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HKU Full-time MBA Advantage

Students / Alumni Talks

Sam Greenwood
  • NameSam Greenwood
  • NationalityU.S.A.
  • BatchClass of 2020

Originally from America, my journey to pursuing my MBA have been an interesting one. After receiving an undergraduate history degree, I joined the US Marine Corps where I was deployed to Afghanistan and took on various leadership roles with significant responsibilities. After 4 years of service I took up a new challenge in Washington D.C., working in the Government Affairs office of Rio Tinto; a multinational mining company. Through the relationships built throughout my career, I was able to secure myself a job in Australia, where I conducted research and analysis for a mining company.

Having grown tired of Washington D.C., I decided to make a transition in my career and look to Asia, where I would study for an MBA. Being a full-time student required immense dedication and focus, but also offered invaluable experiences, such as my internship-turned-permanent-role at successful blockchain technology startup, CryptoBLK.

I was given the opportunity to take on multiple projects, seeing them through from ideation to fruition. My role during this internship was primarily focused on project management and supporting management with their ideas, by developing a minimal viable product and providing feedback. Turning full-time opened up a broader perspective, allowing me to experience the full realm of ideation, from testing to product launch. Learning the process of testing stages during my internship prepared me for my current role, where I communicate with engineers, as well as customers and collaborators.

The MBA has given me a framework of how to strategically think when in different situations - something I face daily, especially within the start-up world. The relationships made and networks built throughout my MBA journey will be life-long - the cherry on top to my incredible MBA experience.

CryptoBLK is a young company looking to scale up, and I am extremely excited to take on additional responsibilities and be a part of the company’s exciting growth.

Vaishali Goel
  • NameVaishali Goel
  • NationalityIndia
  • BatchClass of 2020

There are times in your life when you are afraid of taking a big step and doing something new. The MBA chapter of my life is one such time. Living in my home country for the last 26 years made me so comfortable that studying abroad scared me, but taking this big step in my life is something I will always be thankful for.

The programme started in Beijing, where I met my diverse group of batchmates. We had people from China, USA, Australia, UK, Mexico, Malaysia, India and many more places. Our company visits started in the first week itself. Knowing what opportunities were in store thrilled me.

After a month, we arrived in the financial hub of Hong Kong, where we started our MBA classes. Apart from our core classes, we were given a diverse range of electives to choose from. My favourite was “Marketing for Tech Intensive Industries,” by Dr. Eden - a class I’m able to re-take anytime, if i so wish. Along with experienced professors, we had the opportunity to learn from fruitful discussions with expert guest lecturers, who spoke about their own business and managerial experiences.

An MBA is not just about learning in class, though. It’s also about networking, building friendships, and so much more. We enjoyed events such as mixers with alumni, a Christmas party, Diwali party, career fairs and more. During my second semester I got the opportunity to work as a product manager intern with Hong Kong’s largest energy and utility company, CLP Holdings. Big THANKS to the networking sessions and the HKU careers team!

During my time at CLP, I worked in the digital innovation hub for a recently launched digital marketplace in Hong Kong. Coming from a technical background and having worked with Tata Consultancy Services Limited in India as a system engineer for 4 years, I knew this was the best platform for me to apply my technical skills, as well as my MBA curriculum knowledge. I collaborated with different team members to identify strategic partners, verify product fit, conduct market analysis and design product roadmaps. This perfectly aligned with my post MBA career goal, as it helped me build on my management, problem solving, analytical and people skills. I will always cherish my time at CLP, where I had the chance to meet so many different people with diverse cultures and backgrounds. Our weekly lunches where we got to know each other’s families and aspirations. My failed attempts to learn Cantonese, which I never felt was necessary. I enjoyed our weekly lunches where we spoke about each other's families and I attempted to learn Cantonese.

In all, my MBA pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me how to turn challenges into opportunities. I will always be grateful for my MBA, for giving me a fresh perspective on the business world by broadening my cultural horizons, providing me with memorable experiences with the future leaders, and last but not least, my lifelong friends.

