Qimeng Shi Named Columbia GS Class of 2021 Salutatorian

The salutatorian of the Columbia University School of General Studies Class of 2021 is Qimeng Shi. Qimeng grew up in China, and is a graduate of the Joint Bachelor’s Degree Program between City University of Hong Kong and Columbia University.

March 31, 2021

From an early age through high school, she spent time visiting—and eventually helped coordinate donations for—a local shelter caring for orphans and older adults, and these experiences led to her development of a strong belief in the power of economics to bring about policies that effect social change and address income inequality. Qimeng recalls discussions with her father, who often suggested that the ideal society is “olive-shaped,” with the middle class making up the largest percentage of society, and that idea resonated with her. Ultimately, she decided to pursue economics in college in an effort to learn how she could contribute to attaining that ideal. 

While studying business economics at CityU, Qimeng served as a presenter and student organizer for the University’s Pre-Arrival Orientation for international and non-local incoming freshmen, as well as a student mentor and peer-assisted learning leader for the Department of Economics and Finance. She also participated in the National Investment Bank Competition in Canada, where she gained real-world experience in providing mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advice to companies, and also served as an executive committee member for Technology & Education: Connecting Cultures, where her duties included managing the group’s funds and expenses, as well as organizing the Nonprofit Organization Leadership Training Program (NLTP), which aims to cultivate entrepreneurship in non-profit organizations. Participants brainstorm ideas, detail possible operations, attend talks by experienced nonprofit founders, and ultimately draft a business plan to compete for the award of a start-up fund. In 2019, she interned as a portfolio manager at Tishman Speyer in Shanghai, China, where she continued gaining real-world experience in the field. She also spent six weeks volunteering for a summer program at the University of Auckland, conducting comparative study in public transport between Hong Kong and New Zealand, and volunteering with Mercy Hospice.

Outside of her studies, Qimeng volunteered with Read-Cycling, where she worked with a team of local residents to process donations and manage stock for its annual book sale. She also served as a translator for the 17th World Youth Bridge Team Championship and volunteered to help with beach cleanup at Pak Shui Wum Beach in the aftermath of typhoon Mangkhut.

Qimeng was named to the Dean’s List at CityU, and received several scholarships in recognition of her academic achievements, including the Presidential Scholarship and the CMB Wing Lung Bank Scholarship for Economics and Finance Students. 

At GS, Qimeng continued her study of economics, especially interested in courses that focused on poverty and inequality that were uniquely offered at Columbia. She worked as a teaching assistant for Intermediate Microeconomics in the Department of Economics, and also worked with Professor Tamrat Gashaw on his research regarding asymmetric risk-taking behavior of foreign and domestic banks.

Qimeng was named to the Dean’s List, and was inducted into the GS Honor Society and Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society. She graduates summa cum laude with a degree in financial economics. After graduation, Qimeng will attend the Master in Financial Technology Program at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), and eventually plans to pursue a career in a financial technology-related field and contribute to economic development in Mainland China.