While top-ranked, Ivy League business schools continue to thrive, applications to many MBA programs in the US are in decline.
According to GMAC, applications to two-year, full-time MBA programs fell in 53% of US business schools in 2016, with many MBA applicants looking for more flexible, affordable programs internationally.
Sean Clark took his undergraduate degree and spent three years working for Fortune 500 retail firm Ross Stores in his native Texas. But when it came to doing an MBA, he didn’t settle for programs within the US.
Instead, he relocated thousands of miles for a full-time MBA at Hong Kong’s HKUST Business School – ranked 15th in the world by the Financial Times.
At HKUST, over 90% of MBA students are international, representing close to 30 different nationalities. The school offers a flexible 12-month or 16-month MBA format including an internship and the opportunity for international exchange.
70% of HKUST MBA grads land jobs in Asia after graduation. Sean’s now chief of staff at a leading retailer in Hong Kong.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at HKUST?
I chose HKUST because I wanted to pursue a career in Asia and I wanted a top-rated education in business. I was accepted to other schools in Asia and Europe but I chose HKUST because of its strong brand and reputation. The campus, Hong Kong night life, and food were added bonuses.
Why did you decide against pursuing a traditional two-year MBA program in the US?
I didn't apply to any schools in the US. I did my MBA to further my understanding of the world as well as to facilitate my next career move. In an American school, I would have had solid lectures and course content but I would have missed the benefits of being in a truly international environment.
The most valuable lessons I learned during my MBA came from my classmates. At HKUST, classmates from around the world challenged my perspectives as an American. I wouldn't have had that in the US.
What should applicants think about when deciding to do an MBA?
Go big! Doing an MBA can give you incredible leverage in your personal and career development. Don't waste it by having small goals; get out of your comfort zone.
How have you profited from your MBA experience?
On top of the procession of fantastic events during the MBA, I’ve profited by sharpening my critical thinking. The curriculum, expert professors, and perspectives of my classmates pushed me to improve my intellect beyond just learning more facts. I tackle problems more efficiently and effectively than I did before the MBA.
What are your career ambitions for the future? How will the HKUST MBA help you achieve them?
I love retail and I want to be in the center of the transformation the industry is undergoing. The network I built and the education I received at HKUST are already helping me do that.
I see the benefits of my MBA every day. I have a network of experts in supply chain, technology, finance, and any other subject you can think of to reach out to any time I need advice. I would say I want to rule the world, but in today's context of low-IQ strongmen I now feel a bit blasé about that ambition!