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MBA Lands Chief Of Staff Job During COVID-19 Uncertainty

Yizhen Fung completed her MBA at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most employers had frozen recruitment. But, through her b-school contacts, Yizhen secured a job as a chief of staff at


Fri Oct 9 2020


It also prepared Yizhen to be, as she describes, “ASEAN ready”. 

Given cultural diversity across the Asian continent, Yizhen notes how important it was to get on-the-ground experience working in different countries as part of her Action Learning. This included working at the world’s largest glove manufacturer in Malaysia, a major family owned bank in Thailand, a Thai-owned beverage company based in Hanoi, and a beauty manufacturing company in Hong Kong. 

While the companies and industries were diverse, they all shared a common goal—”All the companies were relatively established businesses, but were all trying to explore new ways of growth.”

At the beverage company, for instance, she was involved in devising a market penetration plan for the beer industry in Hanoi. “We were able to deeply dive into the consumer mindset and map out the customer journey and what would be the best strategy to penetrate.”

As well as helping to give her a good understanding of how business was done across Asia, it also helped her narrow down her career pathways to areas that she knew she was more interested in. 

Job hunting during COVID-19 and finding a role at AirAsia

Yizhen graduated in April 2020, just at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Job hunting became a full-time job in itself. Many employers had frozen hiring amidst the economic uncertainty: she even had a job offer which was deferred indefinitely.   

She was lucky to be able to draw upon several valuable takeaways from her MBA. An entrepreneurial mindset, instilled in her from her first day at ASB, taught her to treat every day like it was the first day. This gave her the discipline to formulate a daily job hunting routine. 

Secondly, a healthy dose of optimism. “It was about how to see a silver lining in every cloud, even with a very bleak outlook.”

She quickly saw the value of having an MBA under her belt. Employers were impressed with her ability to apply specific examples—many from the Action Learning projects—for certain skills or leadership traits. So when AirAsia called, regarding a chief of staff role, she swiftly landed the job.

Given that AirAsia is one of ASB’s corporate partners, and continues to hire ASB MBA graduates, she acknowledges her alma mater played an important part in getting the role. 

AirAsia, as a global leader in aviation, is at the forefront of addressing the challenges that the tourism industry is facing at present. But her MBA has prepared her perfectly for the fast changing culture at AirAsia. “If you dissect the skills I needed to thrive in a volatile environment, it's the ability to learn and unlearn quickly, to adapt to what a new environment needs.”

READ MORE: From Malaysia To MIT Sloan: My Experience On An MBA Sponsored By AirAsia