HKU Full-time MBA Advantage
Students / Alumni Talks
- 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.
- NameVaishali Goel
- BatchClass of 2020
I completed my bachelor’s in information technology. Later I joined Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., India’s largest IT firm. I was in the financial services domain where I worked with two major clients – JP Morgan and Bank of New York. I was responsible for product development, solution analysis and team management.
Throughout my education and career, I have acquired technical skills which are needed for any product’s development and analysis. For management of a product, one must know all the aspects of a product lifecycle, be it negotiating with clients on the feasibility of new requirements or managing resources such as people, time and budget. Along with my technical skills, management skills were what I needed and there is no better place than an MBA to learn and enhance those skills.
Hong Kong is home to a variety of people and cultures. It is one of the fastest growing economies and the headquarters of many big companies. Hong Kong is a small world where one can gain a lot of exposure to knowledge and business.
HKU has been my first preference for four reasons. One is its smaller batch size. In HKU, professors will give you the utmost attention and help because they don’t have to cope with large groups. The second reason is its culture. In HKU, it’s completely fine if you want to directly approach senior people for suggestions or help. Everyone, including the MBA director, is ready to help anytime of the day. There is a flat hierarchy where everyone is given equal opportunity to speak and ask for help. Thirdly, there is the Asia Case Research Centre. HKU has its own case research centre which has amazing case studies and helps students understand business concepts in a better way. If one wants to understand Asia’s market, it’s the perfect choice. My fourth reason is the exchange programmes. Along with the Asian market experience, one has the opportunity to explore London (LBS), USA (CBS) and China (Fudan).
- 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.
- NameChloe Huang
- BatchClass of 2020
I gained a BSc (Hons) at Oxford Brookes University and was an M&A senior associate at EY China. I am also an ACCA member, HeartSaver of the American Heart Association and an avid language learner. I am a native Chinese speaker, fluent in English, proficient in French and conversational in Italian.
I chose the HKU MBA programme because it is a one year programme, making it a lower opportunity cost. Hong Kong is located in the heart of Asia, and is a world leading business and financial centre. Since I decide to devote myself to the financial service sector in East Asia, enrolling in an MBA programme has become a top priority. Among all potential programmes in Hong Kong, the MBA programme in HKU is no doubt the best. Its partnerships with two world-renowned business schools, London Business School and Columbia Business School, provide broader networking opportunities and a global mindset.
People in my batch come from widely different national and work backgrounds, and I feel lucky to have so much to learn from my classmates. We have formed several clubs. I am now on the committee of the Women in Leadership Club. The core mission of the club is for women and men to work together to promote women in leadership roles. I also joined other groups such as the Wine Tasting Club formed by our Part-time MBA students.
It is worth mentioning that the electives in term 1 exceed my expectations. I chose VCPE, Business Lab and Marketing for Tech-intensive Industries. Even if you have a strong finance background, you will still have so much to learn.
MBA office holds a lot of networking events including dinners, drinks, hiking, and other events. The alumni activities provided by HKU enrich my MBA experiences.
- NameSam Greenwood
- BatchClass of 2020
Coming from a background in government affairs, I decided to pursue an MBA to build a broader and deeper understanding of what it takes to create and implement a successful corporate strategy focusing on Asia. There are some very exciting trends across the region, from the fastest-growing middle class to the Belt and Road Initiative that are creating incredible opportunities which companies will be eager to capitalize on for the rest of my professional career. I think with an HKU MBA I'll be able to make myself an attractive candidate to participate in exciting roles that are developing the region.
The first term has been very intense and fast-paced with school work, getting to know classmates and exploring different industries and career paths through networking with alumni and companies.
The growth and exploration that this programme has afforded me so far has greatly exceeded my expectations and allowed me to build a great network.
- NameNikki Lim
- 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!
- NameBradley Cheuk
- 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.
- NameSakshi Gulati
- 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!
- NameAkanksha Kalra
- 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.
- NameDylan Gao
- BatchClass of 2020
I was born and grew up in Mainland China. After gaining my Bachelor’s degree in Information System and Information Management from Hangzhou Dianzi University, I studied at the University of Surrey in the UK to acquire my Master’s degree in Marketing Management.
