When it comes to harmonizing professional and philanthropic pursuits, entrepreneur Jie Hayes (MBA ’99) hits all the right notes.
The Zicklin alumna is the founder and portfolio manager of Songbird Capital, a boutique investment advisory firm based in Princeton, NJ. She is also the donor behind the Songbird Capital Scholarship Program at Baruch. Both the company and the scholarship program owe their names to the Fleetwood Mac tune “Songbird,” from the group’s mega-album Rumours, which she was learning to play on the guitar at the same time she was establishing her firm. “The song represents the confluence of my passions, from entrepreneurship, to music, to doing the right thing for my clients, my family, and the larger community,” she explains.
Before founding Songbird in 2012, Ms. Hayes spent 10 years in hedge fund investing with Citi Alternative Investments as vice president in Investments and Portfolio Risk Management. Beijing TV interviewed her in 2006 for the documentary Chinese Women on Wall Street. In 2017 she was named one of the “Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business” by New York City’s Asian American Business Development Center.
Two years ago, inspired by a tour of Baruch’s Newman Vertical Campus—a building that did not exist when she was a student—and by the philanthropy of the late William Newman (’47) that made the building possible, the Zicklin alumna launched the Songbird Capital Scholarship Program. “I thought, ‘This building is a great gift to future generations,’ and I wanted to do something similar,” she says, adding, “In America you have a strong tradition of giving back. I want to encourage Chinese students to do that as well.”
Originally designed to honor exceptional MBA candidates studying finance from her undergraduate alma mater, Xi’an International Studies University, the scholarship has expanded in scope and funding to include students in the Zicklin Global MBA/MS in Finance Program, offered in partnership with some of the best universities in China. Earlier this year, two students in that program—one from Renmin University and the other from Peking University—received Songbird Capital Scholarships for outstanding academic work and extensive community service.
Says Qing Hu, PhD, Zicklin’s senior associate dean for academic affairs and innovation, “The Global MBA/MS program is among our initiatives aimed at developing a new generation of business leaders with a global perspective.” The Zicklin School is in the process of expanding dual-degree programming to additional top universities in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.
“I am very grateful that Ms. Hayes not only shares our vision but has endorsed it with her generosity,” says Dr. Hu. “Scholarship support will be critical to enable more students to participate in these global-forward business programs.”