My HKU MBA Got Me A Top Finance Internship In Hong Kong—Now I’m Using It To Switch Careers

Pranavi Kapur landed a stellar financial compliance internship at Duff & Phelps through the full-time MBA program at the University of Hong Kong. She’s using that experience to make a career change

Internships are often a key part of any MBA student’s career journey—a chance to try out new industries, build new business networks, and land new jobs.

Pranavi Kapur knows that better than most. A current MBA student at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), she landed an internship at global financial services firm Duff & Phelps in Hong Kong this year, supported by the school’s Career Development Office.

There, she’s helped drive the sales campaigns for the Asian arms of multinational corporations, and experienced working in one of the world’s leading financial services centers first-hand. Now armed with real-life experience, she’s ready to take the next step in her career and complete the switch from risk consulting in Gurgaon, India, to financial services in Hong Kong.

At HKU, she’s well-placed to do so. HKU’s Career Development Series sees professional career coaches advise students on-campus. Students are partnered with leading executives on the school’s mentorship scheme and, like Pranavi, connected with local internships and jobs.

The 14-month MBA program has been ranked Asia’s number one for eight consecutive years by The Economist, and this year came 13th in the world in the Financial Times’ Top MBAs for Finance ranking.

Out of the HKU MBA class of 2015 and 2016, 88% secured post-MBA jobs in Asia; 68% changed location; 55% changed industry; 60% changed role; a majority of 32% went into finance. The biggest hirers of HKU MBA grads include Amazon, PwC, Li & Fung, and HSBC.

BusinessBecause caught up with Pranavi to find out more.

How did the MBA internship at Duff & Phelps come about?

As soon as we joined the University of Hong Kong, we had personal meetings scheduled with the Career Development Office for them to understand our goals and aspirations for the MBA journey. Through these meetings, I got a clearer view of the Hong Kong market conditions and opportunities.

We also had many coaching sessions with experts and top senior management of various industries. Through one of these mentoring sessions, I was introduced to the management of Duff & Phelps and the opportunity of a potential internship came my way.

How have you profited from your MBA internship experience?

It’s been absolutely phenomenal! I started the internship thinking I would get to work behind-the-scenes but, within 15 days, I was taking client meetings and leading discussions with compliance managers and general counsels of asset management companies.

I was seconded to one of the biggest asset management companies in Asia where I got to assess their compliance procedures, lay out frameworks, and work on training the employees on industry best practices. I don’t think I would have got an opportunity to learn so much anywhere else.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at HKU?

I was working as a risk and compliance consultant in India before my MBA, with many multinationals and Fortune 500 companies across the globe. But I started feeling that I needed to get broader exposure, both to hone my management skills and to learn how global corporates think. The best next step for me was an MBA.

I was clear that I wanted to be in financial services, and Hong Kong is a leading financial center. When I started researching more about schools in Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong’s curriculum and ranking made me want to apply. Once I got admitted, talking to various alumni only strengthened my belief that HKU was the right fit for my next career step into finance.

How will your internship experience at HKU help you post-MBA?

When I started my MBA, I was looking at changing both my location and sector. Within only 11 months, I have been able to get a chance to try out both successfully.

Now that I have relevant experience of financial compliance in Hong Kong, this is my starting point of discussions with many potential employers. This has definitely helped me take the first big step towards my post-MBA goal.

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