Celine Zhu
Celine Zhu

I was born and raised in Shanghai, which is China’s largest and most dynamic city. I had always planned to extend my career to international locations so once my company offered me a position in our APAC headquarters in Hong Kong I accepted it without any hesitation. Moving to Hong Kong not only matched my career plans but it also allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and to gain the maturity to explore new opportunities and possibilities.

I am currently working as a senior innovation manager for an IT consulting company headquartered in Paris. We serve more than two thirds of the world’s largest companies across multiple industries such as automotive, consumer products and retailing, financial services, pharmaceuticals industry and high tech. I am passionate about working within dynamic and innovative ecosystems with start-ups, venture capital, academics and research institutions where we explore emerging technologies (such as artificial intelligence and big data, quantum computing, digital twin, 5G etc.) and innovative landscapes. I am also passionate about understanding business models within an ever-changing and competitive business environment, and about helping our clients improve and accelerate their innovation roadmap and proficiency. My company and I position ourselves as an enabler as well as a partner to our clients where we grow and develop their digital transformation. As a professor of mine once said, a company’s strategy is their digital strategy.

I have over 10 years of working experience across different industries and companies and across multiple functions and various cultures so I believe that I have accumulated a lot of practical business knowledge. However the longer I have worked the more I recognise the need to learn more advanced and systematic knowledge. I learnt that it is best practices to have more of a strategic view of the whole business world. I decided to pursue an MBA degree from a well-renowned institution. That is the reason why I chose the MBA at HKU over others in the Greater Bay Area. The HKU brand has a strong international reputation and a good quality of business programming with an Asian focused curriculum and experienced professors. HKU also has a diversity of students from a range of nationalities and backgrounds along with a balanced gender mix. So far I think I made the right decision and have enjoyed my MBA journey at HKU.

I decided to complete my MBA journey on a part time basis as I relocated to Hong Kong for work. I think it’s a perfect opportunity for me to apply what I learned from class to my work immediately. I also appreciate the flexible schedules and options offered by the programme and I’m able to maintain the balance between career enhancement and academic growth.

One area that I have seen career enhancement in is in my leadership skills. The programme grants me the gateway to access all the business subjects  and skill sets required to become a leader. The biggest takeaway for me is that the MBA programme enhances my leadership qualities, my critical thinking and presentation skills. I understand myself and the purpose of life much more. By attending this MBA programme I also understand my strengths as well as the areas that I need to improve upon. In-class discussions,  group projects, case analysis and in-depth interviews with industry leaders all allow me to be immersed in the real business world which in turn develops my business skills.

The most impressive course is the Capstone project. It requires you to apply all the knowledge you learnt from previous courses (such as Marketing, Operations, Finance, Competitive Strategy) to provide strategy proposals for a company. This was coupled with access to seminars, workshops and career coaching opportunities, giving me exposure to experts from different industries which in turn helps extend my knowledge in different domains. It is all very helpful.

COVID brought us a lot of uncertainties and obstacles when it came to our studies. However the HKU MBA office provided us with flexible ways to address issues. The office offers us a hybrid model to keep the continuity of our classes and to maximise our learning experience. I know the HKU MBA programme is the only one that provides the hybrid model and they try their best to maintain offline teaching to ensure the quality and experience of the courses. The hybrid model has proven to be a good workaround in helping to keep continuity of study and helps to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

What’s important for me is what we want to do and want to become after our MBA journey. For me, an MBA is a good beginning as it equips me with environment, knowledge, resources and skills needed to enhance my career. I think what we want to do after the MBA is important. The MBA opens a door for you to explore new possibilities and opportunities in your life. The part-time MBA journey has been a wonderful experience and has given me invaluable opportunities to get acquainted with business professionals from various industries and to share both business and personal experiences and stories. The programme has also allowed me to make friends and, even possibly, business partners in the near future. My advice to new applicants is not to be afraid of challenges because it will help you grow, and don’t hesitate when trying new experiences along this journey full of fun. It is definitely a worthwhile investment in your personal growth and professional development.