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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2008-2020
Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2020, among Top 20 Programs
HKUST MBA Employment Results 2019
HKUST MBA Employment Results 2019