Stateside study a good change of pace

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 February, 2008, 12:00am

Irene Leung Yin-chi, a first-year, full-time MBA student at SMU Cox, Dallas, is taking a break from the frantic pace of life in Hong Kong to study for her management degree.

I chose a full-time MBA programme because I believe it can provide me with more in-depth and all-round knowledge about today's global business environment.

By choosing a US institution I can also familiarise myself more with the US business environment and management style through case studies and classroom discussions.

With my work experience in Asia, pursuing an MBA in the US can also give me a comprehensive view of global businesses. I chose SMU rather than a Hong Kong institute because I got my undergraduate degree in Hong Kong and I believed that studying abroad would be a totally new learning experience for me. In addition, the SMU Cox programme provides opportunities for students to have significant interaction with local business leaders and it has a very good reputation in the US.

I started the programme in August last year. I have been enjoying school life and classes so far and it is a nice break from the hectic life in Hong Kong. In addition, having worked for more than seven years in corporate finance, budgeting, and financial and business analysis, many of the business principles that are taught in classes now actually make sense to me.

With my background in accounting and finance, I do pretty well in quantitative courses. However, many classes such as marketing and management require heavy classroom discussions and many group case studies where my presentation skills still require some extra effort. These classes also enhance my critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are the most important things to gain from an MBA programme.

As the programme continues, I expect to gain more in-depth knowledge in financial markets and security valuation because I want to develop a career in investment analysis. SMU offers many finance courses taught by great professors, and my knowledge in this area will be enhanced.

Time management is the biggest challenge because I must allocate my time effectively between job search, school work, GLP (Global Leadership Programme - for which I will be going to India in May), summer interns and school activities. I would like to make use of these two years to enrich my knowledge and experience to prepare for my career.

I am impressed by the support and resources SMU has put behind each student. SMU has a relatively small number of students.

Every faculty member knows each student well enough to give specific advice on career choices and academic issues. Also, with a smaller class size, there is much interaction between professors and students during and after classes.