MBA students look at long-term bonus
The phrase 'opportunity cost' is one that students taking the one-year full-time MBA at the University of Hong Kong will no doubt use many times over the next few months as they grapple with case studies, business analyses and the thinking behind major investment decisions.
For most of them, though, it has even more direct relevance. They have generally decided to give up well-paying jobs in the midst of a recession - a significant cost - on the assumption that new directions and better career opportunities will open up for someone with a recently earned business degree and an up-to-date understanding of the forces shaping the corporate world.
Ariel Woo has had no cause for second thoughts. She resigned from a job looking after sales, marketing and operations for a cosmetics and spa business in Singapore and her basic plan is to use what she learns to get into a completely different industry. 'When you are working, you become stuck in one kind of life and start to feel you are going through the motions,' she said. 'You have to pull yourself up and be ready to take a long-term view.'
The ultimate goal, as always, was to get a good job, but Woo was confident there would be plenty of opportunities to explore after due reflection on what she really wanted.
She added that the programme included a personal enrichment course. It provided practical tips on resume writing, interview skills, networking and ways to conduct oneself with possible employers. 'We have been told to look for the potential in any job we consider, not just the salary,' she said. 'I can't compare with before, but it seems the mindset is very different now.'
Having qualified as a doctor in London, Asanka Samaranayake found he had no great passion for clinical work but was increasingly interested in business, money markets and forex trading. He saw the MBA as a way to 'pivot' into a field such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals or research, where a combination of scientific and general business knowledge would give an edge. 'I had very little idea of many aspects of business, but being in a class with people from so many industries is opening my eyes.'