Studying at HKUST and Yale: The value of the GNAM network

Daniel Chen is a Chinese student at HKUST Business School in Hong Kong. He is also completing a Master of Advanced Management (MAM) at the Yale School of Management (SOM). Daniel spoke to MBAGRADSCHOOLS about his journey to the HKUST MBA, his experience studying concurrently at HKUST and Yale, and the most important lessons he has learned from his studies.

In short

Back to school: Daniel’s journey to an MBA

Originally from mainland China, Daniel decided to obtain his bachelor’s and master’s in the US to experience a different culture. He has both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Accounting from Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University. He then worked at the Beijing office of PwC for three years, before making a career switch to consulting.

In 2020, Daniel joined the MBA program at HKUST Business School. He will then complete a Master of Advanced Management (MAM) at the Yale School of Management (SOM).

Daniel chose to go “back to school” and pursue an MBA to broaden his horizons and expand his skills, capabilities, and knowledge. “An MBA is an essential stage in my career development plan,” he tells us. “I have always [had] that in my mind.” (02:20)

He’s also excited to explore different extracurricular activities. With a range of student clubs, workshops, and networking activities, HKUST has plenty to offer.

How studying at HKUST in Hong Kong gives you an edge

Daniel chose to study in Hong Kong because he wants to pursue a career in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

“I preferred Hong Kong because I like the city and Hong Kong is a very dynamic city with tremendous location advantages,” Daniel explains. “[It’s] very close to China, which can give me firsthand information about the Asian markets. Hong Kong is the financial center in Asia, so studying in Hong Kong can help me pursue various career opportunities in the future.” (03:59)

As a school of science and technology, Daniel was attracted to an MBA at HKUST because it “has a very good reputation in fintech and other knowledge-related fields,” he says. “[There is] cutting-edge technology in HKUST. It has a huge advantage in this field compared to other universities in Hong Kong.” (08:03)

Furthermore, Daniel is joined by classmates from all around the world, opening his eyes to a whole new world of perspectives and experiences. “My classmates are very diverse,” he tells us. “A lot of my classmates are from HEC Paris. They’re from the US, the National University of Singapore, and also some classmates from the University of Ghana in Africa.” (07:30)

HKUST x Yale: The value of the GNAM network

HKUST is a GNAM school, which stands for the Global Network of Advanced Management. In total, 32 business schools across 30 countries are a part of the network – including the Yale School of Management.

“After one year of studying at HKUST, I decided to come to Yale to get another degree because I want to further strengthen my multicultural experience,” Daniel says. (05:19) In the MAM program at Yale, Daniel will build upon the fundamental business skills he gained in his MBA and focus on strengthening his leadership skills, with courses like “Mastering Influence and Persuasion” and “Interpersonal Dynamics.”

Daniel feels strongly about the similarities between HKUST and Yale. “They’re very focused on students’ academic performance,” he states. “They have a very high standard for their students.” (08:46)

The main difference between the two schools is mainly the class size. “HKUST is more like a small family, and Yale University is like a bigger family,” as Daniel puts it. The HKUST Full-Time MBA usually has around 70-80 people in each cohort, while Yale has 400-500 MBA students per cohort.

All in all, Daniel is accumulating a ton of knowledge during his studies, which will come to two years in total (one year in the HKUST MBA, one year in the Yale MAM).

Important MBA lessons: Mastering agility

“The most important lesson I learned through my MBA studies is always to be agile and [adjust] to rapidly changing environments,” Daniel says. (12:08)

As the first MBA cohort to experience the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Daniel is part of the “COVID generation.”

However, Daniel gives a glowing review of HKUST’s handling of the whole situation. “Even under such a challenging environment, I strongly feel that people here at HKUST are so agile and they always [make an] effort to move everything forward,” he says. “That’s the most important lesson I learned from the HKUST MBA. No matter how challenging the environment is [and] how much uncertainty there is, be agile and move forward.” (12:52)

When he decided to do an MBA at HKUST, Daniel surely did not see a global pandemic on the horizon. However, he has still made the most of his experience, gathering as much knowledge and skills as he can. Together with his Master in Advanced Management Degree from Yale, Daniel will undoubtedly complete his studies a stronger leader and learner.

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