Ron Kwok started the 14-month full-time MBA at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in July 2015. Only four months in, he landed a job at Microsoft in Hong Kong.
On the HKU MBA’s London track, Ron spent a month in Beijing, nine months in Hong Kong, and four months in London, before taking the MBA triple jump – changing role, industry and location – and kick-starting a new career in Asia.
Prior to his MBA, Ron worked in engineering sales in Canada. He trialed a tech startup developing mobile apps for the retail industry alongside his full-time job. Determined to pursue a career in technology in Asia, he joined the HKU MBA, ranked number one in Asia by the Economist for seven consecutive years.
And for good reason. From the 2014 and 2015 HKU MBA class combined, 85% of students were hired within three months of graduation. 84% secured jobs in Asia.
Now, Ron works for Microsoft Azure, helping Microsoft’s partners develop scalable services and solutions on its cutting-edge cloud computing platform. He was recruited on campus at HKU to the Microsoft Academy of College Hires (MACH) program.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at HKU?
I wanted to move out of North America and explore a career in Asia. Hong Kong is a very fast-moving environment. The people here are very accepting towards new concepts and quick to develop new solutions to suit local needs. So Hong Kong always attracts new technologies, services and solutions. That’s a big advantage over other locations.
An MBA made sense to build my network in the region and learn more about a different way of doing business. And with the HKU MBA, I wasn’t going to be based only in Hong Kong, but also in Beijing and New York, London, or Shanghai. Being able to explore Asia and Europe in an accelerated program made HKU stand out. Plus, the class size is relatively small which makes for a very tight-knit group.
How did the job at Microsoft come about?
The HKU Career Development Office organized an event where a Microsoft representative came in to speak about the MACH program. I wanted a career change and I decided to apply. I started the MBA in July 2015, and I was confirmed for the job in November.
What does Microsoft look for in its MBA job applicants?
Microsoft looks for innovative individuals that are aware of what’s going on in the world and in the marketplace. They didn’t ask a lot of technical questions in the interview. It was more about my views on cloud technology and how it can improve business cycles. You have to be open-minded about how businesses are changing with globalization.
Can you tell me something about working at Microsoft that most people wouldn’t know?
Microsoft opens up a lot of doors for its partners. There are lot of success cases backed by Microsoft - from consumer apps to TV channels - that people aren’t even aware of.
What I’ve learnt since joining is that the organization is much more flexible and accommodating than I expected. You can pitch a project and, if you prove it can be valuable, it can be launched very quickly. For a company this size to be so fast-moving and flexible is pretty impressive.
What should applicants think about when looking to do an MBA?
Think about what you want to achieve at the end of the MBA. Have a general idea of where you want to go in your career and personal life. The rankings are definitely important but for me it was more about the school’s strengths. I was shooting for a career in technology and I picked my school accordingly.
Would you be where you are now without the HKU MBA?
Definitely not! Microsoft’s MACH program is catered towards MBA graduates. And HKU’s Career Services supported me from writing my resume all the way to the interview.
They held a series of workshops on resumes and cover letters, and they organized mock interviews with real HR professionals. They told us what to say, what to ask, and gave us industry insight on how to succeed.
I wanted to relocate to Asia and explore a different career path. HKU helped me achieve those goals.