MBA experience: extra spicy please

People tend to say the MBA is an unforgettable experience. However, what exactly is so memorable? Is it the time spent in class learning (or in some case, relearning) business subjects? Is it the all-nighters used for last-minute exam studying? Or the countless networking sessions one has attended?

2 months into the program, I could already see the one noteworthy thing I'm not going to forget anytime soon: the friendships I've built with my classmates.

Organizations know how the bonds between people and the informal networks that get created can be powerful. That's why there are so many team-building activities out there. Fortunately, you don't always need something fancy (and pricey) to create lasting relationships. There's only one secret ingredient to it: go through an intense/adventurous moment together.

On September 14, that's exactly what we did by adding some extra spice into our MBA experience: 5 braves souls (including myself) partook to nothing less than the HKUST MBA Doubly Spicy Ramen Challenge! The concept was easy: finish a pack of ramen as fast as possible, and you can't drink or eat anything for the next 2 minutes (we also live-broadcasted for our mates who had to be in class). Eating the ramen was a piece of cake (at least in my case it was), but I can't describe enough how hellish the waiting time for water afterwards was.

We don't recommend trying this at home. But then again, if you were to do it, maybe you'll also build yourself a memory to reckon with. Just make sure you do it with your MBA buddies.

Learning to build social bridges is important, because at the end of the day, business is about human relationships!



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 5 BRAVES SOULS

5 BRAVES SOULS

BY LAURENT YE, PRESIDENT OF HKUST MBAA 2018-2019

Where Leaders are Made

The HKUST MBA Alumni Toastmasters Club had a Demo Meeting for people who wanted to try their hand at public speaking. Toastmasters provides an education platform for developing communication and leadership skills in a supportive peer environment. Members can take part in delivering prepared or impromptu speeches, while also working behind the scenes in planning, organization, team building, and time management. 

The meeting started with an introduction of Toastmasters to the visitors. Members would be able to select a Pathway, which provided a series of projects and activities catered towards a specific goal. Goals to select from include Leadership Development, Persuasive Influence, Strategic Relationships, and Visionary Communication. A member of the HKUST MBA Alumni Toastmasters Club, Sim, gave a prepared speech on the use of body language as part of her Pathway on Dynamic Leadership. She even whipped out a giant pair of purple glasses as a prop to keep the audience engaged!

Table Topics, or impromptu speeches, were a way to talk “off the cuff” about a random topic with no time for preparation. Students from both the MBA Full-Time and MBA for Professionals joined to try their hand at this, with Alex, Amit, and Janson taking part. Our very own Alex took home the Best Table Topics Speaker Award, as voted for by the audience. It turns out that even impromptu speaking can be improved with practice! 

Feedback was provided to all the speakers by evaluators, highlighting strengths that made the speeches memorable as well as providing suggestions for making the speeches even better. The Time Keeper, Grammarian, and Ah Counter provided reports recognizing speakers who made good use of time, used creative language, and minimized making unnecessary sounds. It was a great learning experience for all, providing an excellent platform and learning opportunity for people to practice speaking in public.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/hkustmbaalumnitm/

https://hkustmbaalumni.toastmastersclubs.org/

 Group photo with all the participants, members, and guests.

Group photo with all the participants, members, and guests.

 The President of the HKUST MBA Alumni Toastmasters Club, Mercy Liu, opening the event with an introduction of the club

The President of the HKUST MBA Alumni Toastmasters Club, Mercy Liu, opening the event with an introduction of the club

 An introduction for the club

An introduction for the club

 The agenda for the evening’s meeting

The agenda for the evening’s meeting

 Club member Sim giving an impassioned talk on body language as part of the speech. Love those glasses!

Club member Sim giving an impassioned talk on body language as part of the speech. Love those glasses!

