Sean O. Ferguson Question February
Career change – How can an MBA help?
An MBA is a good catalyst for professionals to advance or switch their careers across functions and sectors. MBA curriculum usually incorporates fundamental knowledge that is essential for management roles across industries, ranging from finance and accounting, operations, information technology, strategic planning to managerial communications. It lays a solid foundation for MBA students with well-rounded business understanding, and a better set of soft skills including interpersonal, presentation and negotiation skills. That helps to enhance graduates’ industrial and functional mobility.
Business Schools also provide an extensive platform to the essential business network within their regions. The alumni base and a wide range of co-curricular or networking activities offered by top business schools provide a swing board for students to a quality network of regional business leaders, potential recruiters and business partners.
While it takes years for professionals to build up their international network through generic Business activities, young professionals can quickly expand their network within one to two years through an MBA network. Students will get to know a significant pool of peers who all come from a diverse cultural and industrial background. Many MBA graduates actually get new career opportunities through their MBA fellows or alumni. Some of them even founded start-ups with MBA classmates.
Most of our international MBA students come with an aim and ambition to develop their career in Asia or China. For example, we have students from Europe and America who work in Singapore and Hong Kong now. They either leverage their past industry knowledge and make use of the business network in Asia through the school to get new job opportunities; or they got into a leadership development program by Multi-National-Companies hiring MBA graduates through our recruitment programs which focuses on leadership potential, business sense and soft skills.
There are also successful cases of students making a big career switch, such as a French lawyer working in Mongolia real estate or an Indian manager now working in investment in China. Nevertheless, MBA students should expect to make much greater efforts to make things happen.
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Sean O. Ferguson, is the Associate Dean of Master’s Programs and Director of MBA Programs at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s (HKUST) School of Business and Management. Prior to joining HKUST, Mr Ferguson was the Assistant Dean of Degree Programs at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. Mr Ferguson is a current board member of the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) and the American Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong. Before moving to the higher education industry, Mr Ferguson had a distinguished corporate career working at PROS, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (CGE&Y), and Procter & Gamble (P&G). Mr Ferguson received his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and a Master of Business Administration from Rice University.