With this educational background, I did not choose to go back to Mainland China or continue to live in the UK. Instead, I decided to pursue my career in Hong Kong since it is such a dynamic city in the Asia-Pacific region. I started my career as a Research Executive in TNS, which is a market search agency. I worked very closely with clients from giant FMCG companies from different sectors, including vision care, food & beverage, and tobacco. After working in TNS for almost two years, I joined UBM Asia, which is the largest trade show organiser in Asia. Working as a Senior Customer Insights Executive in UBM Asia, I was mainly responsible for planning and implementing the customer insights strategy across the whole organisation. Apart from that, I also created C-level reports for the senior management team.
What motivates me to pursue an MBA degree is that I would like to raise my career path and my immediate plan is to work for a top-tier consulting firm. In the long term, with experience in strategy consulting, I want to start my own business around information technology. The tremendous learning from the MBA programme can enrich my knowledge in corporate finance, economy, and strategic management and also strengthen my analytical skills and leadership. Moreover, the MBA programme can grant me great networking opportunities to meet talent from different countries and industries to develop my own global vision, which is another key for an excellent strategy consultant and entrepreneur.
Hong Kong is the city embracing diversity and innovation. It has lots of great opportunities and resources that can help me make the dream come true. Therefore, doing the MBA programme of HKU is one of the key moves towards my overall personal goal and career goal.
- NameJain Aakriti
- BatchClass of 2020
To be educated in business in 4 major hubs of the world – India, Hong Kong, USA and London - is a dream come true. A graduate in business, with a Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours) from Christ University Bangalore, India, I was always interested in pursuing a career in business and I specialised in marketing. Business is all about learning and applying and I did that through my internships in consulting, fashion retail and transport companies. I also got a chance to study abroad for a semester in Ohio, USA which greatly opened my eyes to knowledge and learning in an International and diverse environment. I went on to work in aviation for 3 years, in sales and account management. Working out of the regional office in Chennai, I had the chance to experience projects relating to varying elements of commercial aviation. I travelled to several countries during this time because I feel travel is the best teacher.
The University of Hong Kong, Asia’s Number 1, in combination with London Business School and the opportunity to immerse myself in Chinese language and culture in Beijing gave me the complete global experience I was looking for. The close-knit and small class size with a wide diversity of cultures and industries makes the exchange of ideas and peer collaboration interesting and enriching. Design, media, aerospace, pharmaceutical, finance, consulting – these are just a few of the industries in class.
HKU MBA is where I’ve made friendships I will cherish for a lifetime. The HKU faculty and alumni network are always there to support you. In a short time I gained a wealth of knowledge from iconic business personalities in Hong Kong from companies such as HSBC, Deloitte, Cathay Pacific, and Alibaba to name a few. Learning from practical cases, working on real-world problems and meeting great people has made the experience remarkable.
The journey so far has been memorable, enriching, and exciting and I can’t wait for it to further unfold.
- NameNarumi Hashimoto
- BatchClass of 2017
After I got a master’s degree in political science from Waseda University, I worked at ABeam Consulting and PwC as a business consultant. At these firms, I organized the global standardization of business processes and designed new management accounting methods for Japanese companies.
I decided to pursue an MBA because I needed Asian business knowledge to pursue my career goal. Now, Japanese companies are acquiring a lot of foreign companies, especially Asian companies, to overcome the recession and expand their businesses. But it takes a few years to integrate their business operations because they do not have enough knowledge about foreign approaches. I wanted to boost post-merger integration to help my client grow, so I had to learn Asian business at an MBA programme.
HKU is the perfect place to study it. The programme is provided not only in Hong Kong, but also in the mainland. Case based approaches created by Asia Case Research Centre focus on Asia. In addition, the class size is small and students come from all over the world. These advantages allow me to experience and learn Asian business.
My days in HKU are more challenging than expected because the MBA programme is an intensive 14-month programme and students are strongly urged to be active. For example, the China Immersion Programme enables students to understand Chinese culture and the business environment, but it is conducted for only one month. However, thanks to such a rigorous approach, I strongly believe I will cultivate a comprehensive Asian knowledge and become a business leader in Asia.
Employer: Mitsubishi Corporation
Position: IT Solution Consultant
Location: Tokyo, Japan