Green economy power: Studying sustainability unlocks new career opportunities

With the first MBA program to combine general management with technology and sustainability in Asia, HKUST offers a valuable (and relevant) sustainable business MBA. For HKUST MBA student Harrison Yim, the program’s sustainability courses opened his eyes to new career opportunities in one of the world’s most dynamic regions.

In short

Introducing HKUST’s courses on sustainability

The MBA program at HKUST Business School is consistently ranked one of the best in Asia. It is also the first Tech/Green MBA in Asia. Facing increasing digitization and environmental challenges, both fields are extremely relevant in today’s world.

The Sustainable Leadership component of the HKUST MBA teaches students the skills and knowledge they need to make a positive impact in business and beyond. Courses in sustainable leadership include:

  • Sustainability Applications in the Corporate World
  • Sustainability as a Competitive Advantage
  • Responsible Leadership and Ethics
  • ESG Investing and Green Finance Strategy for Portfolio Management

Harrison tells us, “The [ESG Investing] course covers pretty much everything related to ESG investing, such as ESG standards, disclosure, integration, green bonds, carbon pricing.” (02:40)

“[The course] really opened my eyes because when you invest in companies, you usually just look at their stock prices, their fundamentals, who their CEO is. You only look at their annual report,” he adds. “So, it’s really interesting reading ESG reports and find out what these companies are doing to meet ESG standards.” (03:06)

The power of the green economy: Career opportunities in sustainability

“I wasn’t very interested in ESG and sustainability prior to the MBA program,” Harrison reveals. “After learning more about it in the ESG Investing class, it definitely made me consider a career in it because I believe sustainability is a trend and more and more business decisions will be made in the future with sustainability in mind.” (03:51)

Harrison is certainly onto something. Sustainability has been proven to be good for business and the global economy. Consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. Younger generations today are also looking to work in companies with strong corporate social responsibility values. According to the International Labour Organization, the so-called “global green economy” could create 24 million jobs worldwide.

Sustainability is also garnering more attention in Asia. Harrison says, “Asia is a bit behind in terms of ESG and sustainability compared to Europe and the US, so I think this is a great time to get ahead and learn more about sustainability. The topic itself is very versatile in the sense that it’s applicable to various industries and different roles.” (04:13)

Clearly, a sustainable business MBA offers a multitude of career possibilities in an exciting field.

Develop a career in Hong Kong at one of the best business schools in Asia

After working in auditing at PwC, Harrison realized he wasn’t interested in advancing his career in accounting. Therefore, he decided to pursue an MBA in order to network, meet new people, and switch to a new job.

Determined to continue his career in Asia, Harrison quickly settled on the HKUST MBA.

“One of the criteria in choosing where you want to take your MBA is where you want to work after you graduate,” he explains. “I knew that I wanted to continue to work in Asia, mainly Hong Kong. So, with that in mind, I limited my search to Asian business schools and specifically Hong Kong. Obviously, HKUST was at the top of the list as it has a very good reputation in Hong Kong and as one of the top business schools in Asia.” (01:26)

On its Asian focus, Harrison explains, “The curriculum and classes in the HKUST MBA program are set up with a more local and Asian focus. A lot of the speakers invited to class are from Hong Kong and the business cases used are usually based on Asia or Hong Kong companies. The network you build and the internship experience that you gain will also be in Hong Kong, so I think the MBA program can really benefit locals who want to advance their career or switch to a career in Hong Kong.” (01:58)

In conclusion, the HKUST MBA is a great option if you’re not only looking for a top-ranked MBA program, but also one that focuses on sustainable business and leadership. As Harrison mentioned, it’s also a valuable program whether you’re already based in Asia or if you’re thinking about building a career in the fast-growing region.

Learning to focus on your strengths

Having so many possibilities out there can make it more difficult to choose the one that’s right for you. Stanislav admits that during the initial stages of his program, he struggled to pursue one single career path. It left him unfocused and unsure of his next steps.

“What I didn’t realize is that when you’re getting exposure to different industries – consulting, finance, tech – then there is a lot of attraction. I see a lot of MBAs who are joining the program, including myself, and we’re getting so excited at all these interesting opportunities. There are so many interesting jobs on the market that you might lose focus,” he explains. (16:20)

In the end, though, Stanislav realized that it was more important to focus on his own strengths and align them with his career ambitions. This meant he was able to get a job in renewable energy by leveraging the opportunities presented to him in his MBA.

“For the first six to eight months of my program, I was really exploring everything,” he tells us. “Maybe I was a little lost to some extent because I was thinking maybe I need to change industries. Fortunately, after the first two semesters, I realized that I need to stick to my strengths and stick to what I know.” (17:01)

Whether you’re hoping to get a job in renewable energy or try out another industry, it’s worth remembering Stanislav’s last words: Stick to your strengths. Regardless of where you came from or where you’re going, you’re likely to have certain skills that will be valuable across various sectors. By combining them with what you’ll get out of an MBA, you’ll be equipped to thrive – in whichever industry you choose.

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