Chang (Rachel) Yi had a comfortable job in commercial banking in China, but this didn’t match her career ambitions.
So, she undertook a full-time MBA at Hong Kong’s CUHK Business School – with a dual concentration in finance and entrepreneurship – to take her career to the international stage.
At CUHK, she took part in the Business Practicum course – where students work with real businesses to solve real-world problems – working as an external consultant for Citibank. After graduation, she secured a corporate banking role at HSBC in Hong Kong.
BusinessBecause caught up with Rachel to find out how the CUHK MBA has helped her take her career to a new level.
Why did you choose to pursue an MBA?
Prior to my MBA I worked at a small-sized local commercial bank in China. I lived a pretty cozy life, but I always wanted to step out of my comfort zone and engage in more challenges and take more risks.
I believed the MBA could not only enhance my professional knowledge, but also broaden my cultural and intellectual horizon by giving me the opportunity to meet outstanding and skillful professionals and alumni from all over the world.
What stood out about CUHK?
When I researched MBAs in Asia, CUHK stood out as it’s the longest-established program with superior alumni resources and experience. Being in Hong Kong, it’s also in the financial and business center of Asia, which provides international exposure and an environment where I could utilize my understanding of Chinese business and culture.
The most attractive part of CUHK MBA program were the entrepreneurship courses. Although I didn’t start up my own business after graduation, the entrepreneurial spirit that the program generated will stay with me for the duration of my career.
Tell us about your experience on the Business Practicum.
I selected the program of Market Potential for Asia Securities Lending for Citi Group, which was a perfect combination of consulting and finance.
By analyzing several hundred companies’ public statements, my team estimated the size of the Asian securities lending market, surveyed Citi’s custodian bank competitors, and recommended promising asset managers for Citi’s marketing efforts.
Though it was a painful and torturous process as nobody had a clue what to do in the beginning, it was doubled enjoyment and a real sense of accomplishment when we finally completed our ‘mission impossible!’
How has the CUHK MBA helped you in your career?
CUHK’s outstanding faculty helped me develop my business understanding of the finance industry. It was this knowledge, and what I learned on my MBA, which enabled me to land my job at HSBC. Moreover, the MBA was a substantial undertaking that required a huge level of discipline, making me more determined, dedicated, and more conscious about my ambitious.
The Business Practicum was one of the most important parts of my MBA, giving me first-hand experience of real-world business problems with Citi Bank. Through this course I learned how to start from scratch in an unfamiliar industry, how to integrate abundant raw data and information, how to time manage and meet tough targets, and how to work well with teammates from different industries and backgrounds.
What advice do you have for prospective MBA students?
Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire! Some prospective MBAs may hesitate, especially because an MBA requires considerable investment of time and money, but if you know what your goals are and are ready to fight for them, then an MBA is a good approach. I’d recommend grabbing the chance to work with people from different backgrounds and learn fresh ideas that motivate you to think outside of the box.