Lehman Brothers

Surviveand thrive

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:23pm


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The Student

Melody Liu had been working in banking for six years when the world was rocked by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the subsequent global financial crisis.

Liu's bachelor's degree in political science had provided her with good training in analytical and presentational skills but, spurred on by the world financial panic, she decided to enrol on the University of Hong Kong's (HKU) part-time MBA programme.

Today Liu is a manager at a prestigious private bank responsible for providing first-class investment and asset-management services to high-net-worth clients. She is also a graduate of the HKU Centennial Class, whose graduation coincided with the centenary of Hong Kong's oldest university.

What prompted you to pursue an MBA?

After the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and the financial crisis that followed in late 2008, I figured it was a good time to get a relevant and meaningful academic qualification under my belt in order to survive in the downbeat market - and then, hopefully, to thrive when the market picked up.

Just as when I go sailing, it is always during the downwind time that I do all the preparation work, patiently and seriously. Then, when the upwind comes, I can move on at full speed.

What were the major challenges of your MBA studies?

I came from a political science background so at the very beginning of the programme, when I had to deal with balance sheets in my accounting class and all the different financial models in my corporate finance class, you can imagine how overwhelmed I was. I had to deal with lots of alien concepts and jargon and felt that I was totally out of my comfort zone. Fortunately, I met a group of very smart and helpful classmates and we tackled different problems together.

What kind of support did you get?

I was extremely fortunate to have a very considerate and supportive boss. She has been very understanding and always put her trust in me when I organised my time between work and studies.

How do you think your MBA will impact your career in the future?

My MBA experience has expanded my horizons and opened more doors for me. I believe the 'MBA impact' will be beneficial to my lifelong career path. Hopefully, in around three to five years, I can be promoted to director grade.