Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Researching commercial networks in China as a Research Analyst at Kharon

MAIS alumna Morgan Brown '20 reflects on the value of her experience at the HNC and how the skills she acquired at the HNC apply to her career as a Research Analyst at Kharon.

Tell us a bit more about your career and your current role.
I am currently a Research Analyst on the China Team at Kharon, a research and analytics firm focused on sanctions and financial crime. As a member of the China team, my research has specifically focused on commercial networks related to military end-users in China and human rights violations in Xinjiang. 
How often do you use Chinese in your current position and/or other skills you gained while studying at the HNC?
Looking back, I didn't fully appreciate how applicable the skills I picked up at the HNC would be to my future career. As a China Analyst, I use Chinese for the majority of my workday, every day. Learning how to digest and sift through large amounts of information for my classes has helped me now that I need to sift through Chinese websites and stock disclosures every day.
Additionally, going through the process of writing and defending a master’s thesis helped both my language skills and my understanding of the full research processes. The process of formulating a question, executing and writing, and finally acknowledging the shortcomings in my own research during a defense have been indispensable to completing research in a non-academic environment.

What is a favorite memory of yours from your time at the HNC?
Other than hanging out in the lounge or going to KTV with my classmates, one of my favorite memories was traveling to Ruili in Yunnan for one of my HNC classes. In addition to the amazing food and memories with my classmates, one day we traveled to the border between Burma and China to better understand the flow of people and items between the two countries. While walking around the side of the border checkpoint – where only a fence divided the two countries – we noticed a number of stands set up on the Burmese side facing us. We were extremely confused as to their purpose until we noticed Chinese citizens casually walking up to the fence and slipping cash through the barrier in exchange for items. It was an absolutely crazy moment that I’ll never forget! 

What is one piece of advice you have for future HNC students?
Don’t forget to go outside and experience life in Nanjing! Although with homework piling up and deadlines looming, it’s tempting to stay in the library and work, it’s the memories with your classmates that you’ll never forget. Take advantage of all of the opportunities the HNC provides like the wall walk, racing in a dragon boat race, and going to explore the city! 

The HNC is now 35 years old. What do you see as the value of the HNC in the next 35 years?
With the heightening of tensions between China and the US under the previous and current administration, the HNC will only continue to become more valuable. People who understand both cultures and languages will continue to be pivotal in understanding and shaping the relationship between our two countries. The HNC not only provides valuable academic information, but a place for students from both countries to learn how to grow and solve problems together. The HNC has remained steadfast through the high and low points of Sino-US relations and will remain a place of mutual understanding and growth.