That was on full display during International Night, which brought together students from 30 different nations and backgrounds to celebrate diversity through food, dancing and entertainment.
We asked two current MBA students what else HKUST does to promote diversity. Here’s what they told us:
How does diversity enhance the MBA learning experience?
Diversity is what makes the MBA experience unique at HKUST. Each one of us brings different and often new perspectives, especially since we led very different lives before we embarked on our MBA program. Learning is further enriched as we challenge each other’s thinking, in addition to sharing our perspectives on a wide range of issues.
Personally, I am humbled by the breadth and depth of my classmates’ experiences; I am constantly learning something new, be it about their unique cultures, personal aspirations or prior work experiences. This is why diversity is one of the core values of The HKUST MBA, and much celebrated by everyone in the HKUST MBA family.
How does HKUST promote the integration of cultures?
HKUST promotes cultural integration in many ways. At the start of the program, the school assigned us into groups with a balanced mix of individuals from different backgrounds. By working on group projects, I have gained a deeper appreciation of my classmates’ diverse cultures.
We are also actively involved in the South-East Asia Club, which organizes cultural nights and events to encourage our classmates to “see” more and learn more about South-East Asia.
During our recent career treks to Dubai and Singapore, our classmates also arranged for us to experience their local cuisines and attractions. In fact, many of us have begun to learn to speak in different languages! It has been a very enriching cultural experience so far.
Could you describe your experience of the International Night?
International Night was so much fun! It is a memorable event where we celebrate our diversity. Many stalls were set up, with different countries showcasing some of their local cuisines. Besides the food stalls, there was an exciting line-up of performances, including a play, stand-up comedy, dancing, singing and live band music!
Not only was there delicious food and great entertainment, but many of us were dressed in our ethnic/national clothing! It is amazing to learn that we have so much talent — cooks, dancers, actors, singers, musicians — among us. We had such a wonderful time during International Night that I consider it the highlight of our MBA program this year!
What do you hope to do with your MBA upon graduation and how does a diverse cohort help with that?
The diploma on its own is meaningless to me, I rather wanted to experience as much of Asia as possible by joining the program. I have goals in a few areas, and one of those is to start a business on the side. The team I’m working with in the program are as diverse as they come. This helps when expanding our plans to new regions, and it also makes our time spent together a very enjoyable, and at times humbling experience.
Was the diversity of HKUST's MBA class a differentiating factor when you applied to business schools?
The diversity of the class was like a minimum requirement when scouting for schools, and HKUST definitely stands out in this regard. Now that I’m here I can see that this played a huge role in their (and our) success over the years. It’s hard to imagine an international applicant who’s interested in attending a mono-cultured program these days.
What did HKUST do to make you feel welcome when you first arrived?
HKUST really made me feel welcome since the interview stage. Also, aside from all the great activities they planned for us once we all arrived, one of my most treasured memories was when the entire class applauded me for being the first Jordanian to attend HKUST. That was a first for me, and it became a conversation starter when people approached me for the first time.