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For This MBA, Hong Kong Is The Gateway To A Strategy Consulting Career In China

Ben Lin undertook an MBA to help facilitate a career switch. For Ben, Hong Kong’s HKUST Business School serves as a gateway to careers in China

Ben Lin was working as a corporate lawyer when a secondment opportunity in investment banking made him realize he wanted a career switch. Born in Taiwan, but having grown up in Australia, he had an affinity for Hong Kong—a Western influenced city and a gateway to China.

Ben joined HKUST Business School’s full-time MBA—ranked one of the best in Asia by the Financial Times. He knew he’d be able to build a strong network at the school.

Now approaching the end of his degree, his experiences have seen him win the Integrated Leadership Case Competition hosted by Yale School of Management, help reduce plastic waste working for a startup in Hong Kong.

With HKUST, he’s developed a firmer idea of the type of career he wants after graduating.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at HKUST?

During my secondment, I became much closer to the business side of things during this and decided that I wanted to switch to a career that would enable me to be closer to the business decision making process. I felt that pursuing an MBA would help facilitate the transition.

I saw Hong Kong as the gateway to China and uniquely placed to take full advantage of the region's dramatic economic growth. I decided that my future was in this region and the decision became a no-brainer. The fact that at HKUST, with a class size of 120, you could build amazing camaraderie and rapport with your classmates and faculty and staff members was also a huge plus.

What have been the highlights of your MBA experience so far?

Winning the Integrated Leadership Case Competition hosted by Yale School of Management against a strong field of top business schools around the world was a massive highlight.

It was hugely satisfying to see the potential impact of our ideas. In fact, the growth strategies we recommended are either already being implemented or seriously considered by the client, a NY-listed financial services corporation.

I also volunteered for a startup seeking to reduce Hong Kong's reliance on single use plastic water bottles through its next-generation water dispensers. At a HKUST MBA sporting event we saved almost 300 plastic water bottles over just two days. Shout-out to the Urban Spring team!

How have your MBA experiences helped shape your career aspirations?

During my summer internship at a private equity fund in Hong Kong, I was able to combine my legal experience with technical knowledge and skills I'd learnt during the MBA to help the team analyze investment opportunities. That was really interesting.

Also, through my various involvement in extracurricular activities during the HKUST MBA, I realized the power of action-oriented problem solving and data-driven decision-making, and have found strategy consulting to be hugely aspirational and intellectually stimulating.

What advice do you have for anyone considering an MBA?

An MBA is what you make of it. You are in control of shaping your own experience. To maximize the impact of your MBA, you need to have a profound understanding of where you have been, where you are now, and some idea of where you want to go. A business school will serenade you with a wide range of possibilities and exposures, so you can be more open minded when considering where you want to go.

I’d suggest you think about your future in terms of geography, industry and job function. This should be combined with meticulous research into business schools. There are many things to consider in addition to brand name such as location, alumni services, and strength in your desired field of study.

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