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This HKU MBA Helps Connect Telecom Startups With Investors At GSMA

Peter Brady landed a business director role at mobile industry body GSMA through an MBA at the University of Hong Kong


Fri May 11 2018

For Peter Brady, doing an MBA was always more about changing job function, not company. When he left GSMA—the industry body that represents mobile operators worldwide—for a full-time MBA at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), he had no plans to return to the organization after graduation.

But, during the 14-month HKU MBA program, he upskilled, gained first-hand startup experience, and was offered a new job at GSMA; a promotion to a new department in a new country.

Now based in Barcelona, Peter works as GSMA’s business director, reporting into the general manager. He heads up the commercial partnerships team and helps run a global conference series—GSMA Mobile 360–for mobile operators.

A key part of the job is related to startups—Peter is GSMA’s lead man for the 4 Years From Now (4YFN) brand, connecting startups in the telecoms space to corporates and investors.

Pre-MBA, Peter worked as a GSMA account director in London before moving to Hong Kong to drive the organization’s Asia expansion. The move led him to study at HKU—the school’s 14-month MBA program is ranked first in Asia for eight consecutive years by the Economist.

BusinessBecause caught up with Peter to find out more.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at HKU?


As GSMA’s business in Hong Kong grew, so did my responsibilities. I wanted to extend my breadth of skills and knowledge beyond sales and gain the confidence to work in a broader management role. I was very much aware of the reputation of HKU MBA, and the class profile was more international compared to some of the other schools in Hong Kong.

The original plan was to look for a sideways move into a big international tech company in Hong Kong or Singapore. However, what was most important for me was the next role rather than the next company.

What stands out from your HKU MBA experience?

One highlight for me was the Business Lab; a four-month mock incubation program to develop a startup and take it to pitch stage. Out of ten teams, our team—coming up with a food-packaging solution—won first prize.

The Business Lab was very relevant for me in my current role managing startup brands at GSMA. It was a good experience to put myself through the same journey, and the same challenges, that a lot of our community are going through with their startups. We had a design expert and a finance expert in the group. It was interesting to work with people with different skillsets.

With an MBA, you learn all the different facets of running a business. You have the opportunity to put some academic principles behind a startup before you start—you give yourself a strong advantage.

Your favorite class?

The Business Law & Ethics course with David Bishop. The classes were rooted within a very humanistic reality. We looked at ethics as individuals rather than in a corporate sense, and our responsibilities as individual business leaders.

How have you profited from your MBA experience?

The job at GSMA was exactly the type of role I was looking to transition into. The University of Hong Kong was completely flexible. HKU did everything in its power to assist and accommodate me to get this job.

I’ve gained an insight into other job functions that I never previously had. I’ve learned enough about accounting now to talk the language of an accountant for example. I can switch and liaise with lots of different departments internally, in a way that I couldn’t have done before.

Plus, most organizations today have, or plan to have, operations in Asia. Even if you’re not based there, being familiar with the region has great value. Asia has the most mobile connections in the world. It’s the biggest market capital-wise outside the US. Alibaba, Samsung, and Tencent are all there—it’s the region for my industry.

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.