Academic Background

Alexis Zhou, Intake 2020

Study Mode
Part-time MBA (Bi-weekly Mode)
Student Nationality
Alexis Zhou

Alexis Zhou, who enrolled in the HKUST Part-Time MBA Program (Bi-Weekly Mode) in 2020, is currently Strategic account manager of Lynk Global 
Alexis never rests on her laurels. After she graduated from university, she enrolled in the Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program at the University of Florida, one of the top five universities in the U.S. After completing her Master’s degree, she decided to transfer from account management to marketing and take on the challenge of leading a team. Besides being a marketing professional, she is a part-time entrepreneur. “I’m a person who doesn’t want to be restricted,” said Alexis when she joined Lynk Global. Alexis always gives her all in life. In her view, life requires imagination and the only way to stay passionate and progress further is to constantly create something new.
A way to invigorate herself: Never stop taking on new challenges
In 2018, Alexis decided to switch jobs. She had worked at the Hong Kong branch of GLG, a multinational consulting firm for four years, during which she had progressed up the career ladder from being a consultant to a senior account manager. She had a clear career path ahead of her in client service. However Alexis was not content with that, she wanted to broaden her horizons and tackle new challenges. 
“I wanted to hunt for new clients myself instead of waiting for someone else to assign client contracts for me to serve,” said Alexis with a twinkle in her eye. She left GLG Hong Kong and joined the marketing team of the publicly traded Lynk Group.
To Alexis, marketing is an area which is more exciting than client service. She enjoys the feeling of accomplishment when she lands a new client, the nervousness about the possibility that a promising deal may fall through at the last moment, and control of the project pace. The availability of new information and the fast paced and ever-changing market gets her adrenaline pumping and keeps her entertained. 
During her maternity leave in 2015, Alexis started a small business selling edible bird’s nest products. This business has been running steadily over the years. Alexis handles almost all of the sales work. She spends a lot of her spare time with customers in dessert shops and beauty salons, but she does not mind and enjoys doing it.  
For Alexis, a life set in stone is more unacceptable than the ups and downs that challenging the unknown can bring. She hopes to see a small change or advancement in her life every year or two. This is the reason why she moved from client service to marketing and started her own business while working her way up the career ladder. This is also the reason she applied for an MBA program to invigorate herself in her career aspirations.
Studying at HKUST to turn weakness into strength
Six years after returning from the U.S. to Hong Kong, Alexis felt that it was time to move forward with her plan to invigorate herself. Despite holding a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship from the University of Florida, Alexis felt that there were limitations to her knowledge at work. That particular degree would have been more helpful for students who have a family business to inherit or want to start their own business. However, for Alexis’s job, she needed more knowledge in finance, marketing, management, and the latest trends in the global economy.
Alexis only settles for the best. Among the MBA programs on offer in Hong Kong, she only applied for the one offered by HKUST. If she had been rejected, she would have considered universities in other countries or regions. 
To Alexis, the most attractive part of the HKUST MBA program is its technology-related courses. With artificial intelligence and 5G being written into the State Council’s government work report, technology development has been elevated into the national strategy. Industries such as the Internet, new materials, integrated circuits, and biopharmaceuticals are emerging and presenting countless opportunities.
Located in Hong Kong, a city full of advanced ideas and cutting-edge technologies, HKUST offers MBA students a wide range of elective courses, from data analytics and technology consulting to programming and AI. “Perhaps, these courses will boost my future career,” said Alexis. 
In addition, the core curriculum is helping Alexis to overcome her weaknesses in financial reporting, macroeconomics, organizational structure, and data analysis. The professors not only excel at teaching but also strive to make the class a platform for integrating knowledge and skills, and how to apply them to business practices. Alexis dives headfirst into this new knowledge and quickly puts it to use in her work. “I just finished a course last week and I can use it the next week.” She shows her strategic thinking skills when communicating with her superiors and hits the nail on the head when giving advice to her subordinates. Her practical work experience also tests and supplements her classroom knowledge, thus helping her develop multi-dimensional business concepts.
Living life without hesitation
The spring semester in 2020 turned out to be a pleasant surprise for Alexis. The MBA program moved fully online because of COVID-19 and compared with face-to-face lectures, online classes required a higher level of concentration and learning ability. Fortunately, the professors significantly increased interactions and discussions in class to keep students focused. However, one benefit was that online learning allowed Alexis to save a 2-hour round trip drive from her home to campus, enabling her to better balance her studies with life on busy weekends. March and April 2020 were the hardest for Alexis. This was when she was about to complete two major courses, Financial Accounting and Managerial Microeconomics, and had to prepare for the final exams. 
In addition, she was under the pressure of a quarterly performance evaluation. Amid the pandemic, many contracts slowed down and there was no way to attend meetings and visit clients. Under immense pressure, Alexis could not fall asleep until 4 am, but she finally pulled through, struck a good balance between work and study, and turned in an excellent performance. “Studying for an MBA while working was a bit of a struggle. However, this struggle helped me to grow faster.” It was a bittersweet experience for Alexis. She singled out the speech of her instructor on the day she finished the Managerial Microeconomics course. 
The professor encouraged students to take the plunge while they are young. “Don’t wait, don’t hesitate, and don’t think too much, just grab the opportunity as soon as it’s in front of you.” This short speech brought tears to the eyes of many students. “Life is full of uncertainties,” Alexis said, “our plans may be interrupted by too many things, and no one can predict the future. But we should not give up easily and waste our time hesitating.” 
Alexis is confident about the future. She is determined to chase her dreams with all her might. “I want to challenge myself while I’m still young and have the energy to do so!” This is the right philosophy to go through life!