Ariel Lai (Hong Kong)  – HKU MBA


Some of the biggest companies in the world today – think Airbnb, Groupon and WhatsApp – were founded during the last global recession in 2008, and there’s every chance that the next generation of cutting-edge companies are being founded during the current COVID-19 recession. For Ariel Lai, these unprecedented times have represented an opportunity.

Ariel recently completed her MBA at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), a program which she buckled down to complete in 12 months rather than the suggested 24 months. Ariel used the enforced lockdown period to trial her education-based startup on her young children, who haven’t been able to attend school since the start of 2020. With the skills she has gained from her time completing the HKU MBA, we certainly wouldn’t bet against this startup being a corona-inspired success.

Her latest business venture has certainly been a long time in the works. Ariel comes from a banking background, but decided to study the HKU MBA in order to learn the business fundamentals necessary to founding a successful startup. Having this very clear aim in mind before starting the program proved beneficial. She was able to choose the entrepreneurship electives that interested her and could absorb business advice, knowledge and networking chats every single day of the program.

“Any startups get a lot of help from HKU alumni”

Having founded the startup during the MBA, Ariel went on to secure funding for it through HKU’s business incubator. Yet perhaps the most valuable part of her MBA journey was the opportunity to talk with HKU’s global network of alumni, who were ready to offer help every step of the way. So grateful is Ariel for the help she received, she’s now desperate to give back by offering advice to any current or prospective HKU students. You can get in touch with her via the link below!