Rae Lee landed a top job at a pioneering biotech company after completing a full-time MBA at Hong Kong’s HKUST Business School.
Previously an engineer in the healthcare industry, an MBA has helped Rae elevate her career to the next level and change her role. She believes an internship in Shanghai, secured during the degree, was key to getting the real-life experience she needed to help her make this transition.
Now, she heads up the Greater China division at Natera—a global genetic testing and diagnostics company that’s changing how doctors and patients manage genetic disease.
Natera is pioneering next-generation accuracy in preconception and prenatal genetic testing. Since 2009, it’s launched seven molecular screening tests; many available through major health plans accounting for more than 140 million covered lives in the United States.
Rae doesn’t think she’d be where she is today without the combination of practical experience, holistic business knowledge, and the specialist understanding of the Asian market gained from her MBA experience at HKUST.
How did the job at Natera come about?
Natera was looking for someone who not only had a healthcare background, but also possessed a business mindset to manage their Greater China business. I was in the right place at the right time, being from the healthcare industry and having just finished my MBA at HKUST, which is very highly regarded in the region.
My internship experience at a top healthcare consulting company in Shanghai, which I got through HKUST, helped me build my resume and prepared me for the role.
How is your MBA helping you in your role at Natera?
I specialized in entrepreneurship and business strategy during my MBA. Running Natera’s greater China business with a very lean team means I need to pull out every single skillset and piece of knowledge I acquired through my past work experience and classes at HKUST.
The entrepreneurship, business strategy classes, and projects that I undertook really helped prepare me and equipped me with the right knowledge and theory, which I apply every day in this role.
Having had the chance to learn from and work with my classmates, who come from different industries and backgrounds, also helps me to work across different locations and with people from different cultures.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at HKUST?
In 2012 ,when I decided to study an MBA, HKUST was one of the world’s top 10 MBAs and had a very good reputation among Asian companies. The fact that it’s located in Hong Kong also meant that it is very international, but also has a lot of Asia and China focus, which is the growing economy.
To learn more about the program, I met with my work colleague’s college friend who was then doing her MBA at HKUST and felt very positive about her experience. I liked that it was an 18 month-program—10 months feels too short and 24months too long—and that it is very international and diverse. I had 105 classmates made up of 32 different nationalities.
What advice do you have for anyone considering an MBA?
Stay hungry and stay humble. Go in with an open mind and continue to explore within yourself and outside. It is a truly life changing experience that can alter not only your perspective, but also your character and values—for better or worse.
Most importantly, maintain a strong mind and body because you have to learn to survive with very little sleep! There is so much to accomplish in so little time. To cope you need to learn to prioritize and don't develop a fear of missing out. It is impossible to be everywhere and to do everything.
Lastly, remain professional. You might be a student again, but you are still expected to be professional. Always be punctual and make sure you do what you have committed to.
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