Student Stories


A geographical and functional switch – Ken Shek

Class of 2013 (Canada)
Pre-MBA: Product Planner, Blackberry (Canada)
Post-MBA: Account Manager, Channel Partners, Apple (Singapore)

“The MBA also served as a platform for connecting with recruiters like my current company, Apple…”

1. Why did you join HKUST MBA?

I was previously in a technical position at Blackberry. I knew that if I continued along that career path it would lead me to a technical leadership role, which would have been great. But I found that my strengths aligned more with sales and client services. So I decided to do an MBA to reposition myself functionally and pursue a strategic, client-interfacing position in the same industry.

I also wanted to be in a growth market, and was attracted to Asia. HKUST was my top choice due to its location in Hong Kong, which is uniquely positioned to offer an easier West–East transition. It is also the most globally recognized school in Asia, so if I return to the West in the future, its brand name will also help me there.

2. What did you get from the program?

The professors were great. Professor Cassian Cheung, the former CEO of Wal-Mart China, taught me a lot about Asian leadership with Western influences, which is shifting the world right now. The MBA also served as a platform for connecting with recruiters like my current company, Apple.

I was coordinating the Singapore career trek for my class and a friend from my undergraduate university passed me contact information of people at Apple Singapore. After our visit there, I was recognized for leading the trip and Apple approached me about my current position.

3. What advice would you give to those who want to make a similar career switch?

Know your skillset and edge, and find out what roles interest you and let you to tap into your strengths. Then you can think about your future path – what companies you want to work for and how you can add value to them.

After that, the key is to be very focused. Have a vision of where you want to be and create a road map for how to get there. Focus on networking and applying to jobs, guided by the map.

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