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#57 HKUST MBA Program & Admissions Chat with Sean Ferguson – “Leave a Legacy”

hkust sean ferguson

“And if you think about where all the opportunity is and growth in the world is, it’s in places that are probably not where you’re from. If you’re going to be a successful manager, being in this kind of environment is going to differentiate you very well from other MBA programs.”

What is relatively unique about the HKUST MBA? What are its key advantages?

  • #1 ranked Asian MBA program in the world by Financial Times past 5 years
  • Finish the program in 12 or 16 months
  • Most international MBA program in Hong Kong, usually 25-30 nationalities represented in 120 person class; 95% of class is from outside Hong Kong
  • HKUST has great exchange relationships – participants are guaranteed exchange spots with nearly 60 MBA programs around the world
  • Financial Times rated HKUST’s faculty #1 for research in Asia
  • Strong reputation for Finance – 40-50% of graduates work in Finance

Potentially a Good Fit if:

  • You are interested in careers in Hong Kong and China – even though 80% of the class is non-Chinese, 50% of graduates stay in Hong Kong to work and 23% work in China
  • You want to live, study and work in one of Asia’s financial capitals; Hong Kong hosts over 6,000 MNCs and 70 of the top 100 banks
  • You’re looking to build a career and network in a fast growing region with a lot of potential upside, and get the prestige of a top-ranked program

About Our Guest 

Sean Ferguson is Associate Dean of Masters Programmes at HKUST Business School. Prior to joining HKUST in 2013, Sean was Assistant Dean of Degree Programmes at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. 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). He currently serves on the board of GMAC and got his MBA from Rice University.

Touch MBA’s HKUST MBA Fast Facts

Program Highlights (2:58)

  • HKUST Business School established in 1991
  • Length: 12 or 16 months. 16 month option better suited for candidates considering career changes or desiring international exposure.
  • 1 intake/year in August
  • Campus in Hong Kong, 30 minutes from city center; Hong Kong hosts over 6,000 MNCs and 70 of the top 100 banks
  • 100-120 students/intake
  • 25-30 nationalities/intake, 20% from North America, 20% Europe, 20% HK / Mainland China, 30% from Asia
  • Career tracks in: Consulting, Finance, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and General Management in China
  • Differentiators: 1) located in cosmopolitan Hong Kong, still very much a gateway to Asia 2) focus on Asian case studies, taught by professors and practitioners with Asia expertise and 3) international student makeup and exchange possibilities
  • Partner with 58 schools in 18 countries worldwide. 96% of students get into first or second choice of exchange school, as HKUST has many exchange seats. HKUST also receives around 100 exchange students each year
  • New building for HKUST business school opening in June 2013
  • Program taught entirely in English
  • Students rank Finance and Economics tops
  • Rankings: #14 Financial Times 2014 (#1 in Asia), #3 Forbes Best 2-year International Program, #58 Economist 2013
  • Dual degree options: Master of Advanced Management with Yale & Global Real Estate Masters Program (Univ. of Wisconsin)
  • Accredited by AACSB and EQUIS

Admissions (16:25)

  • 3 deadlines: November, January, and March, decisions returned within 3 months
  • Average GMAT: 673
  • No minimum GMAT score, although “safer range” is 600-720. Those with lower scores will need to show a strong undergraduate record
  • No minimum TOEFL or IELTS; most score 600 / 250 / 100 on TOEFL or 7.0 on IELTS
  • Avg age: 29 (26-32), Avg work experience: 6 yrs (3-8), Minimum work experience: 2 yrs
  • Shortlisted candidates invited to two interviews: the first interview focuses on candidates’ background and the second interview focuses on candidates’ career goals
  • 3 admissions criteria: contribution, potential, fit
    • Contribution: show how you can contribute to the program, whether through international exposure, skill set, or personality. Are you proactive?
    • Potential: what leadership qualities do you have?
    • Fit: how can HKUST help you meet your career goals? HKUST prefers candidates with well-researched career goals as the program is relatively short. What industry are you trying to enter and what skill sets do you need to get a job?

Financing (23:45)

  • Tuition: HK $545,000 (roughly $70,000 USD)
  • Budget: HK $758,400 (roughly $97,000)
  • Candidates concerned about scholarships or financial aid are encouraged to apply in first or second around
  • 40% of students get scholarships, ranging from 10% – 40% of tuition fee ($6,500 – $26,000 USD)
  • Merit scholarships given to top 20% of candidates awarded along with offer
  • Candidates can also apply for need based grants, by submitting bank statements, tax returns and declaring their assets
  • Candidates encouraged to get student loans in their home countries

Career (27:55)

  • HKUST MBA placement report
  • HKUST has strongest reputation in Hong Kong and China, with reputation growing throughout the world
  • A lot of new business opportunities are related to Chinese clients, so Mandarin language skills are becoming more essential
  • Top 5 functions: 45% Finance, 22% Consulting, 8% General Management, 8% Operations / Logistics, 7% Sales & Marketing
  • Top 5 industries: 40% Finance, 22% Retail / Supply Chain, 18% Consulting, 5% Natural Resources
  • Top 5 geographies: 52% HK, 15% Mainland China, 15% other APAC, 9% Europe, 9% North & Latin America
  • HKUST helps students work in Asia:
    • 50% stay in HK (63% of whom didn’t work in Hong Kong before)
    • 15% work in Mainland China (33% of whom didn’t work in China before)
    • 15% work in Asia Pacific (33% of whom didn’t work in Asia Pac before)
  • Career services work one on one with students from the very start of program. Activities include industry talks, skill workshops, recruitment talks, mock interviews, CV book sent to 3,000 companies
  • 60-70% of students do internships

Get In Touch


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4 thoughts on “#57 HKUST MBA Program & Admissions Chat with Sean Ferguson – “Leave a Legacy”

  1. Pingback: The Best MBA Programs in Hong Kong - » Touch MBA

  2. I love these Podcasts. They are so helpful.
    Just one request would be to post the date and year of the podcast to be able to figure out how relevant it stands to date. Even for any Statistics that is quoted in the podcast.

    1. Thank you Palak, great suggestion, and we will do this!
      We won’t do this in the podcast itself, but in the write-ups.

  3. Pingback: Why I Got My MBA in Asia with Yuan Lee Chung, HKUST MBA '15 » Touch MBA

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