Malvern Wong (Canada) – HKUST Business School

When his “once-in-a-lifetime experience” was interrupted by a global pandemic, Malvern Wong chose to look for the positives – and ended up learning skills that proved invaluable in his current role. With MBAGRADSCHOOLS, he recounts his time studying for an MBA at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

What brought you to Hong Kong?

I wanted to get the best global experience that I could from my business education, but at the same time open up the gateway to Asia. The reason I wanted to go to business school was to make that regional transition, but also to make a career transition from more of a marketing function to a business function.

Why HKUST Business School?

What stood out to me the most with HKUST is the care that they put into the classes. As you’ll notice with the HKUST MBA, the class sizes are typically a little bit smaller than other MBA programs. You don’t really feel the benefits of that until you actually get to immerse yourself in the experience, because right off the bat you’ll notice that you’ll be able to connect with your classmates at a much deeper level versus if you’re one of 200-300 people.

What’s your advice to students considering Asia for their MBA?

Be open and be excited. The great thing about Hong Kong is that it’s very dynamic but it’s also very international. So you’ll have a lot of exposure to different cultures and you’ll be able to see a lot of different things as well. But you’ll never feel alone or isolated here.

Did HKUST help you land a job in Hong Kong?

To provide a little bit of context, whilst I was doing my MBA I had the opportunity to do a marketing internship at Schneider Electric. That only came about because of the connection the school had with the company, so they were able to reach out to me directly. With the resources that I was given by the CPD (the Career Personal Development team at HKUST), they were able to prepare me for my interview but also create that connection and in the end land me that internship.

Thankfully, in June I was subsequently converted into a full-time employee. So now I’m going to be staying in Hong Kong for the foreseeable future!

What was the real value of the MBA?

With an MBA you have the education side, but it also teaches you a lot of intangible skills. One of the most important things I learned was that during that time you had a lot of priorities and a lot of tasks to manage. Not just from the education; you also need to balance the networking and job search side of things. So the MBA teaches you how to manage all of these priorities and figure out when is the right time to say, “This is the thing I need to focus on right now.”

Looking back, it’s actually changed me a lot. It taught me how to persevere. When they talk about one-of-a-kind experiences, this is one of them. How you get through those experiences is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life. I definitely wouldn’t change anything in my MBA experience.