Each EMBA-Global Asia class brings together experienced managers, professionals and executives from around the world. They are a diverse and highly engaged group of individuals who are working at the very forefront of the rapidly changing world economy.
Hear what students and alumni have to say about the programme: the challenges, debates and what they learnt from each other.
- Judith Zhai
- President, Strawbear Entertainment Group
- EMBA-Global Asia (2017)
“One of my biggest EMBA-Global takeaways was firm, trust-based connections with my cohort."
“Prior to joining EMBA-Global Asia I worked as a professional investor in the private equity industry for almost 10 years. Several of these years were at Fosun Capital (the biggest investment group in China), where I focused on M&A deals across Europe and the US. I was looking at companies on quite a superficial level for around 2-3 months at a time, so I didn’t get the chance to explore or learn much about different business models. When I communicated with organisations from other countries, I felt the cultural and business divide very strongly.
“Business school offered me the opportunity to bridge this skills gap. EMBA-Global Asia – a joint programme across LBS, Columbia and HKU spanning three continents – was ideal. It was the perfect way to explore opportunities in different countries and to learn about different business models, but also to develop my soft skills. After 10 years focusing on hard work, I wanted a better toolkit for building and encouraging teams and for cooperating with diverse personality types. Improving my leadership skills was a key growth area, as was gaining global contract experience working across different business models.
“It’s no secret that LBS is a very global school, and EMBA-Global Asia is a programme that attracts true variety. My class represented 35 countries from multiple different industries – including less common business school professions like architecture and medicine – and this provided a great opportunity for me to get a different outlook on business. People were always willing to share their perspectives; I learned about new cultures and ways of doing business that I’d never been exposed to before. Now, I reach out to my cohort regularly, discussing opportunities to go public on the NY exchange market, for example, or asking advice about capital markets.
“I found Michael Jacobides – one of my strategy professors – incredibly impressive. I’d had a lot of experience with M&A, but his Corporate Turnarounds course made me recognise the importance of aligning an entire organisation. That’s helped me think more deeply about how to make different areas of my current business cooperate and work together. I also loved Personal Leadership and Success which looked at how a healthy mindset impacts your ability to be a successful leader. This is something I’ve taken to heart, so I focus on a healthy personal lifestyle and do meditation every morning when I wake up.
“I had so many fabulous experiences on EMBA-Global Asia, but one of my biggest takeaways was firm, trust-based connections with my cohort. You gain an outstanding network from a programme like this. I learned a lot from faculty but what I took from my classmates was deep cross-industry knowledge and cross-cultural understanding, strong business connections and even stronger friendships. The programme also increased my self-confidence. I’m more comfortable dealing with very senior people now. I think more globally and more innovatively, and I’m more open-minded. Even when you’re stuck in an economic downturn, you realise there are still opportunities if you think this way.
“I joined Alibaba Pictures as Strategic Investment VP about halfway through my EMBA degree. With responsibility for whole group strategic investment and fundraising, I spent my time looking for stable, future growth potential investment companies, and that’s how I came across Strawbear. Strawbear focuses on producing TV and web series within the China market; it’s a top-tier production company that has a very innovative management team compared with traditional companies, and that uses a platform business model. As I started to learn more about the company during our negotiations and due diligence process, I became interested in the idea of helping them become a bigger entertainment group, one that could ultimately go public in the Chinese market.
“So I came on board. I am now President of Strawbear and looking after our investment strategy and capital markets. Nowadays, Chinese production companies are focusing more on Chinese stories and helping export them to the global market. I’m therefore using the global understanding I developed at LBS to help Strawbear focus on wider global markets outside China. We’re also preparing for an IPO on the Hong Kong exchange market at the end of the year.
“I look forward to being a professional entrepreneur with Strawbear for at least the next 10 years. I’m going to ensure the company develops a stronger global presence – that it is ready and able to take advantage of bigger and better global business opportunities.”
- Lael Chappell
- Broker Engagement Lead, Attune Insurance
- EMBA-Global Asia (2020)
“EMBA-Global was inspirational. The experience reminded me that the sky really is the limit.”
“My journey to EMBA-Global was an interesting one. I was at a point in my career where I was finding success working in the traditional insurance world, but as I continued to grow on the brokerage side, I realised I wanted to develop more effective strategic leadership skills. I had great mentors that encouraged me to invest in myself, to make sure I had a foundation that would help me navigate the future, and to be as prepared as possible for leadership and impact in my next role.
“I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. As I was contemplating whether I should pursue an EMBA programme, the Financial Times released the EMBA rankings spotlighting the EMBA-Global Asia programme. It suddenly hit me that I was pretty sure I was connected to someone that had been through the programme. I found the alum, Douglas Mennely (2012), after a quick LinkedIn search and within an hour we were talking on the phone. We discussed where I was at in my insurance career, the introduction of innovation within the industry, and the pain points of what I was doing on a day to day basis. He was very transparent, extremely resourceful and connected me with admissions. The London team were in New York a couple of weeks later, and everything else followed suit very quickly.
“EMBA-Global Asia is definitely intense – you can’t fully prepare for the experience. I knew the global exposure it offered would make me a better leader, and I was lucky to have the support of family, friends and colleagues in both my old and my new job, people who recognised the investment I was making in myself. But even with that in place I had to learn to push myself and to manage my time better, to be flexible and efficient.
