Partner Sites

Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

How An MBA Can Propel Your Family Business

After graduating from an MBA in Hong Kong, Sandro Kündig used his skills to successfully steer his family’s business through the coronavirus crisis


Thu Dec 10 2020


Moving into management is a big step at any company, and even more so when it’s your family’s business—but that’s exactly what Sandro Kündig did. 

In 2016, after three years in project management and digital sales positions in Switzerland, Sandro decided to move his career into his family’s food business, Kündig Group. Just one year later, he and his brother were running the company. 

Family businesses are largely recognized as being some of the most influential companies on the global stage. According to some research, family businesses contribute more than 70% to global GDP, and are also widely seen as being innovative and adaptable due to their long-term vision.

For Sandro, it was the opportunity to “pursue a profession which not only reflects my passion, but where I can also have a direct influence on strategic decisions,” that inspired him to join the business. 

However, to successfully take up the mantle and guide the company to success, Sandro realised that gaining an MBA might be useful—to “I wanted to gain the skills to lead a company, expand my network in Asia, and learn from my peers,” as he says.


When the time came to choose a business school Sandro admits that he was already drawn to Hong Kong’s culture and people.

“I decided to join this melting pot because I was interested in learning more about the Asian culture and expanding my network in Hong Kong, China and other Asian countries,” he explains.

He ended up choosing the MBA at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), a program ranked 50th in the world by the Financial Times.

CUHK’s MBA program is known for its entrepreneurial focus, and Sandro was able to follow the Entrepreneurship and Innovation concentration, which aside from focusing on agile thinking, leadership, and networking, also features a specific course in managing family business.

Students at CUHK have access to the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Center for Family Business too. The centers offer resources like networking events and workshops aimed at supporting business leaders.

Sandro says that the Elite Mentorship element of the program—which builds relationships between students and CUHK alumni—was especially helpful, especially considering Sandro’s own industry.

“I was in contact with the former MD of Campbell Soup China,” he explains. “He gave me different tips, particularly about Chinese business culture as well as valuable contacts in the food industry.”


Putting MBA skills to practice

Sandro admits that starting his new role at his family’s company in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic “wasn’t the easiest task!” However, the soft skills he picked up on his MBA have allowed him to cope with the challenge. 

“Working with groups of different nationalities helped me to enhance my leadership skills—here, I learned to exploit the full potential of a highly diverse team,” he explains.

Sandro adds that the business simulation elements of his MBA gave him the transferable skills that are now making his family business a success. During the simulation, students had to run a fictional company for a week, dealing with complex situations and stepping into the shoes of a C-suite manager. 

“The MBA taught me how to deal with uncertain situations,” he adds. “This learning experience helped me to make—mostly—the right decisions in the real world.

“The MBA taught me not only the technical skills but also to be curious about various things in life such as culture, network and new fields of knowledge.”


Sandro and his team took part in CUHK's Social Enterprise Challenge

Bringing sustainability to the family business

Management skills were not the only thing Sandro picked up on his MBA—he’s also been inspired to ramp up the businesses’ commitment to sustainability

Although the CUHK MBA program puts a big focus on digital transformation—with topics such as AI, fintech, and machine learning featuring heavily on the curriculum—students also have the chance to learn about sustainability, through events like the annual Sustainability Conference.

This student-led conference brings sustainability leaders together for lectures and discussions. This year’s theme was “Changing Mindset,” and covered topics like sustainability metrics.

Sandro himself took part in another highly anticipated sustainability event: the CUHK Social Enterprise Challenge 2019, where his team finished runner-up and he gained vital insights into creating social ventures.

“We have just made our family business CO2 neutral this year,” Sandro explains, “and we are contributing in various sustainability programs, for example over 50% of our product portfolio is organic.”

Sandro is also hoping to expand his business into new sectors, especially in the Asian market. Unsurprisingly, his experience on the MBA at CUHK is proving a big help in this area, too. 

“I was looking for insights about the Indonesian food market since it is rather hard to get valuable information out of Europe—my former peer and now alumni Bintang helped me with the inquiry and sent me some potential prospects.”

Looking back, Sandro is certain that he made the right decision coming to Hong Kong for his MBA, and especially choosing CUHK.

“I chose CUHK mainly because of the great network and the vast amount of elective courses,” he says. “But their focus on entrepreneurship convinced me that this business school is the right fit for me.”

Student Reviews






One of a kind

I studied Bioinformatics at CUHK last year. It was the only Master's degree in Hong Kong in this field. This program developed my analytical skills and equipped me to be a Bioinformatician in a very practical way. I enjoyed my year here and met classmates from different parts of the world. If you are thinking to enhance your profile, this degree program would be a good option.




