Christine Jue travelled half the globe for the chance to acquire a learning experience in Asia and develop a career in the region.
Born and raised in San Francisco in the US, she studied a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of California, Berkeley. After graduating, she worked in financial services for six years and made her way up to the role of administrative manager of a global financial services firm.
She left her job last year and flew to Hong Kong to start on a full-time MBA programme at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). She expects to graduate in 2013.
What prompted you to pursue an MBA?
Although I knew a long time ago that I wanted to pursue a master’s degree, I was not exactly sure the area in which I wanted to study. But after working in the financial services industry, I discovered I really enjoyed the business field, so I thought, why not do an MBA? This would not only expand my education, but also help me grow personally and professionally.
Why did you choose HKU?
At my previous firm, I worked in the international division and was exposed to the Asian market. From this experience, I really saw myself working in Asia someday. When it became time to apply for MBA programmes, I realised there would not be a better opportunity to start planning my path to a career in Asia.
I chose HKU because I knew I would be taught by well-experienced experts on the Asia economy and business environment. I also would have classmates from around the world and be able to network with Asia-based executives and professionals. I was sure that the HKU MBA experience would be more rewarding than something back in the US.
Also, although there are many prestigious universities in the US, I chose to pursue an MBA in Hong Kong because I felt that would give me the foundation to be successful in pursuing a career in the region. I see my studies at HKU as an opportunity to help me build up my Asia network, something which I would not have been able to do in the US.
Lastly, the HKU MBA is ranked number one in Asia and is located in one of Asia’s best cities. Selecting this programme was the most logical choice.
Are you funding your own studies or is your company subsidizing the costs?
I am currently funding my own studies. As I have already left my last company, I am not receiving any subsidies from them.
If an opportunity arises, I would like to work part-time during the MBA programme to gain valuable work experience in Asia and help with the financial costs of pursuing my degree.
How have your studies affected your personal life?
I travelled halfway around the world to pursue this MBA. I don’t have my friends or family here. For me, this is an entirely different place, experience and environment that has completely changed my personal life. It is an eye-opening experience that has completely taken me out of my comfort zone.
What are the major challenges of your MBA studies?
I have been out of school for a long time, so it has been difficult to transition back into an academic way of thinking and studying. Financially, I had become used to receiving a pay cheque every month, but now I am living off savings and having to manage my finances very closely.
Finding a balance between school and social life is also tough. I want to take in everything this amazing city has to offer, but I also have to maintain high academic standards. This is an immense task and one of the biggest challenges.
What kind of support have you been getting?
My family, friends, old office colleagues and ex-bosses are all very supportive. They thought that studying in Asia would be a great opportunity and told me that, as I had lived in the US my entire life, why not try something different? They see that economies in Asia are booming, so they encouraged me to go while it lasts.
How do you expect your MBA to help you with your career?
I am looking for a career change. I want to switch out of the financial services field and get into business development or human resources. I believe the academic knowledge and experience gained from the MBA programme should be very helpful in building the foundation I will need to make this transition.
How about your personal life?
For my personal life, I hope this MBA will put me on the right path to a career I love. This path will hopefully eventually lead me to the happy, healthy and successful life that I want for myself.
What are your future career plans?
After a few years gaining the necessary experience, I would like to find an industry that I am passionate about to pursue a human resources management position related to employee training and development.