Brian Tjokroadiguno ran a number of businesses before deciding to pursue a full-time MBA at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). An avid fan of celebrity businessman Robert Kiyosaki, his goal has always been financial freedom.
Since completing the 14-month MBA program—ranked first in Asia for eight consecutive years by the Economist—he’s set up his own catering business in his native Indonesia.
What’s changed? Through the HKU MBA’s entrepreneurship focus, Brian says, he became a better-rounded entrepreneur, able to respond to feedback and develop his business directly in response to what the market needs.
Much of this comes down to the HKU MBA’s five-month Business Lab elective, which takes students through every stage of the startup process, from idea conception to launch. During the Business Lab, MBA students are taken through a series of case studies and apply their learnings to develop real business ideas in a risk-free environment.
At the Business Lab’s conclusion, students present their business plans to a panel of industry experts and venture capitalists, who can help take their startup ideas to the next level.
BusinessBecause caught up with Brian to find out more.
How has the HKU MBA helped you develop as an entrepreneur?
The Business Lab was really fun from beginning to end. The whole course is like a template on starting your business from scratch.
A common problem for an entrepreneur is not sharing an idea, and keeping it to themselves, for fear it might get stolen. But, as entrepreneurs, we’re not always right. What we think customers want, might not always be the case.
During the HKU MBA, I learned not to work alone. I learned that implementing feedback from colleagues, as well as potential customers, is the most important thing.
No one knows whether a business will become successful or not. But, with more knowledge of the field, the better we are at capitalizing on the market and knowing what our market needs.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at HKU?
It was the ranking from The Economist that first caught my interest. After that, I did some research and found that I could learn and have fun while broadening my understanding of the business world.
What was your favorite class on the HKU MBA?
Opportunity Discovery and Entrepreneurial Development by Dr. Yanfeng Zheng—Dr. Z!
The course matched my areas of interest, but Dr. Z’s teaching style stood out the most. Every session was comprised of a full class discussion—a full knowledge-sharing session based around a particular case or topic. For me, that’s how an MBA class should be.
What advice do you have for anyone considering an MBA?
If you’re taking a leap of faith and looking to do something you’ve never done before—like starting your own business or entering a new industry—then an MBA is very good for you.
During an MBA, you’ll get all the knowledge you might need as well as advice from people who’ve actually done what you want to do—they could be classmates, mentors, or professors. You might even find your business partner during an MBA program—it happens a lot.
Ultimately, an MBA is ideal if you’re planning to take the next step in your career, since every program is backed up with a potent career service that will help you with that.
The University of Hong Kong (HKU) - MBA Programmes HKU Business School
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
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.