AFTER RECEIVING his first degree in business from Westminster University in London in 2002, South African Peter Crawley returned home, where he worked for Citigroup South Africa, most recently as trade head. He is now enrolled in the full-time MBA programme at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). He graduates next year. Mr Crawley decided to pursue an MBA because he wanted to hone his finance skills and deepen his understanding of Asia, which he believed would grow to be the centre of global economic growth during his working life. Having spent most of his life in South Africa, where he grew up and worked, and in Britain, where he studied, Mr Crawley decided it was time for a change of scenery. 'Getting a perspective at a well-ranked business school outside of these locations was the major driver,' he said, adding that he did not want to further his studies in Britain because he had already done his undergraduate degree in business studies there. The United States was also out of the question because full-time MBA programmes there tended to run two years. 'HKUST enabled me to embark on an MBA ranked in [the Financial Times'] top 50 that could be completed in one year,' Mr Crawley said. While interested in China, Mr Crawley decided on studying in Hong Kong rather than the mainland largely for linguistic reasons. 'The China connection is a major driver for choosing [a] programme in Asia, and HKUST represented a good way in which I could experience China in a place where English is a little more prevalent,' he said. One of the main advantages of doing an MBA in Asia's world city is getting the chance to interact with a culturally diverse group of students from a variety of professional backgrounds. 'So far, the exposure to so many diverse cultures has benefited me immensely,' he said. 'For example, in one case group I worked with a Brazilian vet, an Austrian electrical engineer, a Chinese financier and an Indian software developer. The team interaction was amazing.'