Student Stories


Global Networking –Benno Jaeggi


Class of 2006 (Germany)
Pre-MBA: Project Manager, Holcim Ltd (Germany) 
Post-MBA: Business Manager, Institutional & Corporate Banking Asia, ABN AMRO (Hong Kong)
Current: Executive Director, Business Execution, Global Markets, ANZ (Hong Kong)

Originally from Switzerland and educated at the University of St Gallen, Benno worked in more than 20 countries prior to his HKUST MBA. He went on exchange to Columbia University, New York.

Why US?

I saw it as a way to close a gap in my cultural experience – my personal map. I was brought up in Europe and have had extensive work experience in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. I really, really wanted to go to New York. In addition, Columbia is a highly ranked school and I was keen to test myself in this environment.

How’s New York?

I loved the city. It was fantastic, both in its setting and as a base for traveling. There is a global element to New York that not many other cities in the world have and I found this very enjoyable. What’s more, all your HKUST classmates will visit you as everyone wants to see New York!


Any highlight of your studies at Columbia?

Taking a fantastic course called Top Management Processes. It was taught by Prof E. Ralph Biggadike and focused on leadership, the general manager role, and how to operate on that level. It wasn’t a classic strategy course but much more hands-on – looking at the importance of how you actually lead a company.

What about socially?

Columbia is a big school and offers many opportunities to meet international students from all kinds of countries. The students I shared my university apartment with came from Serbia, Mexico, and Austria. Now, given the many people I have also met through the exchange program at HKUST, I can truly say that today I can travel the world and meet friends anywhere.


How has this global reach been important to you?

One example is my MBA internship in Iceland. This came about after I met a student from IESE Business School in Spain who was on exchange at HKUST. We got on very well and stayed in touch. He then went on to become the CFO of a rapidly expanding company in Iceland. When it was time for my internship, I asked if he knew of anything challenging and he suggested I went to work with him. It wasn’t the usual way to get an internship. There was no interview or recruiting process. He just said: “I know your quality from the HKUST courses, so just come.”

So there is great potential in wide networks?

Exactly. This was one of my main messages to first-year MBA students at a recent presentation. Do not underestimate the power of the relationships you build or the many different avenues that are available. Through the MBA program and my exchange, I have really learned how to build more relationships that cut across the usual lines.

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