Student Stories


Sean (Soo-Young) Jeong - Don't be Defined by the Name of Your MBA

Class of 2015 (Korea)
Pre-MBA: Corporate Brand Communications Manager, KB Kookmin Card (Korea)
Post-MBA: Channel Support Account Manager, Apple (Singapore)

1. When you were thinking of doing an MBA, how did you end up choosing HKUST?

When I first researched about business schools, HKUST was actually not in my list. I was quite fixated on the idea of studying in the United States and applied to only renowned B-schools in the US. Results that year were not great, and this ultimately helped me to take a step back, rethink my reasons about pursuing an MBA objectively and broaden the options that I had limited to.

I began to look into the schools in Asia where my roots were and came up with a list of a few business schools that I wanted to apply in Hong Kong and Singapore. During the final stage of decision making, geographical benefits and MBA rankings played a critical role for me to join HKUST MBA.

2. How would you comment about the students’ relationships with one another?

HKUST MBA is all about small-sized class, which provides a strong sense of unity and bonding but still fosters diversity. I spent one semester in London Business School on exchange, I do understand that being a member of large-scale class gives you a broader network and more opportunities but less in-depth interaction with other students. On the other hand, HKUST MBA has its own culture of being a tight-knit community and provides an environment for intensive interactions with other students without compromising its quality opportunities. I’ve certainly made some good friends who will be lifetime mentors and counselors to me.

3. What were your post-MBA plans before you started in HK? How has HKUST helped you realize those plans? (E.g. classes, events, learning from classmates, club events, etc.)

My original plan was to join a consulting firm. The school provided a set of solid training sessions and plenty of job opportunities in the consulting field, but I was not able to land an internship opportunity in the top consulting firms. While pondering about my next step, the career center kept providing me with a list of quality opportunities that I couldn't miss out on. Applying to multiple companies actually helped me to think through what I wanted, valued and guided me to decide where I wanted to be after graduation, which is my current company. I would like to thank to the career center again for providing continuous and dedicated support!

4. What are some things you learned during your MBA that you can still recall and practice in your role at Apple?

Apart from all those comprehensive financial models, what I still recall to date is the first course I had during my MBA program – the Experiential Learning Program (ELP), which is where teams of five to six all from different background learn to collaborate and perform over the course of three days. It was a very intensive program putting everyone in a new and challenging environment, throwing us into the deep end, but it taught me how to initiate, lead and solve a problem with others. After I joined Apple, every new task or project has been in a similar setting, so recalling my learning from ELP has helped me to perform in my position.

5. What advice would you give other Korean prospect candidates who are thinking of doing an MBA?

There are multiple decisions to think through before pursuing an MBA, from the basics of whether to do an MBA or not to which MBA program to join. If you are exploring the idea of doing an MBA, you must give yourself plenty of time to think hard and deep whether it is the experience and journey that will help to propel both your professional and personal development. You need to spend time researching about schools, talking to alumni, current students, and even researching about future employers. There is no doubt that doing an MBA is a huge investment not just in monetary terms, but certainly on your life. Lastly, I would like to highlight that a successful MBA journey is not defined by the name of a school but by oneself.