“‘Be comfortable being uncomfortable’ is a mantra I try to live by, and that certainly sums up my EMBA-Global experience. Much of my learning came from people within my cohort and the exposure to their different professional insights, to entrepreneurs, to people leading unions. I approached everything with the mindset of being completely vulnerable and with the aim of learning as much as I could. To be able to talk through things like the US/China trade war and Brexit in real time and understand how it was impacting not just my life, but other individuals leading their organisations through it – that was just an invaluable experience.
“EMBA-Global was fully everything I desired with regards to gaining a network of individuals - friends - who gave me global understanding and exposure, who let me know what they were dealing with professionally and personally, and who helped me understand their cultural norms. I developed a very special bond with my class; despite being from opposite sides of the world, we came together with a vast level of respect. Growing up, I saw leaders of some big organisations as almost immortal, but suddenly I was hearing all these different stories and journeys from across the globe. I learned things I would never have imagined. We were there for each other, giving advice and feedback, and my classmates were there for me when I was making big decisions about what would come next.
“I walked into my EMBA-Global journey understanding I would get out what I put in. As much as you look at the schedule and think you’ll never survive, it flies by. I wanted the full global experience and I owned it as a transformative time that would impact the rest of my life. Reflecting now, there are so many prominent moments and opportunities that bring a smile to my face. I loved everything - the willingness of wonderful professors to go above and beyond, classes we were glad to survive – we put numbers on speed dial of the class experts in those subjects! I was fortunate to take the brilliant Thinking Strategically elective in Dubai at the same time as celebrating my birthday, and I made friends and life-long relationships there that I will carry with me forever.
“I know that my 2020 cohort will be influential in shaping the future leaders of the world. I took away a huge amount of knowledge, but also people to call on in whatever my future has for me. Put simply, it was inspirational, and the experience reminded me that the sky really is the limit.”
Read more about Lael’s EMBA-Global Asia journey here.
- Marc von Grabowski
- President, MHE-Demag Philippines
- EMBA-Global Asia (2020)
"The curriculum takes a holistic view of modern business and helps you find solutions to seemingly unsolvable challenges."
“After graduating from the University of Asia and the Pacific with a bachelor’s degree and an MSc in Management, in 2009 I joined MHE-Demag - a joint venture between Demag Cranes in Germany and Jebsen & Jessen in Singapore. My first role was as a product manager; I’ve worked my way up in the company over the past 11 years to my current role of president, and now oversee the Philippine market. In this role I have full P&L responsibility and a high level of autonomy for setting and executing the strategy and vision, as well as the development, growth and achievement of targets for the entire operation of MHE-Demag in the Philippine market. In my five years as president, our revenue has doubled, which has in turn tripled our profit.
I have a firm connection with the Philippines – having my wife Elaine in Manila and both of our children were born here. I have even opened up a German restaurant and bar in downtown Manila with close friends whom I met in college. I believe I’m a hands-on leader, and I have a passion for customer-focused solutions, engineering, business development and building a strong, agile company culture with continuously improved efficiencies. It is for these reasons that I chose to pursue the EMBA-Global Asia programme two years ago: to help me apply new-found knowledge to my company, thereby aiding its success in the region.
I’m fortunate to belong to a dynamic group of companies which have a history of seizing opportunities since 1895, and continue to innovate as leaders in various markets. The EMBA-Global Asia programme has helped me play an active role in navigating our company’s business into the future by allowing me to apply the concepts I learned in class to actual challenges and opportunities that have a direct strategic impact on maintaining our competitive advantage.
Once I had decided that I wanted to pursue an Executive MBA, the EMBA-Global Asia programme seemed like the natural choice due to its flexibility and status. Having studied part-time for the past two years, I can now say I place immense value on the broad curriculum available on this programme. The curriculum takes a holistic view of modern business and helps you find solutions to seemingly unsolvable challenges; the professors and mentors help build your confidence in applying these tools to everyday management, something I have found extremely useful whilst working alongside my studies. Whilst the programme has been both physically and emotionally taxing due to the extra work I have taken on, and being away for classes one week every month can be a stretch, it has enabled me to try out the programme’s concepts in real time, receive immediate feedback from colleagues and customers, and calibrate my ideas with invaluable input from the faculty, as well as classmates. This is what makes the EMBA-Global Asia immensely valuable to me.
Something that really appealed to me when choosing this programme was the prospect of being a member of the alumni community for three top institutions around the world: Columbia Business School, The University of Hong Kong and London Business School. I look forward to utilising the resources and connections that come with this honour.
After the programme,I’m looking forward to having more time for family and friends, as well as keeping in touch with my newfound friends from the EMBA-Global Asia. In the long run, I am excited to see what impact the ambitious, creative, smart and fun people in my cohort will have on the world. We often discussed our ambitions and dreams, and now we have the necessary tools in place to actively work on our future plans.”
- Laura Rosado Lozano
- Senior Manager - Strategy and Finance, AXA Emerging Customers
- EMBA-Global Asia (2021)
“I looked at a number of different masters programmes, and the EMBA-Global Asia stood out to me most."
