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How The HKU MBA Can Open The Doors To A Consulting Career In China

Japanese grad Narumi Hashimoto wouldn’t be where he is today without an MBA at the University of Hong Kong


Tue Apr 17 2018

“If I hadn’t studied an MBA at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), I wouldn’t have been able to land a consulting position in China,” says Narumi Hashimoto, a Japanese MBA grad now working for IT consulting firm iVision in Shanghai.

iVision is an affiliate of Mitsubishi Corporation—Japan's largest general trading company (Sogo Shosha)—and Nomura Research Institute—Japan’s leading consulting firm—and helps design IT strategy for Chinese and Japanese companies operating in China.

Narumi, a Japanese MBA graduate working in China, is still a rare breed. He was one of four Japanese students in his MBA class of 55-to-60 students. With business between China and Japan booming, more and more Japanese companies are acquiring companies in China, but cultural divides remain.

Narumi, a former associate at PwC in Tokyo, chose the HKU MBA to gain the knowledge to fill that divide. HKU’s unique 14-month MBA program included a month in Beijing, nine months in Hong Kong, and a four-month exchange to Columbia Business School in the US.

For Narumi, the HKU MBA was the gateway to a career in China.

How did your consulting job in China come about?

Originally, I wanted to go back into a consulting company in Tokyo post-MBA. But during my MBA, I got more and more in contact with the overseas desks of Japanese companies in China, including my current company.

The HKU MBA helped me understand what and how Chinese people think. It improved my communication skills and allowed me to pass my interviews. In Tokyo, my clients and senior bosses were typical Japanese; their way of thinking was the same.  But when I started working in Shanghai, I was dealing with Japanese clients with Chinese employees—their working styles are very different.

On the HKU MBA, my classmates all handled projects differently. I experienced a lot of different cultures and I learned to adapt and adjust.

What advice do you have for Japanese MBA students looking to do the same?

With an MBA, you can expand your knowledge and get the opportunity to work in another country. The network I developed during my MBA helps my business in China now—one of my former classmates is now my client’s business partner in China!

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at HKU?

I wanted to learn more about Asian business outside Japan. Before the MBA, I was working in Tokyo and many of my colleagues were expanding businesses into China and Singapore.

The HKU MBA was perfect for me. The class size was relatively small, with students coming from all around the world, including Asia, so I could get Asian business experiences every day. It’s an intense 14-month program and I got to study in Beijing, Hong Kong, and New York. Even in a short program, I could experience a lot of different cultures.

If I graduated from Harvard or MIT, I might have got a job at McKinsey. But to get a job at a Japanese company expanding in Asia, studying an Asian MBA was important.

What were the highlights?

My favorite professor at the University of Hong Kong was Bennett Yim and his Strategic Marketing Management course is one of the best courses at the school. On the course, we worked on a project to improve the current marketing strategies of existing companies. We were able to apply our knowledge in a practical way.

HKU MBA program also offers either the London or New York track. For me, the exchange program at Columbia Business School was very exciting! The professors came from a lot of different industries and gave me a lot of practical knowledge to enhance what I’d learned academically at HKU.

Student Reviews

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) - MBA Programmes HKU Business School




On Campus


Very good academic, caes course amazing, ccs are all amazing, professors are excellent, the architecture and infrastructure is splendid, people here are awesome, made some really nice friends, and teachers support us




On Campus

Diversified culture

I highly recommend The University of Hong Kong to students all around the world because of their diversified culture, teaching standards, and the people which make the learning experience better every day.




A place where you best understand local and international cultures

With plenty of experiences available, HKU provides a plenty of experience for me to explore our own and other countries culture. She has excellent teaching and research staffs in the Department of Ecology and Biodiversity. Time allocate to students are considered sufficient and staffs are ready to reach anytime. Besides academic, she has various subsidised programmes that allow students to explore. This credit should be given to GenEd (general education) Office to provide different interesting programmes. These ranged from guest speaker giving talks on China-Hong Kong relationship; Contemporary art in Asia; or holding mini forum on geopolitics. Most, if not all, of which are free of charge!




Life at HKU

Pursued the SHS degree at HKU, academic and clinical staff members were very devoted and passionate. The academic program is under constant reviews, staff members are open minded and willing to modify the program with regards to students' opinions. Career prospect is good. Uni life is fruitful, many different activities for students to choose. Great facilities supporting learning.




Student Life in HKU

As an Accounting and Finance year3 undergrad student in HKU, the university provides lots of opportunities for me to learn and explore my interests. You could join a wide variety of activities, like being an committee member of societies and joining hall activities. As for me, I chose to join the winter exchange programme, be a committee member, and did volunteering servic and had latrine construction and volunteer teaching in Ghana, Africa. I also organized lots of activities for societies and had lots of meetings with company representatives. As for school work, it is okay normally but definitely u got a lot busier during November and April. You got a lot more free time compared to CUHK and HKUST. And of course, this is considered as the most ‘international’ uni in HK in a way that I could make friends coming from different countries. Just wanna add, HKU has a good location for foodie as its near Central, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui. For those who love night lifes dont miss this. I didnt speak of anything i dislike coz there isnt anything i dislike much, but if I do have to say, it is the hall life of many local students, such as having cheers at night and never sleeps that may disturb others.






I think it’s a great university that gives you a lot of opportunities in terms of academics as well as extracurricular activities. The education system is fairly westernized and the professors are good for the most part.




International, stratified and political

Adequate resources and very convenient campus with sufficient channels to expand your social and professional circle. Also politically active, and perhaps too biasedly so. Its law school is firmly established, with the longest history in Hong Kong. Practical and professional training, with a constant atmosphere of anxiety and competition that encourages a relatively focused and narrow vision of career outlook. Good range of extra curricular activities available.




Life in HKU

HKU provides students with lots of opportunities in multidisciplinary researches and experiences. This encourages students to widen their horizons and prepare for the future. The programme I attended organised both local and oversea field trips that allowed me to have the first hand experiences of relative aspects. It was very useful for my later career.





I am a graduate of the BSocSc programme several years ago. I appreciate that the programme provided a flexible choice of majors and minors. Even I was admitted into social sciences programme, I could explore various streams of studies in and out of the social sciences faculty, including global studies, human resources, politics, science and music. I did a double major in psychology and sociology. Among all learning experiences in lectures, tutorials, field trips…, I would say the internship experience was one of the most memorable part of my university life. The faculty offers a credit-bearing internship programme in which students can go to various NGOs to work on social issues, ranging from poverty, education to adjustment of ethnic minorities. Students can be placed locally or overseas, depending on placement quota, their personal preference and past experience. I went to a social service agency that serves adults who are intellectually challenged and have autism spectrum disorder. It was an eye-opening experience in observing how different professionals work together to provide training for those people and reflecting on how psychological knowledge could come into play. I was also able to gain some hands-on experience in leading an activity. There are more and more internship opportunities for university students. It is just another way to gain practical experience apart from applying for interns in government agencies or business companies, especially in organisations that would not openly recruit interns but only work with tertiary institutions. It should be noted that for some majors/courses, there are really a lot of people studying. When I was an undergraduate back then, we often expected a lecture with 100+ students and a tutorial with nearly 20 students. If you favour close student-teacher interaction in small classes, you may look into the enrolment of particular courses.