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is not in finishing an MBA but in doing it”

Jose Manuel Rodriguez Moreno
  • NameJose Manuel Rodriguez Moreno
  • NationalityMexico
  • BatchClass of 2020

As for my profile, I trusted in two things; the international experience I had, which I knew could contribute to the class, and the drive and passion that characterise my dreams. I was confident these aspects would draw attention and make my profile stand out.

Eleven years before, I studied industrial engineering, focusing on process development and optimisation. During my studies, I was fortunate to be given various opportunities to study and do internships abroad. Within that period, I lived, studied, and worked in Brazil and France. These opportunities gave me a multi-cultural understanding of both social and working environments.

With a combination of my engineering studies and global experience, I got a position as Project Manager in a company called Grundfos – a pump manufacturer. I was privileged, as management allowed me to rotate a year in Denmark and six months in China. Not only did the experience fuel the curiosity to understand and live along with different cultures but it also created a special affection for Asia, which in turn led me to the decision to pursue the MBA in Asia.

After three years of working at Grundfos, I decided to start a new project, and my father, a neurologist, had a plan in mind. Alongside other healthcare specialists, we started a project that enables and empowers older people to live a more independent life. I had the fortune to run and manage the company for the first two years of its operations and that opportunity taught me about leadership and perseverance. However, the start-up made me realise that I needed more preparation and to expand my business knowledge. The company is now three years old and still actively providing new opportunities to the senior generation.

I chose to study at the HKU because it is a reputable and prestigious university, located strategically in Asia. Hong Kong, known as the world’s corridor into Asia, would give me opportunities to understand the culture and business environment. Furthermore, at HKU, I am able to learn from the diverse background of my cohorts. Now, months into the experience, I feel even more grateful to have been admitted into this programme.

Throughout the programme, I have had the opportunity to learn from fascinating professors with extensive experience and various backgrounds. They have participated in compelling projects, their experiences from which supplement my journey as an entrepreneur. Some of my favourite classes in this programme have been Business Ethics, Artificial Intelligence for Business Leaders, and Business Lab.

For Business Lab, we were assigned to create a project or a company from inception. Pedro Eloy, our professor, invited experts from various industries to share their experience in the challenges and procedures that an entrepreneur would encounter. The class ended with a final pitch where, through a series of projects and a lot of hard work, we presented a company that we had created. I had the luck to be part of a team with experienced and well prepared people. Through our constant collaboration in project Aqua de Vida, we won four out of five awards for our project.

The variety of classes in the HKU MBA programme, the project that we worked together on, and the awards that we won have become a tilting point of my career. The series of experiences made me realise a desire to focus totally on the healthcare industry and to be a facilitator of collaboration between people and projects. I understood that through leadership and a clear goal, coupled with an entrepreneurial mindset, ideas thrive.

Vivian Li
  • NameVivian Li
  • NationalityHong Kong
  • BatchClass of 2020

My name is Vivian Li.  I completed my undergraduate degree in international business in the United States and I have been on exchange programmes in Shanghai and Edinburgh. Upon graduating, I came back to Hong Kong and joined a boutique consulting firm working as a business analyst. While I was there, I was exposed to a wide variety of industries, from food and beverage to education, then to telecommunications. After spending two years in the company, I decided that I needed a change in my working environment. So, I left the company and joined a global supply chain company, working as an internal consultant under the group executive office.

During my time there, I had the privilege of working on various change management projects and it was then I found my passion in the change management field. However, it also made me realise the importance of continuing to enhance my theoretical and practical skills to become more equipped with knowledge that could help me excel in the field.

The reasons I selected HKU's MBA programme were not just its innovative reputation and its strong academic background, but also its emphasis on internationalism. HKU provides a unique programme in which students can experience Beijing, Hong Kong, and London within 14 months. It also offers me the opportunity to observe and explore companies’ best practices, as well as understand various working cultures in different countries.