“Prior to deciding to join the EMBA-Global Asia programme, I had gained nearly 10 years of international experience within the financial services sector, based in Mexico City and Paris. I am fluent in three languages and graduated with honors in Chemical Engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. I started my career in internal consulting roles covering strategy, business development, M&A and multicultural and multi-sector operations projects across different markets. My current position is at a social intrapreneurial venture whose mission is to provide insurance to the future middle class in emerging countries. We want to make insurance accessible, affordable and relevant to nearly four billion low income and mass market consumers, as a lack of insurance makes them vulnerable to unforeseen events. In this role, I lead the strategy and performance management practice of the business, defining the path to achieving our ambitions and generating visibility of the progress of our plan. Since 2016, our coverage has grown from 3.9m customers in just three countries, to nearly 19m in nine countries, across Asia, Africa and Latin America.
I had a very clear goal for my career in the long run: leading and managing teams that generate social impact through sustainable business models. While I believed that my experience working in an international environment, along with my previous corporate strategy background, were a strong foundation to accomplish this, I was clear I needed to work on further developing the skills required to actually do it.
Be it because of income, working conditions, migratory status, health condition, or family situation, reaching excluded people through valuable products and services requires a creative approach. It became evident to me that to achieve this goal, I needed to equip myself for the years to come. This involved not only sharpening my business acumen and strengthening my leadership skills, but also by accessing a wide network of highly talented professionals that could provide me with guidance, inspiration and collaboration opportunities. It was at this point that I decided to pursue an Executive MBA programme, to help me on my journey.”
I looked at a number of different masters programmes, and the EMBA-Global Asia stood out to me most. It was the internationalism of the programme, with a strong focus on China, that made a deep impression on me and further helped me confirm my decision to join. The course is delivered in three top-tier schools across America, Europe and Asia, which means you study and enjoy classes in some of the most important financial centres in the world: New York, London and Hong Kong. Because of this, there is a very interesting and international class cohort, from various backgrounds and cultures. The flexible elective schedule, which can be tailored to each student’s needs, is another benefit of the EMBA-Global Asia programme. It was for these reasons that I decided to join the programme, as I realised it was clearly going to be a once in a lifetime experience for me.
Though it is demanding in both time and energy and also involves a lot of travel, the EMBA-Global Asia is most definitely doable and, most importantly, highly rewarding. My advice to prospective students is to be diligent and organised. Make sure you allocate time to family and friends, studying, working and self-care. Finding the right balance is a considerable challenge in itself, but once you take the leap and decide to embark on this amazing journey, I definitely recommend keeping these priorities in mind for your twenty months of studying. Once you settle into your routine and find the right balance, you will find that time on this programme flies. I would also encourage prospective students to take some of the weight off by delegating as much as possible at work. That was an additional lesson learned from this programme!I believe my final piece of advice demonstrates how much I’m enjoying my EMBA-Global Asia journey: above all, do not forget to have fun along the way. The friendships and connections you will build are priceless.”
- Antonio de Raho
- Business Unit Manager, Bitron
- EMBA-Global Asia (2021)
"The EMBA-Global Asia programme is possibly the best available in terms of diversity."
“I started my career in the UK as a development engineer more than ten years ago. Soon after, I realised that I should have built my skills in a different way if I wanted to thrive in a challenging environment. I’ve spent more than 14 years working in and running manufacturing and new product design businesses across Europe and Asia, and worked with global players in many different industry sectors, but I felt that I needed more insight into other areas of business I had not yet touched. Thanks to the EMBA-Global Asia I am now in a position to better understand what really matters to me for my future career. I am on the fast track to pursue career development in general management in my current organisation.
The EMBA programme taps into your deepest values, helping you discover not only where your strengths lie, but also where they are most applicable. It has made me consider my career through many lenses and allowed me to understand that the value of a job role is not just in the title or position, but in making sure you have an impact in what you do. I have been surprised at how many of my classmates think in the same way, putting the significance of their job ahead of the title. In the end, it all comes down to what gives you a sense of fulfillment, and this programme has definitely helped me to understand this. The course, the people you meet, the faculty, the locations - these are only a small part of the journey.
Time management has been extremely important to me whilst balancing my EMBA-Global programme with my job. Needless to say, whenever you come back from a block week session, your effort immediately goes back into your job. We are all extremely busy at work and taking time to deepen our knowledge is not always the easiest thing, but whether it is an accounting principle, a marketing strategy, or even a venture endeavour, the teaching sticks with you and the application always has a way of making itself into your daily routine. I believe it is a mindset change. There’s also a different kind of learning that I have found extremely useful, both for now and the future: how to develop your network and relationships both outside and within your own organisation. This part of the teaching is fundamental in all areas of life and goes beyond benefiting one’s career.
Every time a block week ends, students instantly look forward to the next one. Despite the amount of preparation required and the pressing assignments and exams, the feeling of sharing this journey with some amazing people has been invigorating. I personally look forward to two things: the first and most important is nurturing these relationships with my cohort, which are fast becoming friendships of a lifetime. The second is my next move. The EMBA-Global Asia sends an overwhelming amount of information and opportunities your way. It is important to make sense of it, organise it and digest it, because this understanding can lead to some life-changing decisions. I started the programme with one goal in mind: to change my geographical location. After ten years in China, I wanted to see something different. Now, however, this paradigm is changing, and I am more focused on finding my best fit - a role where I can develop myself further.I looked into the EMBA-Global Asia programme several years before applying, as I wanted to make sure my background was right and my expectations were met fully, and I have not been let down. The EMBA-Global Asia programme is possibly the best available in terms of diversity. It not only gives you the opportunity to learn from a top-class faculty, but most importantly, your own cohort of students provide you with invaluable insight on how to do business.”
