Obtaining new perspectives through a flexible MBA
I have been working since early last year as secretary-general for the Internet Society Hong Kong (ISOC HK), the local chapter of an international not-for-profit organisation. Basically, I am in charge of operations, and our goals are to further popularise the internet and ensure it remains a free and open platform for all. I am also involved in efforts to drive progressive development of the Web, which will benefit people from all age groups and all walks of life. Our work covers the development of internet standards, such as the supporting technical protocols, and policies affecting intellectual property rights, privacy and security. There are also questions of web accessibility for people with physical disabilities, digital inclusion for individuals from low-income backgrounds and ethnic minorities, and support for entrepreneurs and business start-ups. My role is akin to that of a company’s chief executive, who has to lead diverse corporate developments. The internet has been a “game changing” platform for everyone, with many cutting-edge aspects. Working in this field has allowed me to meet and collaborate with interesting individuals from around the world. For instance, I’m looking forward to participating in the “Google I / O 2013”, an international product launch conference held in Silicon Valley in the United States in May. Many Web developers regard it as the “dream conference” and tickets sold out in just a few days when they were made available online. I will be taking part for the first time and will also take the opportunity to visit friends working at leading companies like Google and Facebook. It is a great chance for me to build further connections in the sector. I also regularly attend other internet conferences held in the region, such as ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and APRICOT, organised by the Asia and Pacific Internet Association.
Even though the internet facilitates “virtual” meetings between people in different regions and time zones, face-to-face meetings take any relationship to another level and help build mutual trust. That is one reason I like travelling for business; another is that I enjoy tasting different regional cuisines. Before joining ISOC HK, I spent more than 10 years working in IT communications, notably in the marketing department at Hutchison Global Crossing. The job there involved specifically defined duties which, I guess, is typical of any large corporation. In my current position, I get much wider exposure through overseeing an entire campaign or event. Besides that, I find more job satisfaction working for a not-for-profit organisation because I want to make some contribution to the society, which goes beyond just looking at revenues or return on investment. I would like to spend more time and energy on supporting local internet start-ups by building a better “eco-system” for project incubation. In fact, ISOC HK is one of the co-organisers of “StartLab.HK”, a five-day boot camp for local university students looking at internet start-ups. It is one of our on-going initiatives to nurture entrepreneurs and connect them with potential investors. After attending, we expect the budding entrepreneurs will be able to pitch concrete ideas for their business proposals.
I enrolled in 2009 for the MBA in international management offered jointly by HKU Space and the University of London. After working for several years, I felt the need to get some fresh perspectives and a better all-round understanding of business. Recently, I have been working on my final-year dissertation and hope to graduate within this year. What initially attracted me was the programme’s high degree of flexibility in selecting courses. Students can tailor things to their individual schedules and can take between three and five years to complete the course. The thing I have enjoyed most is the opportunity to work and network with professionals from diverse fields. They are ready to share their unique experiences and discuss solutions to problems in and outside the classroom. I also think the international management curriculum is a good fit with my current job. As told to Wilson Lau.