For some, this means landing your dream job in a big, multinational company, dealing with big-name clients. For others, it could mean starting your own business, moving abroad, or working for a cutting-edge tech firm.
Rita Liu had done all of the above before even starting her MBA at Hong Kong’s HKUST Business School.
Her first major role was with food giant Mars in China, where she worked as a marketing manager, taking the lead with huge brands like Snickers and Pedigree. Later, she moved to the US to start her own e-commerce business bringing US designer brands to consumers in China.
Most recently, she held a position as marketing director for Cognitive AI Technologies, a tech startup in Chicago, where she led the marketing and sales of a patented AI-based smart driving device.
With a marketing career that encompassed the US and China, spanning industries from food to tech, and even setting up her own entrepreneurial project, it might seem like Rita was in no need of an MBA. So, what made her decide to enrol?
“Having been exposed to different industries and markets throughout my career, I have witnessed Asia’s skyrocketing consumption, and couldn’t wait to jump back into this huge growth opportunity,” Rita says.
“[I felt that] an MBA at this moment would equip me with three things: [firstly,] a better understanding of the business world through learning different disciplines; [secondly,] insights into different industries and regions through close interaction with people from diverse backgrounds, [and finally] enhanced leadership skills and sharpened functional expertise.”
HKUST Business School’s international reputation and its placement in Hong Kong has made it the ideal location for Rita to link her business experience in the US and China.
“Hong Kong serves as a link to the western world as well as a gateway to China,” explains Rita. “[I’ve had] first-hand interaction with the latest developments in business in China through career treks to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. We were exposed to the latest technology, financial, and consumer companies and enjoyed inspiration from Fortune 500 companies as well as startups.”
The international case competitions in which HKUST takes part see teams of MBA students from all over the world participate in competing consulting projects, and HKUST’s career treks to locations across Asia introduce students to organizations like Google, Apple, Goldman Sachs, and McKinsey.
For Rita, the highlight has been learning from a diverse set of classmates at HKUST. “My peers are so talented, I have so much to learn from them,” she says. “The ongoing internal case competitions allow me to continuously learn from different groups and individuals and improve my capabilities in strategic thinking and effective communication.”
Even the internal competitions at HKUST have an international feel—Rita’s group was composed of MBA students with Belgian, Japanese, Indian, and Chinese heritage, hailing from across the world in different industries and functions.
Rita presented a one-minute elevator pitch for her team’s food e-commerce strategy, and won, which she believes is a testament to the education she’s gained from her tutors and her peers at the school.
After her MBA, Rita hopes to use these experiences to take up a leadership role in a consumer business in China. Her experience at HKUST Business School has made her excited for the future.
“I am inspired and energized when I wake up every morning,” Rita says. “Life is challenging but full of excitement when you are always surrounded by positive energy.”