HKU MBA invited Chloe Huang, who managed to achieve her three goals: a change of location, a change of industry and a change in her title, after she completed her MBA at The University of Hong Kong. Chloe shared with us her unforgettable journey from MBA to landing her current role, and also her views on getting a job in Asia despite the current climate full of uncertainty.
Can you please share your background with us?
My name is Chloe and I was born and raised in Shanghai. I am a graduate of Oxford Brookes University with upper second-class honours in applied accounting. I started my career with KPMG Shanghai in 2014 and I have spent four and a half years in the ‘Big Four” covering auditing, financial due diligence and mergers and acquisitions. In 2019 I decided to pursue an MBA at the University of Hong Kong and I am now an executive management associate at DBS Bank in HK. The MBA has helped me change location, industry and role.
What was your MBA journey like? What were the ups and downs, the opportunities and challenges?
An MBA is not just about presentations and social networking, there are a lot of memorable and exciting moments during the year. I was the co-chair at the Women in Leadership Club and hosted our flagship event in Nov 2019 discussing the topic “Kids or career: Do we have to choose?”. I also incubated my own beauty-tech business “Glambition” with my partner Chris at HKU business lab.
How did you land your current job? Did the HKU MBA help you in any way?
I found my current job through a referral at CDT, HKU MBA’s career development and training team. My batchmate, who was previously working within the banking industry, helped me by conducting mock interviews. I was very grateful for having the CDT team with me during my job hunt.
The change of location, change of industry and change of job role – is this something you expected before joining HKU MBA?
Totally. I was very determined and knew exactly what my goal hence why HKU was the only school I applied to. My goal after MBA was to be a banker in Hong Kong. And I achieved it.
How has the MBA programme equipped you for your current role?
The MBA programme equips you for your current role in the following three ways:
Communication skills: I did a lot of presentations, social networking, negotiations and much teamworking. The programme has taught me good communication skills so that I now have the ability to work both in a team and individually. My current job routine involves coordination and communicating with different stakeholders. Good communication skills eased me into my new role.
The second is a digital mindset: This is one of the biggest takeaways from my MBA experience. We are in the digital era which means that we need to be adaptive and creative and to continually learn new things. Banking is a very traditional industry; however, DBS has shown an exceptional ability for digital transformation and innovation. I am very lucky to participate in the digibank transformation project.
The third is a strong alumni network: There are many HKU alumni working in the banking industry. Before I started my current role, I reached out to a few for advice and they have provided me with insights that allows me to do well in my current job.
All of these experiences make me a confident, enthusiastic and persuasive person which fits into my current role as an executive management associate at the bank.
Do you think getting a job in Hong Kong, China or Asia is possible now? Especially given the current global pandemic and weakened economy?
We need to stay positive and be confident. We have an MBA from a prestigious school and have previous working experience. It is definitely possible to get a job under the current circumstances. But in Chinese 危机 means危中有机; threat and opportunities always come together. Hong Kong is an important financial hub in Asia and is still the gateway
to China. There are many opportunities across different industries such as finance, fin-tech and legal. China is an emerging economy that is evolving quickly and is bringing disruptive changes to the world economy. In recent years China has been developing the Greater Bay Area which means that there are many opportunities within the region.
Any advice for those who would like to use an MBA as a door for career changes?
An MBA could open doors for you when it comes to changing location and industry. But don’t expect that getting an MBA will make everything happen. You must know what you really want to achieve after an MBA and put a lot of effort into making it happen.