East beats West
With Europe in the doldrums, Martin Hermanowski chose Asia and HKU for his MBA
After studying computer science and law in his native Germany, Martin Hermanowski worked for five years at Accenture as an IT consultant in financial services. Following projects in Germany, Switzerland and the Philippines, he decided he wanted to boost his exposure to Asia, so he enrolled on the 14-month, full-time MBA programme at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
What prompted you to pursue an MBA in Asia?
I plan to move into the business side of banking and looking at the economic situation in Europe compared to Asia, I’m very sure that the economy will perform better in Asia over the next five or 10 years. That’s why I want to significantly increase my exposure here.
Why did you choose Hong Kong and HKU?
I chose HKU because of its strong connections to China and the opportunity to do part of my studies in Shanghai at Fudan University. Its high ranking also convinced me of the quality of the school. I chose to study in Hong Kong instead of China because Hong Kong is an easier place to get around, and the classes at HKU are much more international than at business schools in China. Since I’m on the MBA programme’s China stream, I will also study for three to four months in Shanghai, so I will still get China exposure there.
Are you funding your own studies?
How have your full-time studies affected your social life?
The workload is high, but Hong Kong is quite convenient if you want to find some opportunities to spend time with your classmates and friends. All of us went to Beijing for a month of cultural studies, during which time we all got to know each other well. When we came to Hong Kong, we organised a boat trip off Clear Water Bay.
What are the major challenges of your MBA studies?
The major challenges are time management, organising group activities and using cultural differences to your advantage.
What kind of support are you getting?
It’s amazing how helpful everyone has been. My classmates, professors and the MBA staff have all been very helpful. When preparing to leave Germany for Hong Kong, I also got a lot of support from my coworkers and my parents. Back in Germany, some of my colleagues had done or were doing MBAs and they gave me lots of hints about what was important. With my classmates here in Hong Kong, we often organise study groups when we prepare for exams.
How do you expect your MBA to help with your career?
I think the most important things I will get out of the MBA will be the experience in the region, the ability to work in different cultures, and the network I will build with my fellow students. I am also getting a better understanding of the job market in both Hong Kong and China because HKU’s Career Development Office organises a lot of company talks. Learning to speak Mandarin should also help me both personally and professionally as I plan to stay in the region for several years.
Where do you see yourself after graduation?
I plan to work in the region – Hong Kong, Shanghai, or Singapore – for at least a few years. I plan to rejoin the financial services industry on the business side, and hold an appropriate senior management position in the long run.