First he went to Hong Kong for an exchange programme. That led to a master’s at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). Now a PhD.
Like many others before him, Jens Joachim Marga has discovered how a HKBU School of Business experience often turns out to be a personally and professionally advantageous venture. Coming from a small German town (population: 1,000), Hong Kong’s chaotic, fast-paced bustle was at first “truly eye-opening” when he arrived in 2018. Captivated, he returned.
Later, while pursuing a Master of Science in Business Management, his view of the city evolved, seeing it not just as an urban masterpiece, but as a massive technological hub unparalleled in Asia. “The potential to integrate artificial intelligence into business and organisation models is at its highest here in Hong Kong. If I want to be the actor for this change, this is where I want to be. At the centre of it all.” he says.
Today, the PhD candidate exploring the field of AI, simply sees Hong Kong and HKBU as one thing: home. “What really had me coming back was the approach to academia they have here. The amount of support and freedom given to students to explore and learn is amazing.”
Like the global financial hub it’s based in, the only business school in Hong Kong and among the 1% business schools worldwide to hold the triple crown of accreditation by AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS is a multicultural hotspot for talent from all over the world. Over 40 nationalities are represented on campus, from the US to Indonesia, from Singapore to Belgium.
Many are supported financially by the business school. Admission scholarships, graduation awards, course scholarships, business start-up awards and/or other merit-based awards are available for outstanding international students here. These scholarships allow the business school to maximise diversity in their classrooms. External scholarships add more brilliant minds like Michal Chmielinski to the business school’s PhD cohort. He is one of the 20 recipients of the prestigious Belt and Road Scholarship (Research Postgraduate) for the 2019/20 academic year by the HKSAR Government. “With this generous scholarship, I am glad that I can further my research postgraduate study in HKBU because my supervisor is an excellent researcher in the field I am interested in.” said Chmielinski.
A base for zealous entrepreneurs
In the Global Innovation Index 2019, Hong Kong was listed as the third most innovative location in South East Asia, East Asia, and Oceania. There were over 3,000 startups employing 12,478 employees across 92 co-work spaces, incubators and accelerators in 2019, according to InvestHK. Their founders? Scores are from abroad, attracted by the potential of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area and its proximity to innovation centres in Shenzhen and manufacturers in Zhongshan and Zhuhai.
It is this vibrant scene that HKBU School of Business graduate Thomas Huang finds himself in today. Born in Cambodia and raised in the US, the Master of Science in Applied Economics graduate had a productive stint at HKBU. He interned at the International Office; took part in Model United Nations; organised events for the US Consulate and Irish Consulate; ran youth camps in Macau; and visited the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago to pitch his FinTech and TravelTech startups. On campus, he attended events featuring famous and inspirational figures such as US Vice President Al Gore and founder of Alibaba Jack Ma.
Upon completing their course, graduates can apply to stay and work in Hong Kong for 12 months, whether or not they have a job offer in hand. Huang wasted no time in maximising this flexibility in Hong Kong’s immigration policies.
Since graduating, Thomas Huang has worked in international startups which have recently raised US$13 million. Happier, a HR and media tech startup he helped launch has raised 500,000 Hong Kong dollars since going live in April and has been accepted to the Hong Kong Cyberport Incubation Programme. It’s a career trajectory helped by the many connections he forged at HKBU. “The various out-of-classroom activities provided me with the excellent opportunities for networking and to connect with many young entrepreneurs.” he says. His future plans include working with young local leaders to improve Cambodia through innovation — reflecting HKBU’s core value of caring for the community and having passion for their work.
As Huang’ experience shows, the HKBU Career Centre and the School’s Career Services Section run many experiential learning and professional development events. There are recruitment talks, virtual fairs, IT empowerment sessions, career advancement schemes, counselling services, customised industry seminars, corporate visits, one-on-one coaching, business enhancement workshops, networking events, and more.
With experience like these come opportunities in Hong Kong and beyond. Master of Accountancy graduate Jenny Lim from Malaysia is now working as an Audit Associate in the Financial Services Business unit of PwC in Singapore. She considers herself “lucky” for the winning combination of friends and a career-launching degree she gained from HKBU School of Business. “Apart from gaining knowledge that is necessary to be prepared for the challenging working environment, the best thing about university life is to know friends who will always be there to celebrate your success or accompany you to pass through unexpected bumps in your life. Thanks HKBU!” she shares.
Applications for HKBU School of Business’s postgraduate programmes (September 2021 intake) are now open. Deadlines are from February to April 2021, depending on individual programmes. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as competition increases as the year progresses. For more information, tune into their webinar on Nov. 28, 2020 from 8:00 to 9:00pm (Hong Kong time).