- Takayuki Mizuki
- General Partner, Accord Ventures, Inc. / CEO, APT, Inc.
- EMBA-Global Asia (2020)
"The EMBA-Global Asia is a tremendously stimulating and inspiring environment to learn in."
“My interest in participating in the EMBA-Global Asia programme stemmed from my innate curiosity and eagerness to always continue learning. In addition to the expectation of direct benefits for my current business, I hoped the programme would provide me with both a stimulating experience and global insight.
I graduated from Chiba University with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition science, and went on to work at Yakult for four years as a product development engineer. I then decided to make a career change and move away from the food industry into music. Following this, I worked on creating new businesses for various other industries, including photography, film and legal. Before I decided to embark on my EMBA-Global Asia journey, I had gained more than 20 years of experience creating new products, businesses and companies. In one of my previous roles as COO at Japan’s leading legal tech company Bengo4.com, I led the company in undertaking an IPO. I am now co-running a venture capital fund in Tokyo and am investing in 50 startups across Japan, the US, and SEA countries.
In my current role as General Partner at Accord Ventures, I look into candidate companies’ business models, assets and capabilities in order to make a decision whether to invest, as well as supporting portfolio companies. Additionally, I am CEO of consultant agency, APT Inc. In this role I support listed companies in expanding their business field and help maintain the growth rate after the peak of IPO by establishing the new business. The company also supports seed-stage startups with making a strong business plan and securing funding from VCs.
I believe that business theories are ever-changing due to the global digital shift. Though interesting, this has left many historical theories useless in the modern world. Before joining the EMBA-Global Asia programme, I had heard that the typical content of business schools was becoming obsolete and that institutions were not doing enough to catch up with new business models and technologies. However, that was not true of this Executive MBA programme - I was really impressed by the talent of the faculty, and their methods and ideas in teaching subjects effectively in class. Almost all classes discussed digital businesses and the methods, practices and ethics of, for example, Facebook, Google, and Amazon.
I knew that by choosing the EMBA-Global Asia programme I would be able to have conversations and discussions with high-calibre classmates from around the world, but the actual experience has far exceeded my expectations. It is a tremendously stimulating and inspiring environment to learn in; it has helped me to formulate ideas and provided me with a deep understanding of world business and economics, enabling me to understand the situation of my country, Japan, from an outside perspective.You could not have a clearer and warmer endorsement of the EMBA-Global Asia programme than from myself. I am thoroughly enjoying the programme and it has given me great pleasure over the past two years spent studying.”
- Laura Huddle
- Head of New Business, Australia and New Zealand, Eventbrite
- EMBA-Global Asia (2018)
“It was an amazing opportunity to expand my mind not only through the classroom but through the people I was meeting.”
“It’s intense. It goes by so fast…” Eventbrite’s Laura Huddle is recalling her time on the Executive MBA (EMBA) Global Asia programme. “It’s already paying off in multiple ways,” she says. “What you’re learning immediately translates from the classroom to the conference room. There was a direct impact in that I was in my previous role in marketing, and now I’m heading up new business for Australia and New Zealand.”
She chose London Business School (LBS) for one simple reason: “It’s the best education there is. It’s an incredible brand, recognised worldwide – it has tremendous career validation. The power of a top business school gives you real credibility.”
Laura co-founded Search Scholars, a boutique digital marketing agency in San Francisco focusing on SEO, social media and email marketing, in 2009. She has been working at Eventbrite, the event management and ticketing website, since 2010 and made the move to Melbourne, Australia in 2014. Thanks to the EMBA she now has a stronger finance background as well as a broader viewpoint.
Students on the EMBA Global study in three cities – London, New York and Hong Kong. “The global nature of the programme really appealed,” she says. “Our class had 26 nationalities from all over the world. It was an amazing opportunity to expand my mind not only through the classroom but through the people I was meeting.”
Her study group of five included a Taiwanese student who had worked in finance, a Swede with a background in consulting, a Chinese girl now living in New York and working for a non-profit and an entrepreneur who had founded his own architectural design firm.
Within the class students were also paired with mirror personalities to identify areas where they might get along and areas where they might have disagreements. “The diversity – racial, gender, industry and personality – is amazing. It’s challenging at first. Research has shown that groups that have high diversity spend a longer time in the storming phase. But when they get past that, they are a more effective, highly functioning team.”
She particularly enjoyed an international elective to Myanmar, where she was part of a group advising start-ups, “helping real people with a problem they were trying to solve. It was really interesting to see how business works there and it was an incredible growth opportunity.”
The programme is demanding – Laura relied on strong support from her company and her family. “It’s long hours and it’s disruptive. It’s not just you – your loved ones go on the journey with you. They have to make sacrifices too. I learnt to prioritise ruthlessly. I’m much more efficient now and I definitely had to make some sacrifices.” She even managed to have a baby during the 18 months she was on the programme.
“Having done all of this gives me the confidence to take on challenges because I know I can handle anything,” she states. Her classmates appear to be seeing similar results. “People have moved from Hong Kong to London or London to New York. They’ve pursued new interests, new careers. I’m already impressed by some of the movements.”
Laura advises anyone thinking of pursuing an EMBA programme to give it 100%. “It’s an enormous commitment in terms of time and energy – be prepared. You get out what you put in. It’s important to make the time for networking events, going out with your cohort and maximising the relationship-building side.
