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Fashioning a fitting career

Published on Friday, 11 May 2012
Louis Li

Hoping to improve himself and his career prospects, Louis Li decided to become a part-time MBA student while keeping his dream job. Despite his tight schedule, Li wouldn’t have it any other way.

After graduating from the Sha Tin Government Secondary School, Li studied at the University of Hong Kong, majoring in economics and finance.

Having been working as a supply-chain assistant manager at a famous European luxury house for five years, Li has been able to pursue his passion – see beautiful clothes up close – while meeting key players in the fashion industry.

Li expects to finish his part-time MBA course at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Business School in August this year.

Why did you decide on an MBA?
As the area of my work is in supply chain, I think having an MBA will help me develop my career. It will definitely give me the business sense and knowledge needed in managing a fashion business.

Besides, I am now 31 years old. With nine years’ work experience, it’s time for me to acquire new business knowledge from the MBA and apply them to my job. Also, it’s good that I’m doing the MBA before I get too preoccupied with my job and family.

Why did you choose HKUST?
The MBA ranking of HKUST has always been quite high internationally, and this is one of the main reasons behind my decision. Having an MBA from a top university will definitely help me in pursuing my goal.

The HKUST MBA course is quite demanding, but I believe it will be rewarding. It puts great emphasis on case studies and discussions. So the more you get involved in the discussions, the more you gain from the course, I really like the stimulating learning atmosphere.

Are you funding your won studies or is your company subsidising the costs?
My employer pays for my tuition.

How do you balance the demands of your job and your studies?
It is absolutely important to have good planning and good time management. I usually select the courses strategically and try to fit the study time in my work schedule three months ahead.
And, of course, you have to give up something to have more time for your projects and assignments. For me, I now spend much less time with my friends, but I have also learned to use my time much more wisely. It’s also very important to give yourself enough time to rest to help you cope with the demanding and busy schedule.

What are the major challenges?
Undoubtedly, it’s the allocation of time. Since I am a part-time student and work full time, my schedule and plans can always be disrupted by overtime work or business travel. So I usually take my laptop with me and finish any assignment during my flight.

Are you getting any kind of support from others?
I do get a lot of support from my office colleagues, employer and classmates. From December last year to April this year, I went to a business school in Paris to be an exchange student. And I was so thankful that my colleagues took over my tasks with no complaints when I was away. I am also very grateful that my class teammates took down notes for me when I was out of Hong Kong on a business trip.

How do you expect your MBA to help you with your career or personal life?
Hopefully, my studies can help me improve my work – or even help me get promoted. Besides, as international mobility is also one of my goals, I hope my MBA can help me achieve my goal. Personally, I hope the course can help me meet more people with different backgrounds, so that I can expand my social network.

How do you see yourself after graduation?
I hope to become a more sophisticated and mature person, more presentable and have better analytical skills and business sense. I am sure all these can help me improve my work performance.

In fact, I think the MBA has helped me a lot when it comes to personal growth. For example, I write better e-mail now compared with two years ago. Also, I have learned the importance of having a wider vision, being more open-minded in learning about other people and cultures, being more flexible in accepting changes, and having better time management. Three to five years down the road, I hope to have the chance to get involved in senior management.

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