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This Hong Kong Business School Helps MBA Students Chasing Careers In Artificial Intelligence

Professor networks and international immersions help MBAs at CUHK Business School in Hong Kong break into the tech industry after they graduate


Mon Feb 18 2019

Asia is fast becoming a major global player in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

China in particular is prioritizing technological development in its plans for the next few years, with a sophisticated national strategy that will see the country’s AI industry grow to be worth almost $60 billion by 2030.

In this climate of fast-paced growth, opportunities are ripe for MBAs to take advantage of the tech boom—and CUHK Business School in Hong Kong is helping its students do just that.


Kevin Burns is a current CUHK MBA, and he chose CUHK for its proximity to technological change in Asia.  

“I love being part of change,” he says. “I’ve been working in change management for quite some time, and I wanted to increase my global experience.”

Close proximity to tech hubs

When initially selecting an MBA, Kevin knew that he didn’t want to dive straight into Chinese business to the exclusion of other parts of the world. Hong Kong as a location seemed like the perfect transitional space—and CUHK Business School in particular what he was looking for.

“CUHK has very strong ties to China and Shenzhen, one of the biggest technology hubs in the world right now,” he explains. “We have great exposure to major tech companies like Tencent and Huawei, and the drone manufacturers DJI are right next door.”

This closeness to cutting-edge businesses has a potent effect on the MBA program. Even traditional core courses such as strategy are invested with an awareness of tech and AI’s influence on the market.

For instance, as a student on the innovation and entrepreneurship concentration, Kevin is focusing on Wal Mart, analysing ways for the company to stay relevant in a competitive digital marketplace.

“I’m studying how they can stay relevant against competitors such as Amazon and Tencent, that are already so digitalized and working with AI and machine learning,” says Kevin. “We have hands-on experience of how to use AI to improve current business processes.”

Exposure to top tech companies


Bintang Mulyasakti is one of Kevin’s colleagues on the MBA program and he describes the same effect.

“Even conventional MBA courses like strategic management and financial reporting are designed to be related to the digital world—for example in strategic management course, my team and I are assigned to work closely with one of the biggest banks in South East Asia to assess its fintech strategy in the region. Because our task is to build an opposition report, we are pushed not only to learn about the strategy but also to learn technical stuff that is related to AI or Machine Learning,” Bintang says.

Another highlight is Kevin was the class trip to Silicon Valley in California.

“We went to Google, Facebook, Oracle…” he lists, “Lots of different design consultancies, Salesforce, venture capitalists that only support tech companies…

“That was a really cool experience, because our main goal was to use the information that we gathered over the week to create a presentation for a Shark Tank-style committee.”

Indeed, the presentation that Kevin developed in the USA has since grown into a business proposal based around machine learning, which he has taken to incubators and investors in Hong Kong.

“Some are willing to sponsor up to $250,000 for 12% or 15% of the company,” he says excitedly.

Post-graduate employment in AI

Evidently, the rewards waiting to be reaped by CUHK Business School grads are plentiful.


Winky Ng is an example of a CUHK grad who has built a career in AI. He is currently working for AI-driven analytics software Hyper Anna in Hong Kong, but he has also worked in data and AI consulting at Microsoft and as a business development lead at an energy technology startup.

“My professors back in the day were teaching venture capital and private equity, and they had a lot more linkage from the business world to innovation and startups and new ventures where technologies like AI were just beginning,” says Winky.

“Because of the strong background of the university, you get exposure to technology—innovation, venture capital, and private equity courses allow students to be involved on a project basis, and learn how you can fundraise and pitch your own company with a tech focus.”

To MBAs considering switching careers into the tech field through a program at CUHK, Winky recommends that they make the most of their professors’ networks and the mentorship programs that are on offer.

“When you go into tech companies that are recruiting, these guys tend to be recruiting people who have strong business sense so that they can bring both technology and business language to their clients,” he says.

“I think that’s quite key—to be able to think deeply about what the industries are [doing] and what the company needs, and to put the technology in place.”

It certainly sounds like CUHK Business School’s MBA program is equipped to help students achieve this.

“It’s funny,” remarks Kevin, “We’re not a technology-led university—however, in every process that we do, at least one focus is on technology and the disruption it's causing, and how we can learn to apply AI and machine learning in tomorrow’s work world.

“That makes our program very special.”

Student Reviews






One of a kind

I studied Bioinformatics at CUHK last year. It was the only Master's degree in Hong Kong in this field. This program developed my analytical skills and equipped me to be a Bioinformatician in a very practical way. I enjoyed my year here and met classmates from different parts of the world. If you are thinking to enhance your profile, this degree program would be a good option.