Since the programme began, there has not been one day that I have not felt intellectually inspired. The intense class discussions and numerous group projects have pushed me to grow in various aspects. I am also actively participating in and organising various types of events as the Chairperson of the Consulting Club. I am thankful that I have such a diverse and enjoyable group of classmates. While we are all working hard towards our degree, we are also growing and having fun as one team in HKU MBA.

Sakshi Gulati
  • NameSakshi Gulati
  • NationalityIndia
  • BatchClass of 2020

What is my education and career background?

My learning curve began with my undergraduate studies major in commerce. As a professional, I have worked with KPMG and Deloitte where diversity was intrinsic to the organisation. Interacting with colleagues across verticals and handling clients to meet timelines, working on assignments and international projects and learning to grow as a team has been a journey of a lifetime. Working with over 15 leading clients in India and globally and interacting with CXOs level people has helped me to make contacts and develop public speaking skills.

At the relatively raw age of 24, I dared to think unconventionally and launched my venture “Yell to Wedding Bells” in India, by spending countless hours to study the market and understand the gaps that the marriage industry in the country is facing.

Why HKU and Why Hong Kong?

The HKU MBA’s case based approach provides just what I need from my time at the campus. The small class size provides extensive collaboration among classmates and the good mix of diverse profiles that HKU takes in provides the best fit. We have people from manufacturing, supply chain, finance, consulting, aviation, film industry, telecom and more. The global vision at HKU provides excellent networking opportunities at other world-renowned schools, such as LBS & Columbia, and business hubs. This is an important factor that aligns with my goal with understanding of what global business really means.

The strong alumni network, along with talented peers from a diversity of backgrounds will help me widen my own network and, in turn, lead to greater business potential.

Hong Kong is known as “We are the world” for its international culture and food, which is one of the reasons which brought me here. More than 115 countries have consulates in Hong Kong which indicates that non-natives are quite common in the city. A 20-minute drive from just about anywhere will take you to idyllic beaches and hiking trails through lush green mountains. Hong Kong is also equipped with convenient and pocket friendly public transport- big buses, little buses, tramway, MTR/railways, ferries, you name it, they have it and they are all interconnected, making Hong Kong’s network one of the most sophisticated in the world.

My Journey so far at HKU

As a child, I still remember the conversation my father and I had in high school, “Entrepreneurs seldom intend to become entrepreneurs. They run into situations where they cannot avoid becoming entrepreneurs,” he said. Hong Kong is known as the world’s largest hub for incubators. With HKU MBA’s leading elective course, Business Lab for Incubators, you can get the best platform to give life to your ideas by creating a real business and not just the plan.  This course invites guest speakers (Leaders in Start-ups), who acts as a “reality check” and as a source of potential networking opportunities whilst leading topic‐specific sessions and offering generous amounts of time to the students for questions and answers.

My journey so far has been amazing, with people from different nations including USA, Canada, China, Korea, India, and Australia making the class interaction global. During our case-based approach in class, we discuss organisational and cultural examples from all these countries. The China Immersion programme in Beijing, prior to the MBA programme, where we explored and learned Chinese culture, CQ (Cultural Quotient) is the new need of the hour because EQ (Emotional Quotient) has always been prevalent and dominating.

HKU’s community, network, social impact, and curriculum are all one of a kind. With the HKU clubs, including the Consulting Club, Entrepreneurship Club, Women’s Leadership Club, and Finance and Banking Club, we get the opportunity to learn, share and grow as a professional.  I am privileged to be the President of the Consulting Club.

To be a thought leader, address real-world problems, navigate social change and create social value are core parts of my learning at HKU!

Chris Kim
  • NameChris Kim
  • NationalityU.S.
  • BatchClass of 2020

My name is Chris Kim from San Francisco, California. After graduating from the University of California Berkeley, I worked in analytics in the digital marketing space for a few years before moving to an insurance firm to work in procurement and financial analytics. I really enjoyed all of these opportunities, but I always found myself seeking out more challenging tasks and taking various online courses to pick up new skills.