“In areas of the world where I never had contacts before, I now know someone from my cohort or the wider LBS network, which opens doors,” she adds. “It’s also really nice to find friendly faces wherever you go. It makes the world seem a lot smaller. And the relationships you form are an incredibly powerful network for years to come.”
- Yimin Jin
- Systematic Investment, BlackRock
- EMBA-Global Asia (2020)
“The programme is giving me so much: the knowledge, the global exposure, the principles to solve problems, the world-wide network."
Yimin Jin’s route into business has been somewhat circuitous; the Shanghai native graduated with a BSc in chemistry, but science was not her real calling. Sensing that a career in finance was better suited to her talents and interests, she completed a Masters in Management Information Systems in the US.
Today she works in Systematic Investment on Active Equity Strategy with BlackRock, partnering with investment researchers to develop predictive strategies for trading on proprietary hedge funds and other client portfolios, with a focus on Japan, China, PanAsia and emerging markets. It’s a role that calls for a high degree of acumen and know-how in investment management and systems technology. But after 15 years of experience in her field, Yimin realised that she needed to develop a deeper understanding of business dynamics. That, and a broader, more “global” mindset.
“I knew that to grow in my profession I would need to fill some gaps and address the fact that I had no formal business training. To be honest, this was something of a ‘hidden dream’ for me. To acquire a richer understanding of finance and of the major financial markets – especially the Asian financial infrastructure. And the best way to do this was by going back to school.”
Going back to school led her to the EMBA-Global Asia and London Business School (LBS). “I shopped around for different programmes that would give me the international exposure while helping me understand and work with the underlying mechanisms in investment. Quite frankly, the programme was the best in its class. Not only did it offer the curriculum and faculty, it gave me full access to three of the finest business schools in the world covering the financial centres of North America, Europe and Asia.”
The EMBA-Global Asia is helping Yimin connect dots, she says, building on her expertise in “learning what she does” and enabling her to understand “why she does what she does.” And making this kind of transition from a performance-based dynamic to a more analytical approach has brought a number of benefits, as well as challenges, that inform a fully rounded learning experience. “I’m moving from a more technical perspective to a business mindset. It’s a step-by-step process, but it’s truly transforming the way I think and see problems and opportunities.”
The process is facilitated by world-class faculty from London Business School, Columbia Business School and the University of Hong Kong – professors whose passion for teaching is equal to their academic expertise. They are “simply great,” says Yimin. She has also found tremendous support from Columbia’s Executives in Residence programme, where top business leaders with extensive global experience provide mentorship and advice to programme participants. “It’s a unique opportunity to tap into the combined knowledge and insight of highly experienced international decision-makers. They offer incredible support, helping you to identify and address those personal areas for improvement and sharing diverse perspectives on your industry.”
There’s a diversity, too, within the EMBA-Global Asia cohort that Yimin finds both stimulating and enriching. “The business world is increasingly globalised, and this is absolutely true of finance. Looking at business problems, analysing the megatrends and experiencing how business is done in our major financial centres alongside a highly diversified cohort of other executives is a challenge to really step outside of your comfort zone and see things from a range of new and surprising perspectives.”
The experience, she says, has not only made her more innovative in her thinking, but also helped her to develop a deeper sense of her own values and principles. “In business it’s all too easy to work and think within the confines of your company or organisation. Working as part of a diverse team of fellow learners, you understand quickly that your thinking is not superior, it’s just different. Your own practices, perspectives and values are reflected back to you in a way that makes you think deeply about them. And that can only bring value to you as a person, to your career and of course to your company.”
The EMBA-Global Asia experience has given Yimin a new sense of confidence and momentum to drive forward her professional life. “It’s an interesting time to be working in finance, especially in China where markets are opening up for the first time in history to foreign investors. The opportunities for career progression are there, and the programme is giving me so much: the knowledge, the global exposure, the principles to solve problems, the world-wide network, and perhaps most importantly of all, the confidence to take my career to the next level.”
- Sam Senanayake
- Technology Partner, Ascend Worldwide Advisors
- EMBA-Global Asia (2013)
EMBA-Global students are global connectors. We have impact because of the way that we perceive business and opportunity.
When you attend a business school you take on a brand that's with you for the rest of your life, so making the right decision at the outset is critical. By the time I started investigating postgraduate study options I had already enjoyed a very international lifestyle, living and working in Singapore, Taiwan, the US, Bermuda, and the UK. Travelling extensively, I had seen the world becoming progressively more interconnected, and it was important to me to choose a programme that would augment this perspective. Thorough research eventually led me to EMBA-Global Asia. Studying at three leading business schools and splitting my time between London, New York and Hong Kong offered me the chance to interact with an incredible array of professors and gave me direct access to leading global markets.
Throughout the programme I've been exposed to international companies, been inspired by renowned faculty and speakers, and seen first-hand how business is done in three major global cities. The courses are world-class, although it is the network of people and the colourful mix of classroom experiences that really differentiates this course from others. EMBA-Global Asia students are global connectors. We have impact because of the way that we perceive business and opportunity - we've lived in different countries, moved across different industries and seen how business operates across boundaries and geographies. We're comfortable interacting in different social and commercial contexts and skilled at bridging different groups of people. This allows us to recognise opportunities, picking up an idea in one place and linking it with one somewhere else.
