In a recent interview with China Daily, Angela Chao spoke about her path to Deputy Chairman of the Foremost Group. She shared with China Daily reporter Li Jing the influences and side-steps that eventually brought her home to international shipping — a field that had always inspired her.

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Angela Chao and her father Dr. James Si-Cheng Chao

Chao graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1994. She completed her studies for a degree in Economics in only three years, and following graduation entered the world of finance. It was a slight delay from pursuing what had been a longtime dream of hers—to join her father at the international shipping company he began after his arrival in America. After a years of working in investment banking, Angela returned to school, this time to obtain her MBA from Harvard Business School, which she received in 2001. At this point, she joined her father, Dr. James Si-Cheng Chao at the Foremost Group.

Angela’s degrees equip her well to fulfill her responsibilities at the Foremost Group, where she handles the company’s chartering, vessel management and financial responsibilities. But, as she shared with Li Jing, her love of the arts and music almost steered her toward pursuing a degree in the arts. However, as first generation immigrants to a new country, her parents persuaded her of the importance of being educationally prepared to earn a good living — something that an art degree might not do. However, she has not abandoned music and the arts, and they continue to be a focal point in her life. Chao says that through art and music, her creative thinking has expanded, enabling her to be more strategic and see things from many different perspectives in her work. To feed her love for the arts, she serves on many boards of arts organizations.

Angela Chao is also very involved in furthering the philanthropic endeavors begun by her parents — such as the Shanghai Mulan Foundation, which provides scholarships to students in China and America, as well as other initiatives designed to strengthen US-China cross-cultural ties. This past fall, Angela established a scholarship fund for Chinese-American undergraduate students attending Harvard College. Her family had already created a scholarship program in 2012 to enable students of Chinese descent to attend Harvard Business School.