In the last week of January, 20 students from CUHK’s prestigious MBA program travelled to Singapore — one of the world’s leading business hubs — to immerse themselves in the local culture, connect with employers, and extend their business networks.
Over the course of three days, they visited a variety of top-tier corporations, including Google, Apple, KPMG, Infosys Consulting, and US tech communications giant Verizon.
“Apple was the company we all enjoyed the most,” says current MBA student Gerardo Salandra. “They did not have a presentation prepared,” he continues. “Instead, they brought nine of their employees for an informal networking session.”
“They were extremely open, which made conversation pass the superficial,” he says.
For fellow student Florian Gamper, the Verizon visit stood out, as students were given an inside view into how a multinational corporation of 160,000 employees keeps pace with technological change.
“The speaker explained in a simple way how the company is currently shifting its business model from classic telecom to cloud web services,” he says.
CUHK’s MBA program is the oldest in Asia, and to celebrate its 50th anniversary, students attended a roundtable conference at Singapore’s iconic Four Seasons Hotel. They were given the opportunity to network with 40 senior human resources executives from some of the world’s leading firms — Facebook, IBM, Siemens and marketing research giant Nielsen.
Over a lavish four-course meal, the MBAs engaged in fast-paced discussions with industry experts on how to develop the Asian region’s next generation of business leaders.
“The conversation gave me important insights about the efforts taken by senior HR managers in retaining [employees],” Florian says.
For Gerardo, the conference was the trip’s crowning moment: “[The HR executives] were very interested in our program and in staying in touch with us,” he says.
Alongside the roundtable discussions, students enjoyed speeches from CUHK’s MBA director Michael Ferguson and Karen Carris, co-founder of PageUp, an online tool for managing HR within companies.
“I found her story inspiring,” says Gerardo, who aspires to be an entrepreneur and has already landed a job, leading a marketing technology start-up in Hong Kong.
Overall, the trip to Hong Kong’s fellow “Asian Tiger” was a roaring success and CUHK’s students jumped at the chance to go out and explore the thriving city-state.
“We had drinks with local MBA students, meals with alumni, and went partying in the tallest bar in city!” says Gerardo.
“The city was phenomenal,” he says, “with clean, open spaces and parks every few blocks. When the time is right, I hope to come back to this city to capture some of the value that is yet to come.”