I co-founded a tech start-up serving the sports industry with a couple of schoolmates in London Business School during my MBA. Within the first 12 months, we've signed up several hundred sports facilities in London, we've closed a round of funding and we are planning to expand into other countries soon. Two other classmates initiated a social media start-up in China and a third founded a wind and solar energy company in Japan. This breadth of drive and perspective creates a unique desire to spend as much time as possible with other participants. You want - need - to invest fully in your residential block weeks, to engage and discuss in class and to maximise social interactions. If you don't, you miss out on a crucial part of the programme.
Making EMBA-Global Asia work is about becoming an expert in time management, revising and reading in advance and finding time in the day to study when you won't be disturbed or distracted. I was very lucky that my wife, Angelina, joined the Americas & Europe stream of EMBA-Global the year after me. From the very start, she's been a wellspring of support, something that's paramount when you're juggling work, study and home life with extensive travel. Setting expectations with those close to you is essential, but doing this together means that we've been perfect sounding boards for each other.
- Sue Huey Chuah
- Transaction Advisory Services, EY
- EMBA-Global Asia (2017)
“If you’re thinking about applying for the EMBA-Global, go for it. You’ll come out two years later with a new view of the world. It’s a very powerful platform.”
“After going to one of the best business schools in the world, you can’t possibly ever be the same way again,” says Sue Huey Chuah, EMBA-Global Asia 2017 alum. Although she had heard from EMBA alumni that their two years on the programme had been the best of their lives, Sue found it hard to believe them. Until she arrived at London Business School. “From day one I knew I would be a different person”, she says. “And now everything, from how I make my decisions to how I see the world, has changed forever. It’s still changing, in fact, and will continue to change. It’s a gift that will keep giving for a lifetime.”
Attracted to LBS by the rankings and the alumni she met throughout the course of her pre-EMBA career as a regional product manager for a healthcare technology company in Singapore and investment/portfolio management of US/EU companies, Sue wanted a truly global experience. The EMBA-Global, delivered across three continents and three campuses, was exactly what she was looking for. “I got the benefit of incredible professors and hundreds of students from all over the world, with views so rich and distinctive. If you bring together people with so many collective years of experience in business, the learning is always going to be profound. There’s so much that I draw on every day at work.”
For her, the insights she gleaned from the EMBA-Global on game theory, decision-making and leadership have been invaluable tools for her job. “In a classroom setting with this level of faculty and with such accomplished peers, the best questions and the most meaningful answers are drawn out”, she says. “Now, I see problems with a clear perspective. The EMBA-Global not only enabled me to move to London, but it changed the way that I interact with people, my peers and the senior leaders. The biggest impact is this: When I come to work, I don’t just come to work as me anymore. I come to work with the knowledge that I’m connected to powerful platforms across three different continents.”
Initially daunted by the idea of a move to London, despite previously living in Malaysia, Singapore, San Francisco, Manhattan, Vietnam and briefly, Germany, Sue anticipated an adjustment period when she arrived in the UK. But there wasn’t one. “I had been very comfortable with Asia Pacific, doing business, flying from one country to the other. I could deal with complications because of the familiarity. Here the people or the culture were new. But LBS made it easy: There’s a whole community of people who are very welcoming. I reached out to the EMBA London people and the EMBA Global people who were based in London and it plugged me in very quickly. I had a ready-made network.”
Perhaps the most surprising impact of the EMBA-Global on Sue is that it’s made her more relaxed. She says that running a hectic schedule of both work and study alongside others who are doing the same has given her a new perspective on investing her time. “Places aren’t made up of just systems and processes,” she says. “I used to think so, but now I realise that they’re made of people. I am more relaxed because I know that going forward in my career, I can always solve complex problems by bringing good people together.”
Sue says that the LBS Career Centre were instrumental in helping her crystallize her plans for the future. “They made me think about my career as a whole, not just the next step. Before business school I assumed I would be in Singapore forever. But now I’m in London and it’s snowing outside. I never imagined that I would sit in a deli in Regent’s Park talking to a world-renowned professor about the news, but that kind of informal access to some of the greatest minds in the world happens a lot at LBS. You see a bigger picture. It’s quite a privilege.”
When Sue started the EMBA-Global, she knew that success would be about what she put into it, rather than what she would get out of it. For her, contributing positively to the programme and the community as a whole meant investing in her peers and getting to know the faculty. “The access you have to current and future thought leaders is so valuable”, she says. “If you’re thinking about applying for the EMBA-Global, go for it. You’ll come out two years later with a new view of the world. It’s a very powerful platform.”
- Louis Houdart
- Founder and group CEO, Creative Capital China
- EMBA-Global Asia (2012)
“The programme was a life-changer – certainly one of the best professional experiences I’ve had. It opened doors and gave me confidence.”
Louis Houdart enjoys a steep learning curve. When he started working in China over two decades ago, interning as a brand manager for the wine firm Summergate, he had to learn Mandarin fast. “My assistant didn’t speak any English, my colleagues didn’t speak any English, my customers didn’t speak any English.”
What helped were the cultural similarities he found between China and his native France. “We value relationships, we love food and wine.” He first set up Secret Garden, a Shanghai-based floristry company, then sold it to local buyers after 18 months. “I learnt a lot from working in retail. We had created a B2B department, matching flowers to brands – I realised my key strength was in brand creation.”
