Student Stories


From Consumer Goods to Banking – Michael Han


Class of 2017 (China)
Pre-MBA: Senior National Client Manager, Procter & Gamble (China)
Post-MBA: Private Wealth Advisor (China)

Michael used to work at Procter & Gamble as a Senior Customer Manager. He was elected as the leader of the HKUST MBA China Club. Here he shares his experience as a Chinese working with his multicultural teammates to organize the Mid-Autumn Festival party for the class.

About the China Club

It was a great honor to be the president of the China Club in such a diverse class, where there are around 100 students from 28 countries, speaking 30 different languages. With 80 of them coming from outside China, the majority of the class is definitely interested to know more about this country.

In early September, our class went on a local trip to Sai Kung, a famous tourist spot in Hong Kong featuring a lot of seafood restaurants, beautiful islands and beaches

So how can we offer them more experience on China? We – 12 students from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, U.S., Spain, Canada and Brazil – set up the China Club as a bridge between different cultures in the class so that our classmates can better understand and experience different aspects of this rising economic powerhouse.

A cross-cultural party

The Mid-Autumn Festival was our first opportunity to share the Chinese culture with the class. But a series of challenges surfaced as soon as we started planning for this event.

How could we create an activity which could cater to a group of audience with such different cultural backgrounds and interests? How to choose what to focus on so that the 1.5 hour party could provide students with a better understanding of China and be fun at the same time?…

The China Club needed to come up with games and entertainments which would be enjoyed by different students in the class

That was when the multicultural aspect of our team came into play. Some of us knew the traditions in this festival and others contributed by sharing a foreigner’s perspective. We did a class survey as well to better grasp our classmates’ interests hoping that everybody could enjoy the party.

Working with difference

To represent the diversity of the China Club, we had a guy from China (me) and a beautiful Spanish lady (our club’s VP) as the MCs of the event. Everything went perfect until I tried to prepare the MC script with her, which she refused.

My partner preferred to do it free-style without any script because she thought it would be more interesting, flexible and casual. But I firmly believed that a script was a must-have since it could enhance the cooperation between two MCs.

Working with somebody totally different from you can teach you different approaches to achieving results

Both of us tried to persuade each other, but neither succeeded. In the end, we came to a compromise that we would prepare the script and practice the lines for the opening only and just follow our heart and go with the flow afterwards.

The HKUST learning experience

This strategy turned out to be quite successful. With a formal and well-rehearsed opening, we captured the attention from all the students. And then we made everyone feel right at home by sharing the joy of the festival with them in a casual and heartfelt demeanor.

After the event, I showed my appreciation to my MC partner for bringing me the most relaxing and enjoyable MC experience I have ever had. And she also pointed out that our fluent cooperation at the start made her felt more confident to deliver better performance afterwards.

My team in the Residential Program, with members from U.S., Korea, Norway, Thailand and China (me). We need to work together a lot throughout the program

Such is a common experience at HKUST, where we need to share ideas, learn and improve with the diverse, talented and amiable classmates from around the world every day. I am sure every student in the future will come to appreciate this aspect of the MBA life here as well.

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