When my wife and I decided to come to Hong Kong, I realised it would be an excellent opportunity for me to formally enroll in an MBA programme and take my career to the next level. Having been born in South Korea, I had always had an interest in returning to Asia and my experiences traveling, studying, and volunteering across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa made me excited about being in an international environment. These factors, along with HKU's reputation and regional presence, led me to choose HKU.

My experience thus far with HKU has definitely exceeded my expectations. The classes are always engaging - particularly of note was the Reflections of a CEO class in which we got to learn from the former CEO of several prominent firms in Asia, which was inspiring, insightful, and humbling. Being able to meet firms from around the world here in Hong Kong is eye-opening and makes me excited to take the next step in my career. Last but not least, my classmates are a great group of smart, hardworking people from around the world with such a diverse spectrum of backgrounds and they have elevated this experience to another level.

David Anthony Gray
  • NameDavid Anthony Gray
  • NationalityUnited Kingdom
  • BatchClass of 2020

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.

Nikki Lim
  • NameNikki Lim
  • NationalityMalaysia
  • BatchClass of 2020

Prior to joining HKU MBA, I held various positions within the banking industry for more than 5 years. In my last role, I was able to experience, first-hand, FinTech, big data, and machine learning. This has generated my interest in broadening my industry knowledge and expanding my business network.

I started my MBA journey in Beijing where I was able to build a strong rapport with my classmates, who came from a mix of nationalities and industries. During our time in Beijing, we were able to learn a new language, explore historically rich sites and participate in numerous company visits that broadened our knowledge of the business culture in China. The days in Hong Kong started out as intensive yet fulfilling. We were introduced to industry experts and global leaders through networking events, workshops and career talks. Being a 14 months MBA, we were given a comprehensive and effective curriculum that allows us to gain deep insights into not one but two world-class cities.

The choice to pursue my MBA in Hong Kong was essential because this is one of the most diverse and culturally rich cities within the region. Throughout my MBA journey, the MBA office has provided us with various opportunities to explore beyond the classroom and has supported my career advancement every step of the way. They have provided invaluable advice and connected students with mentors and leaders in their industry of interest.

The move to Hong Kong would not have been as easy without the support of my classmates and assistance from the MBA office. HKU MBA has gone beyond my expectations and I would highly recommend those who are up for a challenge to get out of their comfort zone and gain a world recognised MBA!

Bradley Cheuk
  • NameBradley Cheuk
  • NationalityCanada
  • BatchClass of 2020

My name is Brad and I was born and raised in Toronto Canada. A little bit about me.  I attended the University of Toronto where I studied economics and political science, and I’m also an aviation enthusiast with a private pilot’s license. I have worked in a variety of roles across different industries including energy, financial services, and aerospace. Before joining HKU for their MBA programme, I worked for a Canadian aerospace company called MDA as a business development associate. I decided to pursue my MBA because I wanted to widen my career horizons through international exposure and gain a better understanding of how business is conducted in the Asia Pacific region. Centrally located in Hong Kong, Asia’s business hub, and in partnership with Columbia Business School, London Business School, and Fudan University, it was not a hard decision to choose HKU for its international presence. The experience has so far opened my eyes to a part of China that, growing up in Canada, I never saw before. In my diverse cohort of international students, I have witnessed first-hand the synergies created when people from varied backgrounds work together, which has added to the diversity and breadth of classroom discussions.

Akanksha Kalra
  • NameAkanksha Kalra
  • NationalityIndia
  • BatchClass of 2020

I came to Hong Kong in 2014 to pursue my interest in chemical engineering and joined the master’s program at one of the universities in Hong Kong. Thereafter, I worked in a supply chain firm in Hong Kong doing sales and trading of chemicals across Asia Pacific. At this point, I realised the need for an MBA, as I would often encounter issues related to the finance and accounting fields while interacting with and reporting to senior managers.