He saw the EMBA-Global Asia as an opportunity to spend two years setting up his next business – the branding agency Creative Capital China – while gaining new knowledge and meeting new people. It paid off big-time. “I signed my first client in Beijing while I was still doing the programme,” he recalls.
He says LBS helps people benchmark. “Running a start-up can be cool or it can mean you’re starving. A famous-brand business school is a statement – people see that you’re an entrepreneur by choice. They know that having been to LBS you could have got a very big job somewhere. In Shanghai it gives you instant credibility.”
The programme meant travelling for block weeks of study at London Business School (LBS), Columbia Business School and Hong Kong University – a hectic schedule that’s not unusual for anyone working in China, he says. “This week I’ve been in Korea, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, the UK. In six weeks I’ve only been in Shanghai for five days.”
As founder and group CEO of his company, Louis now works with large Chinese companies moving from manufacturing equipment for other companies to becoming brands. “We help them sell a story,” he explains. “I have an amazing team of more than 30 people now and some very good clients – we have fun.”
Why did he choose LBS? “I thought, ‘If I’m going to spend a lot of money on a programme like this, it had better be a good brand. LBS is definitely the best brand in Europe, HKU is the best brand in Asia and Columbia is one of the top brands in the US. Second, I wanted to gain access to a financial network. LBS is well-connected to the private equity world. So it was the proposition of the alumni.”
Beyond that, he says, he liked the human scale of LBS and its international aspect. “It’s global – you gain real depth. There is something about London that is very special and at the same time when you’re on campus you could be anywhere in the world.”
The career impact was huge. “The programme was a life-changer – certainly one of the best professional experiences I’ve had. It opened doors and gave me confidence. I’m very grateful to it.” He remains close to various members of faculty. “It’s really cool building trust and respect with people,” he says. “And I had a great coach who helped me know myself better and optimise my strengths. It was an amazing journey.”
- Linh Khanh Vu
- Director, Key Hospitality Consulting
- EMBA-Global Asia (2012)
EMBA-Global Asia is a very pragmatic and personalised programme.
I found out about EMBA-Global Asia by talking to alumni. I then started to look at the class profiles and I realised that EMBA-Global Asia was exactly what I'd been looking for. I now think that I was very lucky to have found this programme.
EMBA-Global Asia is a very pragmatic and personalised programme. It really was my EMBA and I could decide what I wanted to get out of it. The world-class faculty and the facilities at each school really helped me.
As an entrepreneur some modules were not directly applicable to me at that point in time, but enabled me to develop skills and ideas ready to implement as my company grows. The core skills in finance and accounting are extremely useful.
EMBA-Global Asia has given me the opportunity to learn a lot about myself and what motivates me, the type of leader I am and want to be. It has forced me to stop and think about where I am in my career and life, how people perceive me and how I perceive myself. Now I can make changes as I have access to great coaching and career services.
- Henri Arslanian
- FinTech and Crypto Leader - Asia, PwC; Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Hong Kong
- EMBA-Global Asia (2014)
“We live in a global business world now. Your academic background should be truly global as well.”Did Henri Arslanian really need to go to business school? In 2012, he was a director in the Prime Brokerage Capital Consulting Team at UBS in Hong Kong, a financial markets and hedge funds expert with two masters degrees in law – one in transnational law from the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, the other in Chinese law from Tsinghua University, Beijing. But he wanted to gain a broader range of skills relevant to today’s business world – from accounting and finance to marketing and strategy. So he decided to join the EMBA-Global Asia programme.
“I’m a big believer that investing in your brain is probably one of the best investments you can make,” he explains. He saw the Executive MBA as a springboard for the next step in his career. Balancing its demands with his role at UBS was pretty intense. “I didn’t take any annual leave for those two years. I always tell people, you need to be fully committed to this, to really want to do it. You can do it in a light-touch way or in a very intense way, but you get out of it what you put in.”
Why this particular programme? He chuckles. “If you get married and it doesn’t work out, you can get separated and then get married again. But it’s very unlikely you’ll do a second MBA. So you’d better choose the right one! I’m a very global individual, personally and professionally, so to do an MBA in one place wouldn’t have made sense. We live in a global business world now. Your academic background should be truly global as well.
“I liked that I could pick and choose the courses I wanted to do from each university. It had a really good global perspective – not only academically but physically, being in three different locations. It also gave me access to three different alumni networks in Europe, America and Asia.” After Henri graduated he was a board member of the London Business School Hong Kong Alumni Club for a number of years.
He recalls the incomparable industry knowledge of his fellow students. “Case studies feature in MBAs around the world but at LBS you meet people from around the world who have first-hand experience. I remember on one private equity course, the professor was giving a case study on a recent telco company acquisition deal and he asked, is anybody familiar with this particular transaction? Well, in the class were an investment banker who had been working on that transaction, the CEO of a direct competitor of the acquired company, an engineer who had designed the assets sold in that transaction as well as an accountant who was working in an advisory firm advising on that transaction. Really showed you the quality of the program and of it students. That was a defining moment for me that I will never forget.”
There were great moments were outside the classroom too, including on a study trip to Brazil, which Henri describes as “a summer camp for adults”. But the real beauty of the Executive MBA is it opens your eyes on topics you didn’t previously understand. “It gives you technical skills in areas you’re not familiar with and it broadens your horizons to think about what’s coming next, what the future is going to hold. It’s about learning, sharing and connecting.”
