Michael Qin

When he was in elementary school, SDSU BMACC student Michael Qin was always considered to be one of the best science, technology, engineering and math pupils (STEM) in his class.

“Out of a thousand students, our school picked the top 50 STEM students to create a ‘genius’ class,” said Qin, a native of Shaoxing, China. “I had been in that class since I was 12-years-old and that made me a little cocky – and a little vulnerable.”

That vulnerability became apparent when things took a drastic turn during his sophomore year of high school.

“I had surgery following a terrible drug allergy which forced me to miss two months of school,” recalled Qin. “When I returned to school, I had a hard time catching up. I lost my self-confidence and my grades took a steep drop.”

To stop the slide and start fresh, his parents decided to send him to the U.S. for college. He had no idea where he wanted to go, but landed at San Diego State. “SDSU was just a random choice, but it was one of the best choices I made in my life,” said Qin.

Michael Qin

And he is making the most of it: he will finish his BMACC (combination of bachelors/master’s degree in accounting) in four-and-a-half years instead of the traditional five years. When he graduates in December of 2017, he will move to New York City where he will begin work as a global analyst for Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley.

He’s already talking the language of Wall Street when he gives career advice to other international students: “The two most important things to remember are increasing your value and compounding your knowledge,” he said. “The best way to increase your value is expand your knowledge of the world, which I did by reading non-text books and news, writing journals and studying the stock market every day. I also figured that if I worked one percent harder, I would have compounded that knowledge at 37 times more than the average person. And since the job market usually matches your value with a fair market price, you’ll get a better salary.”

“But there is never a short cut. You need to work harder and smarter, along with efficiently managing your time,” added Qin. “That means no social media.”