Hao said: “In the future, overseas investment is a big opportunity. In the US, there are big funds such as Bill Gross, but there are no such leading companies in China. My dream is to build a world-class financial investment institution which totally outweighs those in the US. In this way, the Chinese people do not have to seek for overseas financial giants for investment and the money will be earned by the Chinese people themselves. Another dream of mine is to build a good information exchange platform not only for big institutions but also for individual investors and SMEs. This platform can provide better financial models, investment strategies, investment principles and investment concepts to all investors in China to make the Chinese capital market more efficient and stable.”

When asked: “How can you make such achievements?”, Zou Hao said: “Firstly, opportunity matters most. Secondly, diligence and working hard matter. It is also more attributed to whether you accept challenges.” Zou Hao mentioned: “First of all, opportunities are particularly important. After entering Tsinghua University, I was honored to be admitted by the Computer Science Experimental Class where I laid a deep knowledge foundation. Meeting a good supervisor at Stanford University was my own opportunity and good luck because Professor Cioffi helped me a lot and could be said to be my 'savior’. Even if there are opportunities, you should be good at seizing them and showing yourself.” Talking about diligence, Zou Hao said: “I read books every day at my office, laboratory, and the classroom. I worked on the most advanced research courses at the laboratory. I was always the top student for the examinations in the class.” The willingness to accept challenges is another point that Zou Hao stressed and he said: “First of all, you should dare to try accepting challenges. Many things seem to be difficult, including the application for the MBA of Stanford. If I hesitated at that moment or did not apply because I thought it to be too difficult after a research, I would not have had such achievements, including entering PIMCO. If I, as the youngest member, did not stand out to fight for some investment opportunities during the conferences of the company, I would not have developed so well at the company. Some things appear to be far away, but if you work hard you can get it. Just like this time, I also aim high and I want to make a global investment which is worth billions of USD. I am just starting to work on it, but you should dare to take the first step. Though I may fail, I don’t dare to fail and I dare to try.”

When asked: “How can you make so many achievements in such a short period?”, Zou Hao answered in a more inspiring way: “How to effectively manage your time is very important. Every morning and evening, I would spend time in reflecting on what I did today and what I aim at tomorrow, for the next several months, and for the next five years. Then I would arrange time to do important things according to my schedule.” Time always belongs to those who are good at arranging it and Zou Hao said: “While planning for my own time, if things go smoothly, I will take one day off to take a rest and do some outdoor sports and sightseeing. These are of great help. Alternating work with rest and recreation is very important.”

When asked: “You are only 29 years old and what do you feel most proud of?”, Zou Hao said: “I think what I feel most proud of so far is that I can represent overseas Chinese to get the Forbes prize. Among the winners of 2016 Forbes “30 under 30” in Finance, I am the only Chinese. Chinese employees face a huge resistance in their careers in the US and Canada, so I think it is not easy to get this award, because judges are all Caucasian. Only if you are exceptionally excellent can you get this award. Or else, a Chinese candidate will not be chosen with the same opportunity.”

He is not only the award winner for 2016 Forbes “30 under 30” in Finance. He is the only Chinese to win the Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar and the youngest Chinese to become one permanent member of the Americas Portfolio Committee of a large company to promote global investment. Being selected as the Secretary General of the Marconi Society to manage its asset is also a hard-won achievement. Zou Hao also specially mentioned his other social activities: “What I am also proud of is that I am still doing some social volunteer work in Southern California. I now serve as the Secretary General of Tsinghua University Alumni Association to help alumni and students to solve problems on study and career. When the rights and interests of overseas Chinese are infringed upon, we will resort to our social force to stand up and provide support. I am proud of all these. I think even a financial company cannot simply pursue money and should do something meaningful for the society.”

Such remarkable achievements are what not only Zou Hao but also all Chinese in the world should be proud of.