On Campus

general education courses, unique college system, large campus

The university facilitates multi-dimension and interdisciplinary learning. In social science faculty, we need to choose courses as our faculty package from other departments (architecture, psychology, sociology, etc.) to learn more than our major required courses. We are also required to finish general education courses, which aid our critical thinking and humanistic sensibilities. I do recommend the social science broad-based program, and the professors I met so far are all responsible and erudite.





The faculty of law is relatively new. You do not need to have a LLB to pursue a LLM, which is special. The taught programme is great for mature students who want to obtain legal knowledge. CUHK has good teaching staff too.




Amazing Campus and Great Educational Environment

Not only is CUHK's main campus breathtaking, it provides for a good educational environment for students. The university is well-equipped with modern and up-to-date facilities to help students with their study. We have 8 libraries in total around the campus; one for media, one for architectural studies, the medical library and the law library. The Professors are always helpful and are happy to talk to students when needed. Moreover, the college system within the university brings forth the uniqueness of CUHK. Each student belongs to a different college, and in that students are able to meet different peoples from different countries and students from different faculties. I think CUHK provides for a well-rounded university life for all students.





One of the most down to earth places in HK. A great opportunity to learn and embody the local culture. Also had one the most beautiful campus in Hong Kong up on the hillside. Glad to have graduated here.




Innovative and Supportive

My university provided me with all the support I needed, and encouraged me to be up to date with all the new developments in the world. They also provided me with the incentive to excel at what I do, and they take much pride in my achievements. I have had a very rewarding university experience.




Small, New But Friendly Law School

To being with, I think the campus of CUHK is the best and the biggest in Hong Kong, with fresh air and trees everywhere. I am an undergraduate Law student at CUHK and I think the teaching here is great, with very friendly and nice professors and the new Lee Shau Kee Building. In terms of the courses offered by CUHK, as one of the largest universities in Hong Kong, CUHK is an all-rounded university, offering a wide range of courses to students. Students may take the introductory courses of discipline other than their own major, or even declare a minor. For law electives, due to the small amount of intake, the variety of law electives are not that huge. However, the Faculty is offering some international programmes, which can be treated as law electives, but at the same time, provide us with an opportunity to travel and know more about the legal system of another country. The career support from the Faculty of Law is also amazing. The Faculty will organise CV Sessions and talks on how to get an internship from law firms or mini-pupillage from barrister's chambers. Each student will also have a Distinguished Professional Mentor, which is a current legal profession, providing us with practical advices and updates of the legal field. Finally, from my personal experience, I think the students in CUHK are friendly and genuine. As Law students, competition is inevitable for grades, GPAs, vacation schemes and training contract. However, I think the competition in CUHK Law School is a positive one, in a sense that help us grow together, instead of fighting with each other no matter what. That is the biggest reason why I am having a very good time here in CUHK Law School.




A place to explore your interests

As a law graduate from CUHK (both undergrad and post-grad), I realise that I had many opportunities to explore my areas of interests (legal and non-legal both). The faculty/university requires us to take a certain number of non-law electives, and offers a plethora of courses to choose from. Personally, I took 3 modules in Korean --I can't say it's made me highly proficient, but it's definitely given me a good foundation (I can walk into a Korean restaurant and confidently order food, at the very least). The fact that language courses are offered also provides students who are more financially constrained an opportunity to learn a language without having to shell out a premium for a decent language course. On top of that, we have a range of law electives as well. I know of classmates who have developed lasting interest in different areas of law because of the electives they took in school. The two electives that I would say have changed me is (i) mooting and (ii) family law. I think my experience in an international commercial arbitration moot competition has helped tremendously in formulating legal arguments and legal writing. On the other hand, taking a family law elective has made me very interested in the family law practice, especially in terms of child rights. For these experiences which I have gained, I'm grateful for the opportunities provided by the school. One main issue most students I know have is with the way our GPA is calculated and the lack of transparency in terms of how the honours system works. As our GPA is marked on a curve. it's highly unrepresentative of what we have achieved as individuals. Given that our GPA is the only criteria that is looked at when we apply for the compulsory post-graduate law course (mandatory should we want to practise law and/or be trainees in Hong Kong), it will put our own students at a distinct disadvantage when we compete for limited spaces with students from schools where GPA is not on a bell curve.




On Campus

Valuable time in CUHK

I like the learning environment and people at CUHK. Surrounded by hills and Tolo Harbour, CUHK provides a balance between nature and hustle. You can always escape from the busy study life and meet your friend around the big campus for different activities.