Musings a few weeks before we’re almost done in HK…

In a few weeks, the last classes for the Spring semester ends, heralding the end of all of 115 of us HKUST MBAs would be in Hong Kong together. Afterwards, come June, we start our internships with only a few choosing to finish the last remaining courses under the 12-month program so they can start looking for work from September 2011.

Many are sad to see everyone leave. Parties abound with the main theme that this may be our last moments together as a batch. It’s very sentimental these days.

We started with 115 people, but a few others chose to leave.

One realized she was pregnant after she accepted her offer to start her MBA and has born a baby in Macau. They are now going back to China and maybe she’ll finish her MBA in a later date.

Another realized that an MBA in Hong Kong wasn’t worth it, went back to the US and had continued his law practice.

Another left after finishing the first half of Spring because of family business issues. So sad, we even went to Vietnam together.

I think the way I see it is: “It’s been fun, and I’ve made friends. Oooh, can’t wait for the next chapter in my life.”

If I could’ve done it over, I wonder, would I have still chosen HKUST?

Again, the answer stays the same: for doing an MBA in Asia, I think HKUST is one of the, or even the best choice around. The other better choice is INSEAD which is internationally recognized and ranked, but it’s just not my cup of tea unfortunately.

Their 1-year program may be attractive for some but not for me. I don’t think you really maximize your MBA experience that way. 10 months is really too short and you would forget everything afterwards. As for networking, we did a networking session with them before and we were all amazed when INSEAD students didn’t even know each other! They were reintroducing them to each other — wow.

That wouldn’t happen in HKUST. We all knew each other all too well given our small size. Hahaha, sometimes, this is even too much information as gossips do abound in the SKCC walls.

However, I wonder if an MBA in the US would’ve been a better fit.

Brand does matter and unfortunately, the HKUST brand is still not as universally recognized even though it is one of the best programs in Asia (or the world if you believe the Financial Times #6 rankings in 2010). It does put a hinder when it comes to transferring geographies and job roles.

You just don’t easily get interviews from the likes of Deutsche Banks who only hire from the Ivy Leagues, and a few other investment banks whom I will not name. It just doesn’t have that brand equity of an MBA in Harvard, Wharton, Stanford and the likes.

My heart sometimes wonder, whether I should’ve at least given the US a go… seriously, if you’re going to quit your plush job, do your MBA in the best school possible. It’s all about perception, and yes, the education should be about the same, but you kinda know it’s still different.

I don’t like to be defensive but I think my personality is a tad more aggressive than in a more local Asian school which emphasizes collaboration and a reversion to the mean. Here, people help each other and a lot are slackers who are here just to have drinks in LKF and do minimum work. They’re here to get in Asia, not for a decent MBA education and their work does show this is the case.

Maybe in the US shcool, this wouldn’t happen?

Anyway, we all know the reason why I stuck with Asia.

Trader, Trader, Trader… aiya… 🙁

He wanted me to stay closer to him in Singapore and at that time when I was applying for my MBA, we have just begun our relationship. Oh how far we’ve come since then when I first started applying.

Aiya, why do women always have to sacrifice so much eh?

Oh well, no use regretting. Moving on and moving forward…

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