On Campus

general education courses, unique college system, large campus

The university facilitates multi-dimension and interdisciplinary learning. In social science faculty, we need to choose courses as our faculty package from other departments (architecture, psychology, sociology, etc.) to learn more than our major required courses. We are also required to finish general education courses, which aid our critical thinking and humanistic sensibilities. I do recommend the social science broad-based program, and the professors I met so far are all responsible and erudite.





The faculty of law is relatively new. You do not need to have a LLB to pursue a LLM, which is special. The taught programme is great for mature students who want to obtain legal knowledge. CUHK has good teaching staff too.




Amazing Campus and Great Educational Environment

Not only is CUHK's main campus breathtaking, it provides for a good educational environment for students. The university is well-equipped with modern and up-to-date facilities to help students with their study. We have 8 libraries in total around the campus; one for media, one for architectural studies, the medical library and the law library. The Professors are always helpful and are happy to talk to students when needed. Moreover, the college system within the university brings forth the uniqueness of CUHK. Each student belongs to a different college, and in that students are able to meet different peoples from different countries and students from different faculties. I think CUHK provides for a well-rounded university life for all students.





One of the most down to earth places in HK. A great opportunity to learn and embody the local culture. Also had one the most beautiful campus in Hong Kong up on the hillside. Glad to have graduated here.




Innovative and Supportive

My university provided me with all the support I needed, and encouraged me to be up to date with all the new developments in the world. They also provided me with the incentive to excel at what I do, and they take much pride in my achievements. I have had a very rewarding university experience.




Small, New But Friendly Law School

To being with, I think the campus of CUHK is the best and the biggest in Hong Kong, with fresh air and trees everywhere. I am an undergraduate Law student at CUHK and I think the teaching here is great, with very friendly and nice professors and the new Lee Shau Kee Building. In terms of the courses offered by CUHK, as one of the largest universities in Hong Kong, CUHK is an all-rounded university, offering a wide range of courses to students. Students may take the introductory courses of discipline other than their own major, or even declare a minor. For law electives, due to the small amount of intake, the variety of law electives are not that huge. However, the Faculty is offering some international programmes, which can be treated as law electives, but at the same time, provide us with an opportunity to travel and know more about the legal system of another country. The career support from the Faculty of Law is also amazing. The Faculty will organise CV Sessions and talks on how to get an internship from law firms or mini-pupillage from barrister's chambers. Each student will also have a Distinguished Professional Mentor, which is a current legal profession, providing us with practical advices and updates of the legal field. Finally, from my personal experience, I think the students in CUHK are friendly and genuine. As Law students, competition is inevitable for grades, GPAs, vacation schemes and training contract. However, I think the competition in CUHK Law School is a positive one, in a sense that help us grow together, instead of fighting with each other no matter what. That is the biggest reason why I am having a very good time here in CUHK Law School.




A place to explore your interests

As a law graduate from CUHK (both undergrad and post-grad), I realise that I had many opportunities to explore my areas of interests (legal and non-legal both). The faculty/university requires us to take a certain number of non-law electives, and offers a plethora of courses to choose from. Personally, I took 3 modules in Korean --I can't say it's made me highly proficient, but it's definitely given me a good foundation (I can walk into a Korean restaurant and confidently order food, at the very least). The fact that language courses are offered also provides students who are more financially constrained an opportunity to learn a language without having to shell out a premium for a decent language course. On top of that, we have a range of law electives as well. I know of classmates who have developed lasting interest in different areas of law because of the electives they took in school. The two electives that I would say have changed me is (i) mooting and (ii) family law. I think my experience in an international commercial arbitration moot competition has helped tremendously in formulating legal arguments and legal writing. On the other hand, taking a family law elective has made me very interested in the family law practice, especially in terms of child rights. For these experiences which I have gained, I'm grateful for the opportunities provided by the school. One main issue most students I know have is with the way our GPA is calculated and the lack of transparency in terms of how the honours system works. As our GPA is marked on a curve. it's highly unrepresentative of what we have achieved as individuals. Given that our GPA is the only criteria that is looked at when we apply for the compulsory post-graduate law course (mandatory should we want to practise law and/or be trainees in Hong Kong), it will put our own students at a distinct disadvantage when we compete for limited spaces with students from schools where GPA is not on a bell curve.




On Campus

Valuable time in CUHK

I like the learning environment and people at CUHK. Surrounded by hills and Tolo Harbour, CUHK provides a balance between nature and hustle. You can always escape from the busy study life and meet your friend around the big campus for different activities.