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HKU Full-time MBA Advantage

Students / Alumni Talks

Sam Greenwood
  • NameSam Greenwood
  • NationalityU.S.A.
  • 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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Zai Chen
  • NameZai Chen
  • NationalityMainland China
  • BatchClass of 2019

I worked as a business development intern at Sensetime, a Hong Kong technology company specialising in AI visioning, from February to May 2019. My duty was supporting the other members in the business development team in researching on opportunities in AI+Education in the Bay Area, briefing our company on exhibitions, and finishing and processing sale contracts among other ways. It was a very short internship before my exchange in Columbia Business School. Through this experience, I got a basic understanding of what was happening with AI visioning in China. AI, or machine learning, is a technology which will increase the efficiency of so many industries. I know it is at an early stage in its technology curve now and I’m pretty sure the majority of companies will use AI in the next ten years, whether they are aware of that or not. Overall, it was a very good experience for me.

Current Status

Employer: AMTD Group
Position:   Deputy Director of President Office
Location:  Hong Kong

Vaishali Goel
  • NameVaishali Goel
  • NationalityIndia
  • 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). 

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.

Chloe Huang
  • NameChloe Huang
  • NationalityChina
  • 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.

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.

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!