The HKU MBA has given me a chance to refresh, reboot, consolidate my knowledge and invest in new skills after 9 years in the workforce. After obtaining a BSc from the London School of Economics, an MPhil from the University of Oxford, and a Mandarin Chinese Diploma from Peking University, I started out as a management consultant in London and Hong Kong where I consulted in the logistics, FMCG, defence and healthcare sectors and then came a secondment to the UK Department of Trade with a focus on China healthcare. From there, I made the jump from consulting into industry to set up and manage the Chinese operations of a large British healthcare company, basing myself in Shanghai.
After four years in this role, I was looking for the next step up in my career and one of my early mentors suggested an MBA. It was a difficult decision to leave the workforce for a year, but I recognised the value in a more formal business education, particularly in finance and accounting. The HKU MBA offered me what I was looking for – an opportunity to study at a well-respected school but with a real focus on China, where most of my career up to now has been based and my future lies.
Since starting the MBA, it has been a whirlwind. It takes some time to adjust back into the student mindset but it helps that I have met a lively and interesting group of fellow students from all corners of the world. The MBA teaching style is less about rote learning and more about sharing and learning from each other. All of the courses require participants to give presentations, which is an excellent way to practice public speaking in a supportive environment.
As for the content, the professors do a great job of teaching the theory and encouraging us to think about how various strategies can be applied in real world scenarios. Some professors, such as Philip Chen, the former CEO of Cathay Pacific, Dragon Air and Hang Lung Properties, use their own career experiences to give a real insight into how business works and how decisions are made at the highest levels of big companies. There are also many electives to choose from to suit your own personal development requirements and finally, the opportunity to study in London or New York gives a truly global flavour to the programme.