Student Stories


Success Is Due to Our Stretching to The Challenges of Life – Valeria Stadalninkas

Transform and Soar with HKUST MBA

(Read the full story HERE)


“Success is due to our stretching to the challenges of life." by Valeria STADALNINKAS


- Transform, Soar and Thrive -


Valeria STADALNINKAS (Russia)
Class of 2021
Pre-MBA: Founder and CEO of a luxury athleisure fashion brand


1. What made you decide on HKUST MBA?

HKUST was a natural choice for my MBA program. I am a huge tech enthusiast, obsessed with innovative emerging technologies and pursuing business opportunities in that field. Before I joined the MBA program, I knew that HKUST was a dynamic, globally oriented intellectual powerhouse. It is also a leading education and research university with a focus on science and technology that is widely recognized in Asia and around the world.  

Participating in an information session on the HKUST campus, having the opportunity to talk to current MBA students and alumni, and especially attending an MBA sample class all helped me crystalize my aspiration to be a part of this community and to call HKUST my alma mater.  

Now, as an HKUST MBA student, I can say with full confidence that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. 


2. How is it like living in Hong Kong? What is it about HKUST that you love?

I have been living in Hong Kong for several years and call it my second home. Hong Kong offers tremendous opportunities for business, cultural and personal development, understanding global trends, and meeting forward-thinking people.

Valeria (left) celebrating diversity with her classmates at the signature HKUST MBA International Night

There are undoubted advantages to being part of the HKUST community in the global and regional contexts, especially in light of Hong Kong’s growth as a fintech and innovation hub, and its blooming start-up ecosystem with proximity to Shenzhen, China’s Silicon Valley. The synergy of technology, science, and business in HKUST and the possibility of cross-disciplinary interactions are attractive to me. Our university is an excellent platform for me to gain and share new knowledge and to create business ideas and prospective collaborations.

I would like to emphasize the diversity of the HKUST MBA cohort, which makes studying here a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thanks to the compact class size, the connections made during the study will grow to lifelong friendships!


3. Do share with us your unique MBA class experience.

I am a perfectionist and I have to perform to my best at any activity or project I am committed to. Other than my full-time MBA student role, I am an entrepreneur and mother of a four-year-old son. During my MBA program, I have also been elected as the VP of the HKUST MBA Entrepreneurship Club. I value my relationships with people more than anything else. This is why bonding with classmates is also a very important part of my MBA journey.

How do I balance all these commitments? It’s a real challenge for me. 

The very first thing that I practice is complete presence and immersion, here and now. I don’t let myself be distracted when I am on a team project discussion, for example, or in a classroom, or doing homework. Presence and immersion help me to focus and be efficient.  

Experiential learning - Valeria (third from the left) having role-play with her classmates in class

Focus and efficiency are my key success factors: being able to think promptly, make fast and astute decisions, and consequently deliver good results. After all, this is what you will be expected to do in the perennially fast-paced contemporary business world, whether it’s a corporate career or entrepreneurship.

Last but not least, it’s essential to have a positive, “can-do” attitude and be willing to embrace new challenges. 


4. What's your motto in dealing with challenges?  

"Success is due to our stretching to the challenges of life. Failure comes when we shrink from them." - John C. Maxwell

Technology enables Valeria to continue interacting with her classmates outside of classroom.

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