By Harshit Arora
“If only I knew what to do next to become a corporate leader” is something many students have in mind through their MBA journey. We thought why not ask someone who faced the same challenge and came out of it successfully!
The General Management Club, recently, hosted an Alumni Panel Discussion with two of the HKUST MBA’s alumni, Derek Lowe (Director of Product Lead, Lalamove) & JP Stevenson (Senior Manager in Competitive Intelligence, Li & Fung). The event was organized to understand the MBA experience of the alumni, the challenges they faced & how they came out of it to become successful managers.
Through a series of questions put forward to the alumni, we understood the following from an insightful conversation:
· A good speaker goes a long way
One of the key strengths of a manager is to communicate his/her thoughts effectively in meetings in front of senior management. The MBA program provides numerous opportunities to present in public and one should take every possible chance to speak up & hone this skill.
· UST courses help in future
JP & Derek, both emphasised on how the skills they gained during their MBA course helpthem frequently in their jobs. For example, the course on ‘Venture Capital & Private Equity’ by Prof. Larry Franklin greatly helped Derek in expanding his firm from few 20s to 300+ in just a few years.
Also, the frameworks taught by Prof. Chris Doran courses on structured problem solving still contribute to JP’s toolkit of analysing Li & Fung’s competition.
· Be flexible in job search
As focussed as we are on the type of job we want, we should not be very rigid to ignore any opportunity outside the target area. Derek’s example of looking for a finance-focussed role and eventually moving into product management in a start-up, motivates us to try different things and be flexible in finding the right job.
· Triple switch is difficult but not impossible
Many of us, after our MBA, aspire to make the triple switch – a switch in location, industry & function. As difficult as it sounds to make it work, we can eventually reach there withthe right approach and mindset. Through the discussion, we understood how a UST alumnus with finance background, wanting to work in Gaming industry, started off in a tech firm and eventually moulded his profile to land a job in Gaming.
· Network Network Network
In Hong Kong, corporates are willing to meet you and share their knowledge on the company, their role & job application tips. It is thus essential to leverage this opportunity in learning different profiles and making connections that can help you get the desired job.
We hope that the discussion provided the participants with new insights that may help them make the most of their MBA!
Here is a glimpse of the memorable event