Why Hong Kong? Asia is seeing rapid growth, with Hong Kong as its centre of gravity, providing a multitude of opportunities and global exposure. My previous role in Hong Kong allowed me to interact with people from different countries across Asia, which I really valued. Personally, I love the vibrant and fast paced life of Hong Kong. There are so many exciting activities happening around you.

HKU MBA was my preferred MBA because of its Asia focus (especially Hong Kong focus) and its history of being one of the oldest recognised tertiary universities in Asia. This allows me to tap into an extensive and diverse network. The MBA class mix is truly rich with people from the media, engineering, finance, the arts and many more, thereby bringing so many interesting points of view to the table. I greatly enjoy all the courses we have and, if time permits, I also sit in other classes I couldn’t enrol in. We are offered a wide range of interesting electives from different fields and my favourite course by far has been MTII. I didn’t enrol for this elective but sat in some of the classes and found so much to learn.

I am looking forward to taking this journey forward and I go on the LBS track next year, which will bring in more opportunities and new experiences.

Tharavit Prayochvibul
  • NameTharavit Prayochvibul
  • NationalityThai
  • BatchClass of 2020

Having had substantial experience in the energy sector, my career path is to work for the benefit of my country as a specialist or consultant for the Ministry of Energy in Thailand, to improve the efficiency of energy resource management in Thailand. To reach my goal, I studied the structures and course modules in this MBA programme. I am confident that this programme will equip me with many essential skills such as business views, decision making, risk and evaluation, and effective communication.

My personal goal is to work in Asia and most students in class are coming together with the same attitude. It will be a good chance to acquire different knowledge, learn about cultures and even make connections. Therefore, this programme will significantly strengthen me and and be a step up  towards reaching my goal. Besides having an appropriate  educational background and working experience, I am suited to joining this programme because my future career plan completely meets the intention of the programme. I expect to be involved in developing Thailand’s economy, leading to a strengthening of the Asian economy to the level of global leadership. During my studies in this programme, I found out that the MBA course at HKU has been the right choice for me.

Aadil Chitalwala
  • NameAadil Chitalwala
  • NationalityIndian
  • BatchClass of 2020

After graduating from college, I was keen to pursue a career in financial services. This pursuit led to a four-year association with the French bank BNP Paribas (BNPP) in their Mumbai offices. While at BNPP, I had the opportunity to gain a holistic perspective on the financial services ecosystem in India and build a team, as well as work with some senior and prominent members of the industry. While working as a full-time professional, I also founded an internet start-up and led a non-profit that has had an impact on  over 1000+ students in helping them in their education and in achieving their goals.

Why an MBA? After four years of work experience in India, I was curious to learn and build a network outside my exisiting circles. An MBA would allow me to get involved in activities beyond my comfort zone and interact with individuals from different backgrounds and with different interests than my own.

Why HKU MBA? Having lived in the United States and in India, I wanted to experience a part of the world that was previously unknown to me. Being in Hong Kong would provide me with that very experience. The reason I picked HKU is because of its reputation within Hong Kong and globally. Being part of the MBA programme has not only helped me to build expertise and a network within the programme itself but has allowed me to engage in the larger HKU community and utilize its network. HKU is a brand synonymous with Hong Kong and it represents more than just an educational institution.

My experience so far at HKU has been an accumulation of learning and involvement in a few categories. In terms of learning, Professor Philip Chen’s Reflections of a CEO class has taught me more about leadership than any of the books I have read on the topic. It taught me about the kind of leader I want to be. When it comes to community, being part of the Postgraduate Student Association has allowed me to have a direct, positive impact on the thousand students HKU has in its master’s programmes. I will be attending the MBA World Summit in Frankfurt this March and am excited to be representing the HKU brand among some of the most exceptional MBA students worldwide.