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Ready for challenges

Published on Friday, 03 Aug 2012
Amos Yung says MBA studies have broadened his outlook on business strategies and boosted his skills.
Photo: Nora Tam

The Student

Sometimes one’s job does not exactly fit one’s academic training. Take Amos Yung Hing-wah. In 1998, after finishing his bachelor of social science degree in East Asian studies – which covered sociology, economics and public administration – he found a job with a Hong Kong company that outsources houseware and designer items in the mainland for European customers.

Fourteen years later, eager and ready to expand his horizons, Yung, now a director of corporate development, has enrolled in a part-time MBA programme at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). The decision seemed right, as Yung ended up on the dean’s honour list in the first year of his MBA studies. Expecting to graduate this year, he is ready for new challenges and changes.

Why did you opt for an MBA?
When I was promoted to my current position in the company, I discovered that further studies in business administration, and learning the skills to form strategies in the rapidly changing business environment, are essential. MBA programmes provide rich resources in business cases and strategic insights that can broaden my perspective on business strategies and enrich my skills in systematic analysis and entrepreneurship.

Why did you choose HKU?
Most students take up an MBA to acquire practical knowledge and extend their personal and professional network. HKU has a heritage of 100 years and boasts a strong alumni network and reputation in both the academic and business communities, which can be a major asset in extending one’s network.

The high reputation of its faculty was also a factor in my choice. HKU has been the training ground for many economists and members of the business elite. Also, its top students are now leaders in different professions worldwide.

Besides the strong position of HKU and its Faculty of Business and Economics, the partnerships the HKU MBA has with the London Business School and the Columbia Business School are also important to me.

Are you funding your own studies?
Yes, I am self-financing.

How do you balance the demands of your job and your studies?
My duty in the company is to explore business opportunities, instead of being in a clerical or management post with an intensive workload, so I’ve been able to handle my workload. Of course, my daily life now involves studying overnight and working late to meet my coursework deadlines.

What are the major challenges of your MBA studies?
A good MBA programme aims to enlighten students on the different aspects of business operations, strategy formation and execution, so all modules are highly intensive and different from each other. Each module will have 40 hours of teaching, coursework, presentation and examination. It demands a 100 per cent focus on that particular aspect of business administration. We can have financial training one week and law lessons the week after. Sometimes it is not easy to shift our mindset in such a short period of time.

Are you getting any kind of support?
My office colleagues and boss are very supportive of my studies. They have helped ease my workload.

Classmates are also critical to the success of my studies. One of the merits of an MBA programme is that it provides a platform for students from different industries and with varied on-the-field business experiences to share, exchange, question and explore knowledge in our respective sectors. Where else can you find a place to meet and learn from such a variety of business professionals?

HKU MBA professors are very supportive and “talkative”. They have been in their fields for decades and have met many business leaders to share and learn various views on contemporary business issues and tactics. In a way, our professors are “walking libraries”, just waiting for students to ask the right questions.
How do you expect your MBA to help you with your career or personal life?
Originally, I wanted to take an MBA programme to enhance my skills to help manage the company, but now I have a broader view of business and I think I am ready to lead the company to grab opportunities in the new digital age. In the future, I hope I can have the chance to give lectures at business schools and contribute towards enlightening future business leaders.

With regards to the impact on my personal life, although I have already studied at least 20 courses in my MBA programme, I find myself still hungry for knowledge. My MBA studies have not only broadened my perspective – I have also realised I still have room for improvement. So I may continue my studies after finishing my MBA.

How do you see yourself five years down the road?
That’s a tough question. The world is changing so fast that no one can even foresee what will happen in the next few months. Frankly, I am ready to face challenges and changes, but I’m not actively looking for them.

In any case, I will participate in the full-time MBA programme’s mentorship scheme in the coming academic year. I am excited and ready to guide my mentees and help them find their direction in both their career and personal lives. In three to five years, I may pursue a PhD and take the chance – if available – to become a part-time lecturer at the university. Or I can be a government consultant and recommend suitable public policies – fingers crossed.

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