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Dogged desire: Laurie Hippman on why he chose HKU for his MBA

Veterinarian Laurie Hippman is determined to use his HKU MBA to go from order-taker to leader of the pack.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 January, 2013, 2:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 July, 2014, 5:15pm

Veterinarian Laurie Hippman is determined to use his HKU MBA to go from order-taker to leader of the pack

Laurie Hippman took a degree in veterinary science at the University of Sydney and became a veterinarian after graduating. Eleven years ago, he got a job offer from the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to come to Hong Kong and be a vet here, which he quickly accepted.

After working at the SPCA for a decade, however, he decided that he was never going to be able to make the jump to management that he desired because he lacked the appropriate qualifications and knowledge. An MBA, he thought, was the key, so he enrolled on a full-time MBA course at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and will graduate later this year.

What prompted you to pursue an MBA?
In my job, I have gone as far as I want to go. I have worked at the SPCA for a decade, but no matter how long I am there, I will never go any higher and make management decisions, which frustrates me a little. I believe getting an MBA degree could help me get out of this situation and may even help me move up to a management level.

I also want to learn something new. I am actually interested in many different areas, such as world economics. I believe an MBA degree will help me broaden my knowledge of different fields.

Why did you choose HKU?
I chose HKU as it is probably the best, and the best known, university in this city.

Are you funding your own studies or is your company subsidizing the costs?
I am self-financed.

How have your studies affected your social life?
One of the biggest issues is money. If you’re studying and working, you don’t have to worry too much about spending money. But now, I don’t work full time anymore and do not have a regular income, so I can no longer just go out and spend a thousand dollars on a night out.

What are the major challenges of your studies?
Most of my classmates are a little younger than me. They are good at using computers and technology and are very up to date on the relevant subject matter. The biggest challenge, then, is keeping up with them.
The second biggest challenge is undoubtedly my financial situation because I am not working anymore.

What kind of emotional support are you getting?
My family has given me great support. They all think that it is a great idea to pursue an MBA degree in Hong Kong. As for my ex-office colleagues, they supported me by emotionally giving me a pat on the back. I am also very glad that I’ve got a good bunch of friends who encourage me a lot. They even told me to come to them when I have problems. As for my classmates, they are all very understanding and supportive of one another.

How do you expect your MBA to help you with your career?
Having broadened my knowledge in areas such as finance and management, I hope that with my MBA degree I can take up a management role and make some business decisions, rather than just being told what to do all the time.

What are your career plans after graduation?
I hope I will be able to find a job that can give me some management exposure. Right now, I don’t have a concrete picture about what my future career is going to be. I think I have to take it one step at a time, and have to finish my MBA programme first.