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Hong Kong Media Entrepreneur Says MBA Was A Smart Move

Anne Yeung's design firm already had clients such as Lacoste and the Hong Kong government, but she enrolled on the Chinese University of Hong Kong MBA to advance her business even further

By  Ifeatu Nnaobi

Thu Nov 15 2012

Hong Kong resident Anne Yeung has run Cranes Media since 2008 and considers herself a smart entrepreneur for stepping out of her comfort zone and heading to business school.

Anne, 26, was barely out of college when she co-founded Cranes Media with her partner Crystal Jane Wong. Cranes Media specializes in branding design, advertising communications and online media solutions. The company is based in North Point, Hong Kong and works with companies who want to establish a media presence in China and Hong Kong. The team also have marketing and public relations experts in Beijing, China.

Anne graduated with a Bachelor of Economics from Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China in 2008. She met her partner Crystal through a mutual friend and they both wanted to start their own businesses. Crystal grew up in Canada and where she earned a BCom in Telecom Information Technology from Ryerson University.

When the business kicked off, Anne still had a few months to go at college and didn’t even have a clue about web design. She did however, have a passion for dealing with people and was a quick learner. Crystal had a lot more industry experience and also a good network in the creative world.

Half of Cranes Media come from overseas, about 20 per cent from mainland China and the rest from Hong Kong. Anne told us that Crystal’s experience of living and working in Canada gave Cranes Media a competitive edge: “Many of our clients speak English and they find our website a bit different from the local agencies”.

Anne shared some of the exciting projects that Cranes Media has worked on. In their first year, they were hired by the Asia Director of Lacoste to create a 100-page brochure for them. “It was a big vote of confidence and we quickly had to learn how to work with big corporations”, said Anne.

An entirely different experience was their work with the Hong Kong government. They were hired to design a portal that would be used by about 10,000 civil servants. This project was significant because it was their first time working with a government body. They had never expected it would come to them and it was also a learning curve when it came to dealing with government officials.

Anne said, “After spending eight months working with one of the biggest IT developers in Hong Kong, we were asked to present our work to the department head. Our meeting with him is something I’ll never forget. First, we were asked to arrive more than an hour ahead of the meeting and then we had to wait for another hour and a half because he was busy.

"When we finally saw him, he was straight-to-the-point. He simply said he didn’t like what we had done and without saying hi or bye he left for another meeting. We started all over again.”

Last year, Anne joined Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) as a part-time student on their entrepreneurial MBA. Although she’s had plenty of business exposure through Cranes Media she felt that she was limited because she lacked formal business knowledge.

Her connestions were mainly in the creative world and she wanted to meet more people outside the industry. She feels good about stepping outside her comfort zone and told us, “I am inspired to advance my own business. I’m the youngest in my class... all my colleagues are so experienced, they inspire me to be better”.

She’s also learning more about industries other than her own by attending workshops and seminars organized for CUHK students. “I’ve been to a lot workshops, something I could’t find before coming to CUHK. Some of the speakers have included senior executives from General Electric and the CEO of the biggest real estate developer in China and I’ve had the opportunity to meet these high profile people."

Anne and Crystal’s plans for Cranes Media include working to establish their brand name. They would also like to create a multi-media agency and begin offering online marketing services. She’ll be juggling this with her busy schedule at CUHK. She also has a ton of school projects and exams, and a study trip to Beijing planned for the end of November!

Read more stories about students, programmes and alumni at Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School here