Why there may never be a perfect time to study an MBA

Shin Do is a Japanese student currently studying at HKUST Business School in Hong Kong. She told MBAGRADSCHOOLS about her reasons for pursuing an MBA, choosing Hong Kong, and why there may never be a perfect time for an MBA.

In short

How COVID-19 convinced this student to do an MBA

COVID-19 has affected the world of business in a number of ways. It has accelerated a shift to remote working, popularized virtual communication and made digitalization a priority for businesses. Aware that we could face more situations like this in the future, Japanese student Shin Do wanted to be prepared.

“I wanted to train my business sense,” she tells MBAGRADSCHOOLS. “The world is changing rapidly, and we may have to handle more and more situations we have never faced [before] – like now (the COVID-19 pandemic). The skill to make quicker and more informed decisions based on limited information, and in limited time, will become more and more important.” (00:40)

The companies that have prospered in the pandemic are the ones who were able to quickly adapt to their new reality. An MBA can give you the skills necessary to handle change, predict business trends and drive business transformation.

Using an MBA as a chance to try new things

One concept associated with an MBA is something called a “triple jump.” A triple jump is when a student changes industry, function, and location after their MBA. Shin Do may not have gone for all three changes, but her MBA did give her the opportunity to change function and try out things she had never done before.

She says, “Before I came here I worked as a salesperson, so I’ve never done [anything in] strategy, but during the MBA I learned a lot about strategizing and how to make decisions. So now I support a local startup with that side.” (00:46)

During her MBA, Shin Do has been able to learn new concepts and apply them in a professional environment. It has given her the skills and confidence that she can now take back to her previous employer.

“Because I’m company-sponsored, after graduation I have to go back to my company. So I wanted to use this opportunity to do a totally new job,” she explains. (01:22)

Choosing the right time to do an MBA

There are various factors that typically prevent people from doing an MBA – cost, motivation, and timing among them. But one danger of waiting for the perfect moment is that it might never arrive. Although Shin Do used the pandemic as the spur to study an MBA, she also says it’s important to not wait forever.

“I believe there will be a lot of uncertainty to go and study an MBA because of this situation. But the right timing will never come, so if you’re considering an MBA, don’t hesitate to contact me. If you need any help I’m very willing to help you,” she offers. (07:06)

The appeal of Hong Kong

After deciding to do an MBA, the idea of a new challenge in a new location was very appealing to Shin Do. Eager to stay in Asia but also eager to understand business from a global perspective, she eventually decided to study at HKUST Business School in Hong Kong. She was attracted by both the region’s links with international business and its unique mix of Eastern and Western culture.

“I wanted to challenge myself, so I didn’t think about doing an MBA in Japan,” she explains. “Since entering my company I have cooperated with international teams, but have never done business abroad before, so I wanted to see how to do business at the world level. And I believe nothing beats first-hand experience.” (02:39)

“Hong Kong has a very unique culture – like East meets Western culture. So I can feel modern Chinese and Western culture [here]. The diversity of Hong Kong is the main reason I chose it.” (03:38)

By choosing to do an MBA when she did, Shin Do seized the opportunity to upgrade her skill set. Recognizing that she wasn’t prepared for the wholesale changes brought about by COVID, an MBA was her way of equipping herself for similar events in the future. The pandemic may have meant it wasn’t the perfect time to pursue an MBA, but for Shin Do, it was the right time.

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