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What Does the Future Hold for MBA Candidates?: HKUST Business School Q&A

HKUST Business School faculty Q&A future of MBA by Ajalice via wikimedia commons

After a difficult year, the MBA job market is finally bouncing back.

But what does the future hold for MBA candidates and business schools?

TopMBA caught up with a spokesperson of HKUST Business School’s MBA program to find out.

How has the job market changed this year from last year?

Under the impact of the pandemic, digitalization is turbocharged. Many industries are undergoing a critical transformation to adapt to new business models.

There is an urgent priority for employers to hire business talents who can speak technical languages, or vice versa, technical specialists with profound business acumen. To cater this transition, candidates with business technology background are in higher demand.

We see a slight retraction on full-time hiring but opportunities for internships and conversion from internship to full-time role are still quite positive. We encourage MBA students to be more open-minded and remain open to different opportunities.

What is the recruitment process like at the HKUST? Would you say it’s difficult to earn a place on the MBA program?

We match each candidate with an admission advisor who will walk them through the whole process during the application. On top of the traditional procedures, candidates can also opt for online interview and video consultation, allowing more flexibility in view of current limitations.

We have introduced an instant ‘chat with ambassadors’ function on our website, candidates can obtain handy information from our admissions team, as well as to interact with current students for their advice.

We see bright candidates not only from Asia but also from other regions applying to the program.   If you are planning to apply, be ready to prepare well. We offer a wide range of scholarships for outstanding candidates, such as the Merit Scholarship, Women Award, Consulting Strategy Award, etc.

What do you look for in HKUST candidates?

The HKUST MBA has helped many bright students achieve the 3Cs – Location Change, Industry Change, and Role Change. The determination to excel, strategic planning to develop towards the desired career goal and the ability to demonstrate inclusive leadership are key.

We recommend applicants to submit application with strong application essays, good GMAT score, as well as presenting their future role and contribution to the HKUST MBA community.

At HKUST, we have a close-knit community for alumni and current students. The HKUST MBA Community Succession Scheme encourages alumni to be a referee and recommend bright candidates to study at HKUST – candidates enjoy exclusive offers, including guaranteed interview and tuition deduction. Find out more here.

What special resources does HKUST have for business school students when it comes to careers? How do you prepare them for life after graduation?

HKUST’s MBA Career & Professional Development team takes a customized approach in supporting each student’s career, including goal setting, professional training and supporting their access to job opportunities. We match each full-time MBA student with a dedicated in-house career advisor and a dedicated academic advisor who build a rapport and give the students constructive advice towards success.

According to latest job market requirements, we added new trainings such as ‘Scrum Foundation’, ‘Investment During Crisis’ class, virtual interview skill training, stress management during a crisis, and new electives, for example, ‘Behavioral Economics.’ These are a few new initiatives to help our students adapt to the new norm.

Apart from career training, we see a growing demand on employees to master digital skills.

HKUST MBA’s well-structured Business Technology & Analytics track covers most in-demand courses such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analysis, and Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Their Business Applications. The training will prepare graduates for strategic management positions in the new era, for now and in the future.

How successful are HKUST MBA graduates at landing a job after graduation? What is the success rate? And what are some of the notable companies?

91 percent of our graduates from the Class of 2019 landed a job within three months after graduation.  Over 90 percent work in Asia with 50 percent finding a job in Hong Kong. HKUST MBA graduates are also tech-ready, 34 percent landed a job in technology industry.

Recent graduates have secured jobs with companies such as Apple, Facebook, Uber, Citibank, and Schneider Electric. For current students who are open to explore internships, they have taken part-time or full-time roles with companies such as Stanley Morgan, BASF, and more.

The top five hiring industries are technology, finance, manufacturing, consulting, and FMCG.

The University also collaborates with Tencent for Fintech internship opportunities, to allow students to engage with business leaders in authentic business Fintech projects.

Why should students choose to study an MBA at HKUST?

At HKUST, we focus on Flexibility, Business Technology, and Practicality.

Flexibility

The HKUST MBA offers flexible curricula, with 70+ flexible cores and electives based on five career concentrations – Business Technology & Analytics, Consulting & Strategic Management, Finance, General Management, and Marketing. MBA students can tailor their own study strategy based on their desired career path or adjust according to the market trend. All full-time MBA students can choose between the 16-month standard mode and 12-month accelerated mode.

Business Technology

The world has witnessed a sped-up digital transformation. We cannot emphasize enough on the importance to harness the power of technology for business for the future of work. Be ready to build up the new age leadership skills through our MBA courses such as ‘Transforming Business with Artificial Intelligence’, ‘Fintech and Big Data Financial Analytics’, and more.

Practicality

Build up your skill sets through academic training, credit-bearing practicum & real-world consultancy projects, and one-to-one career coaching. Interact with industry leaders through alumni sharing panel and recruitment talks and gain practical advices from the veterans.

What do you think the future holds for the MBA?

The world has redefined the formula for success. Resilient leaders are expected to lead radical changes when unexpected situations arise. An MBA prepare leaders to acquire a holistic understanding on business strategy and operations, so that they stay agile and have greater career flexibility.

An MBA trains leaders to be generalists but with specific strength on certain focuses or industries. The innovative thinking, cross-functional collaboration and global mindset will fit the future workforce especially after the rebalancing happening globally.

Recent GMAC figures show that MBA recruitment and salaries might boost again in 2021. How confident are you in the value of the MBA in the current job market? Do you expect to see more positive trends in the upcoming months?

It is definitely an encouraging prediction; however, we expect salaries will depend on the actual market situation at that point. We truly hope that the pandemic situation will be contained globally soon. MBA is a long-term investment. Our program’s emphasis on technology and adaption to a rapidly changing requirement will enhance our graduates’ career, for now and in the future.

Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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