Lots of us feel at some point in our careers that we’re on the outside looking in.
For Prajjwal Singh, this was how he felt working as an IT manager at Tata Consultancy Services in Asia.
Though he’d succeeded in relocating from India to Hong Kong and was working on IT management processes for the international insurance giant AXA, he couldn’t help but feel that he didn’t want to just supply services to the company—he wanted to be in on the action.
To achieve this, he decided to do an MBA at CUHK Business School in Hong Kong. We caught up with Prajjwal to find out why he made this choice, and how he sees his future looking with the MBA behind him.
What made you decide to study an MBA when you did?
Having a management degree had been part of my goals since I completed my undergraduate degree in computer science back in 2011.
However, I was also aware that in order to reap the true benefits of a management degree, you need to have a good [amount of] experience in work, so it was only in 2016 that I decided to give up my role in Hong Kong to further my education with an MBA.
Why did you choose CUHK Business School?
I’d been evaluating the best colleges and locations to pursue my postgraduate degree, focusing not only on the rankings and reputation, but also the geographical location and global conditions.
If you take everything into account, Hong Kong is definitely one of the best locations to go for your postgraduate degree.
I decided to do an MBA at CUHK [specifically] because of its reputation, ranking, top-notch professors, and fast-track one-year format.
The quality [of investment] for non-local grads [was important]—I did not want to take any chances in countries where conditions are not good enough for fresh graduates to establish careers after an MBA.
How did it measure up to your expectations?
I think doing a fast-track MBA course is full of surprises—whether you like it or not, you have to digest the information and move on with full focus on your course.
How much CUHK would offer you in one year is truly remarkable—there were speaker events, networking events, alumni catch-ups, dinners, recruitment talks, wonderful opportunities to participate in Hong Kong Fintech Association events—[even] a sports championship! The list never stops.
This is in addition to regular courses—reflecting back, I still can’t believe this was all done in one year.
How has the MBA helped you achieve your goals?
I am where I want to be. I hadn’t really enjoyed handling IT-related work, and my tenure at TCS reinforced that I’m looking for a management-type role.
Let’s put it in perspective: before my MBA, I was working as a third-party vendor in Hong Kong, and my client was AXA. Post-MBA, I’m working as a business project manager, which is definitely a big jump in my career path.
What does the future look like for you?
My future prospects are looking good, [especially] considering the insurance industry outlook in Asia.
Companies are now ready to make huge investments to transform the way that traditional insurance companies operate.
I can see that over the next five years there will be huge resource demand in the insurance industry led by business transformation and legacy systems replacement—as an MBA grad, I wanted to be part of this.
What’s your advice to aspiring MBAs about how to make the most of these opportunities?
What I would suggest future students do is to keep exploring the market. If you have decided to come to Hong Kong, start from the day you begin your course and do not get stuck on one specific industry or job.
Everyone should have an open mind and keep exploring where the major innovations are going to happen—if you’re willing to take risks, you will gain a greater return from it.
Life in Hong Kong can be challenging, but considering the growth opportunities in Asia, the CUHK one-year MBA course is highly recommended to prepare yourself for future roles.