From managing our money to communicating with friends, technology has worked its way into every facet of our lives. By 2025, Gartner predicts, over 14.2 billion devices will be connected to the internet of things. In this changing landscape, jobs in data analytics and consulting with a tech-focus are more important than ever.
For professionals hoping to keep up, knowing how to create an implement workable tech strategies is vital.
That’s what Shweta Agrawal learned when she set out on the Master’s in Information Systems Management (MScISM) at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).
Having completed her bachelor’s degree in computer science, Shweta began her career working with Deloitte in India, carrying out data analysis for auditing purposes.
Although she enjoyed this highly technical work, she felt unequipped to handle the managerial responsibilities that were starting to come her way. That’s when Shweta decided that business school could help.
After graduating from her master’s at HKUST, she rejoined Deloitte in Hong Kong as a consultant, before using her newfound skills to land a global strategy role with tech services firm, Gartner.
Beyond the comfort zone
For Shweta, embarking on the MScISM program at HKUST was an easy choice. The program is designed to teach professionals how they can implement new technologies into their business.
This curriculum meshed well with her background and ambitions. “I wanted to understand the new technologies coming up,” she explains, “and I wanted to know how they can be used most effectively.”
Most of Shweta’s peers moved to the US for further study, but she found herself drawn to Hong Kong’s growing job market and innovative tech landscape—home to accelerators like the FinTech Innovation Lab and SuperCharger.
“It was out of my comfort zone, however” she reflects. Joining the classes of around 45% international students, though, Shweta found a supportive atmosphere that helped her build a network in the region fast.
From the very beginning of her studies at HKUST, Shweta learned that technology is constantly changing.
“New technology is coming up every day, and you need to work out how to evolve with it,” she explains.
As a young and fast-growing university, HKUST is uniquely positioned to keep an eye on these developments, Shweta believes.
Throughout the MSc in Information Systems Management (MScISM) program, guest speakers from tech giants like Huawei, Microsoft, and BlackBerry come on-campus to give lectures and network with students, helping them keep a finger on the pulse of tech developments.
“To manage technology well, you have to be aware of emerging technology opportunities,” says Shweta.
Storytelling with data
Through core modules such as Project Management and Information Strategy & Management, Shweta was able to develop a consistent framework for implementing these new technologies.
In each class, real world case studies and open discussions helped her to understand how new tech strategies play out in businesses.
From these experiences, interpreting data emerged as the most important tool for business decision making. “We learned how to use data to tell a story. That’s something that helps me even now when I work,” Shweta reflects.
At Gartner, Shweta works on initiatives to improve client retention. To do this, she needs to interpret large data sets—a skill she honed at during her MSc, she says.
Along with these practical insights, Shweta’s time at HKUST gave her a chance to develop some crucial soft skills.
Immersed in diverse classes, she practiced working with people from many different cultures and professional backgrounds. “I never realized how culture affects the professional world,” she says. “Understanding culture helps you understand how different people strategize.”
This ability is important to her current role with Gartner, Shweta notes. Building relationships is a significant part of her role, as she works on cross-departmental and cross-cultural strategies.
Being able to build relationships also helped Shweta to find her role initially. “Hong Kong is a really tight-knit community—everyone knows everyone,” she explains.
When it was time to move on from Deloitte and find a new challenge, she was able to reach out to the network she’d built at business school. After a few conversations, Shweta was put in touch with a member of Gartner’s HR team, which soon led to a job offer.
Equipped with useful skills and a strong network, Shweta feels confident in her new role—and confident about the future.
“I would say I have learned to embrace change,” she says. “I used to be someone confined in one field, but now my thinking has evolved and I’m open to everything.”