 Club member Michael starts off Table Topics with a randomly drawn topic

Club member Michael starts off Table Topics with a randomly drawn topic

 Janson from MBA for Professionals presenting his Table Topic

Janson from MBA for Professionals presenting his Table Topic

 Alex from MBA Full-Time presented with the Best Table Topics Speaker award and prize

Alex from MBA Full-Time presented with the Best Table Topics Speaker award and prize

 Club information for anyone who wishes to join next time

Club information for anyone who wishes to join next time

by Alexander Ip, VP Alumni Relations of HKUST MBAA 2018-2019

MBA Life after 1 Year - Tim's Student Sharing

 

One year ago, I left behind a cozy corporate job, a fully furnished modern apartment in the vicinity of Zurich, two cars and all sorts of perks that a life in Switzerland brings, and came to seek the challenge in one of the world’s most competitive places: Hong Kong. A lot of people asked me why I would even consider an MBA in the first place and why I wanted to move to Asia. After all, I already had a master’s degree, a well-paying job at a big corporate and lived in Switzerland, which is among the most beautiful and developed countries in the world. In addition, an MBA would come with a big financial burden and would mean a step back to student status. Most people didn’t understand my internal struggle and unhappiness, which became increasingly stronger over the course of 2016. I felt like I was not living life to my full potential, and on top of that, I was losing my competitive edge; that drive and ambition that keeps you going even when you feel tired, and that passion that makes you wake up earlier than you’re supposed to and put your heart and soul in whatever you’re doing. I’m talking about that relentless perseverance to push for your goals and that unyielding desire to live a phenomenal life. When looking into the future, I knew that my current path would not make me happy in the long-run. I was way too ambitious to live a mediocre life. So, I listened to my gut feeling and embarked on a journey, which would bring me closer to my true self.

Fast-forward one year, I look back at a life-changing journey: I got one of the best business educations in the world, taught by some of the most excellent professors. I met some of the brightest minds, people who inspired me, friends who became family, and found the sweetest and most supportive girlfriend in the world. I gained insights into technologies, industries and topics that were unknown to me. I travelled to foreign places, immersed in different cultures, ate delicious foods and experienced local traditions. But at the same time, I was also exposed to an environment, which will eat you alive and spit you out, if you can’t handle the pressure and competition. I faced fears, anxieties and uncertainties, when I didn’t know where I would live after my lease expires and how I would pay for my expenses. But I didn’t give in. I kept fighting. And after several sleepless nights, I finished all my courses and looked back at a rewarding academic year. Not only did I finish my studies, but certain unexpected events also led to job opportunities, which had seemed so out of reach when living my old life. By leveraging my experience from the sales club and what I had learned from my peers and professors, I was able to leave strong impressions in different interviews and to secure an internship in a promising and fast-growing company in an industry which I am truly passionate about. At the same time, my focus on entrepreneurship sharpened my business acumen to such an extent that I will also pursue my own venture in the near-future.

When I look at my life today and compare it to the one from one year ago, I now understand what the word transformation means. I took life-changing decisions and grew both from a personal and professional perspective. And I am sure that my story resonates with my classmates and friends. Today is the day when we say goodbye to each other, as most of us go to different places to pursue an internship and an exchange. Farewells are never easy, but we know that we’ll stay connected in the future and see each other for the graduation ceremony in spring next year. So, in retrospect, do I regret any of my decisions? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I feel blessed beyond imagination for all the things that have happened to me over the course of this year. Would I leave Switzerland again to pursue an MBA in one of the most vibrant cities in the world? Immediately!

Thank you, my beloved friends, MBA family, and all the people I’ve met along the way. And thank you Hong Kong. It’s been a great year, and may we continue to shine for future generations to build upon our legacy. #mUSThaveMBA

For questions, comments or feedback, feel free to reach out to me: tcencik[at]connect.ust.hk

Sports Day 2018

Hosted at HKUST’s scenic seafront sports ground in Clear Water Bay, this family-friendly, day-long event will celebrate the diversity and inclusiveness of the HKUST MBA programme by inviting both current HKUST MBA students and alumni, as well as other MBA programs, to participate in a variety of sporting activities.