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How Is COVID-19 Impacting International MBA Students?

Five international MBA students tell you what it's like studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic and why you should still value MBAs with on-campus learning


Tue Dec 8 2020


Travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have left international MBA students asking themselves one question: Should I stay or should I go?

While online learning means you can technically study from anywhere, a huge part of doing an MBA is the on-campus experience. Moving abroad to study gives you the chance to immerse yourself in different cultures, make personal and professional connections, and gain specific local business knowledge.

While studying abroad is a challenge right now, international students on the University of Hong Kong (HKU) MBA are proving that it’s not impossible. 

A center for trade, and a bridge between eastern and western markets, Hong Kong has been fast to get a handle on the pandemic, and remains a top destination for business professionals from around the world.

Here’s how five international students have found moving to Hong Kong to study during the pandemic.

1. Thierry Hardy-Lachance, Canada 918655c82582a86d36d9301ad3c660d008b72d1a.jpg

The journey to get to Hong Kong was complicated. It took 30 hours to fly from Montreal to Hong Kong and spent two weeks in quarantine in a hotel. 

We were supposed to have field trips in Shenzhen and Shanghai, which sadly got cancelled. Otherwise, my studies have not been impacted too much by COVID-19. So far, my time in Hong Kong has been pleasant. There is much to learn from the professors and I appreciate my cohort.

I am glad I can go on campus and attend in-person classes. I find I am more productive on campus. I think my classmates who are studying remotely have it worse. So far, I have only been able to meet them virtually.

2. Hubert Streitler, Switzerland


It was a very long journey to Hong Kong from Switzerland, including a 14 hour stay at the airport waiting for my test!

Thankfully, the overall impact of COVID-19 at HKU is limited. I feel lucky to still have on-campus classes, while other universities have gone completely online, or postponed their courses. I get much more value from in-person learning, I like having to get up and look presentable, and interact with my cohort and professors.

The beginning of the program was intensive, but I’m now three months in and learning to manage the workload. Now feels like a good time to be doing an MBA.

3. Muhammed Manko, Africa

a6e2f7ddb001407a2c689ffd7f143810792804c9.png I flew into Hong Kong from Africa – it was a painful journey but smooth after I arrived!

I started the MBA online. For the first three weeks I was still in Africa, then I had a two week quarantine in Hong Kong. I chose to move to Hong Kong to meet my classmates and have the whole MBA experience. I much prefer face-to-face learning, and find I’m much more focused while with my cohort.

A lot of activities that usually come with the MBA are now limited, and I’d love to experience more, get out there and be with other people, especially as it’s my first time in Hong Kong.

The workload has been more than I anticipated, but it’s going well overall.

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.