Shawn Zhuge, a student enrolled in HKUST’s Part-Time MBA Program (Bi-Weekly Mode) in 2019, a senior product manager at Roche Diagnostics.
Hong Kong, a cosmopolitan city where East meets West, is steeped in the history of Chinese culture, but also boasts Western-style rationality and independence. The city is a mix of modern and ancient, where everyone is kindly accepted and can find his or her place. This is the greatest charm of Hong Kong.
Shawn studied medicine overseas before coming to HKUST. However, the unique Hong Kong-style MBA program, which blends Chinese and Western educational concepts, appealed to him. Shawn hopes that studying at HKUST will enable him to stay one step ahead while broadening his knowledge.
Get a head start and break career bottlenecks
As a medical student who had to commit to a relatively long period of study, Shawn entered the workforce later than his peers. However, having worked his way up in Fortune 500 companies such as Medtronic, Novartis, and Roche, he not only excelled in his profession but also managed to maintain an upward career trajectory.
A medical background is often equated with a career path as a “technologist,” but Shawn does not want to be confined to that. He desires to “challenge himself and broaden his career path.”
“I’m the kind of guy who likes to make preparations and doesn’t want to be caught flatfooted by a problem. To me, being defined as a pure ‘techie’ can be a bottleneck, as it will likely prevent me from doing strategic work. I need to challenge myself through learning so that I can avoid future bottlenecks as much as possible.”
Shawn studied in the U.S with a full scholarship. He is used to making calm, sensible, and prudent decisions in life. The main reason he decided to study for a part-time MBA at HKUST was that the “specialized and international” program was a good match for him.
“HKUST’s MBA program is among the best in the world. It is strict with student admission, taking into account multiple aspects such as background and work experience. This meets my demand for mutual learning and exchange with experienced students.”
Shawn spent almost a year preparing for the GMAT exam and application for the part-time MBA program at HKUST, which was “the best match for him in the Asia-Pacific region.” During this process, he formed a clearer plan for his personal growth. This profound self-analysis helped him pass the interview and obtain an MBA offer from HKUST.
Learning from different disciplines breaks down barriers to thinking
Studying for an MBA meant that Shawn had to build a new knowledge framework and apply the theoretical knowledge he learned to his career plan. “In fact, there are not many intersections between medicine and finance. The financial knowledge I had acquired from my company training was rather superficial. I had difficulties at the beginning of my MBA study.”
Shifting from medical to financial thinking in a short time can be nerve-wracking, but Shawn was not alone in his struggle. Many of his classmates had financial and consulting backgrounds. Impressed by the diversity of MBA students at HKUST, Shawn was confident in his upcoming studies.
MBA students at HKUST are from diverse sectors, which is especially evident in their industry experience-sharing activities. Shawn worked for Novartis, which received the first-ever FDA approval for CAR-T therapy. He was invited to introduce targeted tumor therapy and some cutting-edge biomedical technologies, and share his views on topics such as the establishment of HKUST’s Institute of Synthetic Biology.
“The MBA program at HKUST boasts highly applied courses that highlight the integration of theory and practice. Students from different backgrounds can learn from and promote each other.” Shawn was most impressed by class discussions, where everyone would share their unique views on issues in various industries. For example, those with a Hong Kong Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certificate would comb through important knowledge points before class to help others understand complex business concepts and gain a multidimensional perspective.
“Finance students may take a year or two to complete the finance course, but we must complete it in one or two months,” said Shawn. The professors always explain complex concepts in simple terms. That is one of the reasons why he managed to make it through the course, apart from his diligence. “Quick and efficient learning is a test for both teachers and students. I am glad that I passed this test and I am grateful to the professors at HKUST for coaching us in all aspects.”
Moving forward to a wonderful future
Studying for an MBA opens up more career options. Shawn wants to link his career with his passion. He chooses to stay in the medical field. The MBA program will give him a deeper understanding and foresight of the rapidly evolving medical industry.
“AI is exerting increasingly evident influence on healthcare, especially in the industry chain. Opportunities come with challenges. I think at this stage, traditional knowledge and skills can no longer meet the future development needs of the industry, and learning a new discipline can not only broaden my thinking but also help me gain a head start in exploring the possibilities of combining smart wearable devices with 5G networks, big data, and cloud computing, and applying gene sequencing to medical imaging for clinical diagnosis.”
Learning requires a lot of time and effort, however this does not stop Shawn from living a quality life. He often shares the latest developments in biomedicine with his classmates. After class, they visit the fishing village near HKUST to enjoy seafood. He works out two to three times a week and finds time to cook for his family.
The joys of life and growth are what Shawn pursues. Now, he has defined his future career track and gradually broadened his ideas for further development. In the second half of his study, Shawn will focus on more in-depth observations and reflections. He expects a rich learning experience at HKUST.