Running investor relations for China's largest enterprise

Oliver Young.

Oliver Young, MBA ’04, began his relationship with UB in 1988, when he studied here for one year as a visiting scholar affiliated with the university’s English department. 

Young already had an undergraduate degree in foreign languages from Nanjing University and a graduate degree from Beijing University under his belt, and he had been an English professor at Petroleum University China, an educational institution that prepares postgraduate students for the oil industry. Studying at UB, however, gave him an education that extended far beyond linguistics.

“At that time, it was the beginning of China’s ‘opening and reform’ policy,” he says. “The country needed its people, especially young people like me, to learn from economically developed countries like the U.S.” Through his studies at UB, Young gained a greater understanding not only of the American language, but also of its people, economy, educational systems, culture, customs, geography and history.

Young returned to China and continued to teach, then gradually became interested in the fields of translation and interpretation. 1996, he left academia to take a job as vice editor-in-chief of an English periodical, Chinese Petroleum News. Two years later, Young entered China’s emerging business sector when he became the manager of investor and public relations at PetroChina Co. Ltd.

Young calls on his proficiency in English and his familiarity with American culture to help the company—which in 2000 became the first state-owned enterprise to conduct an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange and the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong—connect to the Western world. He serves as the liaison to potential and existing foreign investors such as Warren Buffett, the company’s second largest shareholder. Young is also in charge of corporate communications, translation and interpretation, investor events and working with overseas media such as Reuters, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek.

“In the past five years, I went through almost every city in Europe and America, answering countless questions during road shows, investor conferences, one-on-one meetings, press conferences, analyst meetings and so on,” he says.

Despite his exemplary communication skills, Young says he found that “working for such a large company, I needed to absorb some new knowledge on business management.” That prompted him to enroll in the UB MBA Program at Renmin University, from which he graduated last May. “Through the MBA program, I have a better understanding of my own company regarding the businesses, the strategies, the culture and philosophy, the structure, mindset of the senior management, financial operations and so forth,” he says. In addition, “by combining the knowledge I learned from all 16 modules of the program, I now better understand our investors overseas. Accordingly, I tell myself and my colleagues that at the same time while educating investors with details of performance and profit, we must respect them as well.”

The connections Young has maintained with UB through the past 17 years will continue as he attempts to generate interest in the School of Management Alumni Association as its first international director. “The economic life is so exciting and satisfying in China now. Graduates from the UB/Renmin EMBA program and degree holders from UB who come back to China are part of the backbone of the Chinese economy. We also have our counterparts from the rest of Asia and Australia,” he says. “Doubtless, the School of Management Alumni Association will serve as a platform to link all these resources.”

Written by Cindy Hennessey