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Akhil landed an internship with support from the HKUST MBA career office, which was converted into a full-time job offer. Now working at the regional headquarters of Methanex, one of the world's largest chemicals corporations, Akhil shares why he chose Hong Kong to do an MBA and how the journey prepared him for his new role as the Regional Supply Chain Manager of APAC. 


Akhil Nair (Class of 2019) 

Pre-MBA: Operations Manager (Second Officer), Anglo Eastern
Internship: MBA Summer Intern – Corporate Development & Strategy, Methanex Corporation
Post-MBA: Regional Supply Chain Manager (Asia Pacific), Methanex Corporation
Current Location: Hong Kong

1. Why did you decide to do an MBA at HKUST and in Hong Kong?

What attracted me to HKUST was the focus on small class sizes lending to a more personal overall experience, as well as a conscious effort to maintain an internationally diverse cohort each year.

In addition, something that may not be known as obviously about the HKUST MBA program is its reliance on business case studies to deliver a substantial part of the curriculum, which was attractive to me and was my preferred mode of learning. 

There is also a strong focus on participation and excellence in business case competitions across the globe. The program and the faculty dedicate significant time and effort in creating an environment for case competition teams to thrive in—something that I feel really gives the HKUST MBA an extra edge over some of the other Asian programs. 

Having been in the shipping industry before my MBA, I was well aware that Hong Kong would be a natural choice for me to build out a career in related industries post MBA. It is also one of the great world cities and a gateway to the China market—a market that no company in any industry can ignore in this day and age.

Akhil (1st from left) and his team winning the first place at the Haskayne MBA 24 Hour Epic Case Challenge in Canada.
2. Tell us about your job after the MBA and how the MBA has helped you succeed in the role.

I am currently working with Methanex Corporation, a Canadian chemicals MNC, at their regional headquarters here in Hong Kong. I am the regional Supply Chain Manager for the Asia Pacific region, which means that I am in charge of the supply chain management and procurement function for the nine markets that Methanex serves in this region.

It is exciting for a number of reasons. Firstly, the role comes with a high level of visibility and responsibility and directly affects the bottom line for our largest global marketing region. Also, in this role I get to work and interact with various country teams and other regional functions such as marketing, sales, customer service and logistics.

“[Methanex] hires MBA students from HKUST. I would like to thank the MBA Career Office for organizing a talk for all of us who were selected to participate in the Methanex interview process.”

I believe that the skills helping me most in my current role are my communication, problem solving and influencing skills. The MBA teaches us to work in small yet impactful teams, be leaders at times and followers at others, the power of humility even when surrounded by other top performers, conflict resolution and management as well as collaboration while respecting the individual. All these aspects prepare you for management and leadership challenges in the corporate world.

Akhil with his teammates in the Experiential Learning Program—an outdoor leadership training camp to prepare students for the year ahead where they need to work with classmates from vastly different backgrounds all the time. 
3. How did you land the internship and then the full-time job at Methanex? In what ways do you think the MBA has helped?

Methanex is one of the regular recruiters every year from the MBA program. They hire MBA students from HKUST. I would like to thank the MBA Career Office for organizing a talk for all of us who were selected to participate in the Methanex interview process.

This session proved helpful in answering key questions about the way the interview process is conducted and aspects to focus on. After being selected through the presentation and interview process, I completed an eight-week internship with Methanex during the summer. 

I got the opportunity to work with the Asia Pacific Market development team on a strategic market entry study for a potential new market in the region and present my recommendation to the senior leadership in the region at the end of my project. It was a perfect way to round out my business education in Hong Kong. 

I loved the open, friendly company work culture and the one-team philosophy that everyone across the organization embodies. Furthermore, getting the opportunity to put into practice various concepts from marketing, strategic management and management consulting, learnt during the course of the MBA, was a brilliant learning opportunity. 

Key communication, presentation, problem solving and influencing skills honed during various team projects and activities in the MBA prepared me to tackle my summer internship project head on and close out my summer in an impactful way.

During the last week of my internship, I was informed of a new opening in the Supply Chain team and decided to apply for the role. I was offered the job after going through the necessary application process and completing an interview with the hiring director.

The HKUST MBA Career Office organizes recruitment talks, overseas career treks to Singapore and Shanghai, and the MBA Career Fair to connect students with recruiters face-to-face throughout the year. 
4. How is your learning experience at HKUST MBA? Can you share with us one of your favorite courses?
The Luxury Strategy course, by Professor Ketty Maisonrouge, was one of my favorite classes of the MBA program. It was one of two classes during the MBA that provided me with the opportunity to work on a live consulting project—the other one being a B2B marketing class by Professor Ruth Stevens.

The project itself was very front loaded with prep work before the class even started. What made the project even more interesting was being randomly assigned teams and getting the opportunity to work with some of the part-time MBA students. This allowed for a diverse mix of individuals in the team and encouraged healthy and rich discussions.  

The experience ended with us having to present our findings and recommendations to senior Kenzo executives, with the real possibility of future consideration and implementation. This made the entire process worth it in the end and justified the time and effort dedicated to the project.
As a global business hub and one of the top three financial centers, Hong Kong is an ideal location to do an MBA. It is also very easy for non-local students to obtain a valid visa to work here after graduation. 
5. Why do you think people should consider an MBA in Hong Kong? 

My advice to any international student: looking at a world class MBA means you must seriously consider Asia as your destination. Being in the Asian century and with the global shift in power from West to East, any professional today with a long term view would want to be associated with businesses in Asia at some point in their careers.

The schools here may be younger than others in the west, but that makes them hungrier for success and never resting on their laurels. They are growing and improving in leaps and bounds and catching up with competitors several decades their seniors.

“Working in a world city like Hong Kong, you definitely get the feeling that you are playing in the big leagues now." 

As an added benefit, the Hong Kong government makes it very easy to obtain a work permit after postgraduate studies here. Successful graduates get an IANG visa which allows them to stay and work in Hong Kong for up to a year after graduation, with further extensions being granted based on employment status at the time of renewal. This is quite different from what we see in a lot of other countries around the world today, with MBA graduates under pressure to accept offers with looming immigration deadlines.

Working in a world city like Hong Kong, you definitely get the feeling that you are playing in the big leagues now. You cannot help but feel like it is akin to being on an economic, financial, and information super highway, with any opportunity in the world within grasp. 

On a more personal note, what people don’t realize about Hong Kong is that besides the hustle bustle and tall skyscrapers, there are a lot of outdoor options on the weekends for residents to explore. During the MBA, I got interested in hiking outdoors. Also being a total foodie myself, I can never run out of new bars and restaurants to check out in this megalopolis. 

As Anthony Robbins once put it, “The only impossible journey is the one you never begin”. So get started and think about your journeys today.

You can complete the HKUST MBA program, including both internship and exchange options, within just 16 months. An accelerated 12-month program is also available. This allows you to return to the workforce as soon as possible and save opportunity costs. 

Quick Facts About HKUST MBA

World's Top 20 MBA

Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2008-2020

No.4 in Career Progress 

Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2020, among Top 20 Programs

95% Employed in Asia Post-MBA

HKUST MBA Employment Results 2019

91% 3-month Employment Rate

HKUST MBA Employment Results 2019

Study in Hong Kong

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  • A Top Study Destination - One of the safest locations in the world, Hong Kong boasts excellent infrastructure, healthcare and transportation systems and a 24/7 character so you will never be bored



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