Most of the people Henri met on the programme changed jobs during or after it. Henri was no exception. Not long after graduating he switched from banking to fintech. After a year at a small start-up he jumped to PwC where he leads the firm’s fintech and regtech [regulatory technology] practice in Hong Kong. He also teaches Entrepreneurship in Finance at Hong Kong University and has published a bestselling book on the same subject. He sits on various boards and even advises the Hong Kong regulator and government.
Henri’s TEDx on how fintech is shaping the future of banking has been watched by nearly 60,000 people. “We are living in the most exciting time in banking history,” he says. “There will be winners and losers in the fintech revolution – some banks will be able to adapt and transform, others won’t. I have a 15-month-old daughter and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if she opens her first bank account with Amazon or Facebook.”
- Anthony Ho-Yin Mak
- Director, Hong Kong Trade Development Council
- EMBA-Global Asia (2014)
Connecting three prestigious schools across three continents is a unique concept and there’s simply no parallel.
Having worked at Hong Kong Trade Development Council since the mid-1990s, in various locations, Anthony is now stationed in New York, promoting Hong Kong’s international financial and trading platform. Anthony was a Section Head Manager when he started the EMBA-Global Asia programme and was promoted to Director in New York after completing the programme in 2014.
I’m trilingual, and lived in France and Canada when I was young. This greatly influenced my global mind-set, giving me the desire to live and work in different countries. Before applying for the EMBA-Global Asia programme, I had already changed location several times to cities including Paris and Moscow, with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and I was looking at a possible move to London or New York. As the business world is increasingly dependent on international networks, I was interested in an education programme that would give me maximum global exposure. Once I’d found EMBA-Global Asia, I didn’t consider any other programme. Connecting three prestigious schools across three continents is a unique concept – there’s simply no parallel.
Relocating with ease
Without a doubt the EMBA-Global Asia programme was a major factor in my relocation from Hong Kong to New York. Having an MBA conferred jointly by London Business School, The University of Hong Kong and Columbia University added enormously to my academic credibility. My employer also appreciated the exposure and connections I’d gained in New York, as well as the benefits of having such an extensive alumni network. At first I was a little bit nervous about taking on a more senior role that would be quite different from what I had been doing in Hong Kong. However, with such a strong network of alumni and faculty support from all three Schools – I have the resources to help me. And although it can be daunting moving to a new city, having spent so much time in New York during the programme, I felt settled within the first few weeks of my relocation.
Completing the EMBA-Global programme was certainly a challenging experience – my career was already demanding, and the coursework was very intense. The communication from the three partner schools was excellent and essential in making my time away possible. The entire programme was exceptionally facilitated; study agendas were provided well in advance, so my colleagues and I knew precisely when I would be away, enabling us to work around those periods of absence.
My international assignment in Rio de Janeiro was an eye-opener. It was the first time I’d been to South America and I was fascinated by how Brazil’s emerging economy is vastly expanding. I had no idea that South America was so diverse – learning about the economic conditions across the different countries was extremely useful. Part of my new role in New York is to supervise the work of South American agents, so having a better understanding of the continent helps me to communicate more effectively.
Working with faculty
Being appointed as our class Academic Representative was an enriching experience. The diversity of the student group, whether it’s the different academic and professional backgrounds, areas of expertise or cultural upbringing, is one of the programme’s great strengths. My role as representative was to provide faculty with insights to the varying needs of our class. This fed directly into my line of work, as channelling different ideas and opinions, and bringing people together to facilitate communication is an important part of what I do.
On a professional level, the programme gave me a secure grounding in some essential hard skills that I’ve fed into my new role, including marketing aspects of offshore RMB business, fundraising and international M&A for Chinese enterprises. The electives I chose including entrepreneurial finance, corporate merger and restructuring, have given me crucial insights into corporate decision-making. On a personal level, the programme gave me a great deal of endorsement and opened many doors, allowing me to develop my career and build strong friendships around the world.
- Dave Nash
- Asia Operations Manager, Kyani
- EMBA-Global Asia (2015)
Attending the EMBA-Global Asia programme was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
- Emma Lu
- HR Director (China), ConAgra Foods
- EMBA-Global Asia (2012)
I could continue working while studying and was able to adopt and implement what I learnt immediately.
I decided to apply to the EMBA-Global Asia programme to pursue a premium education and gain international exposure. I wanted to feel more confident in dealing with complex business situations, advance my career to the next level, and develop an alumni network that I can call upon for the rest of my life.
Due to the fact that I could continue working while studying, I was able to adopt and implement what I learnt immediately. I have found that my efficiency at work has greatly improved and I have also learnt to manage my time better to balance my work, study and other commitments.
In the long term, this programme will help me to accelerate my career development in two ways. One is advanced professional expertise, which enables me to be qualified for more challenging roles. The other is the rich global network, through which I have access to a diverse source of information and useful resources to help me make the right decision, find the right job or business opportunity.
- Igor Gorshunov
- CFO, Yugragazpererabotka
- EMBA-Global Asia (2015)
On the EMBA-Global Asia programme you feel like you are connected to something big and important. The programme puts you on the edge!
- Ivan Shyr
- Investment Director, Sussex Place Ventures
- EMBA-Global Asia (2011)
The creditability of my arguments and logic has increased co-workers' awareness of my opinions and suggestions.
I decided to apply for EMBA-Global Asia because I got to a point in my career where I was given the responsibility to make corporate-level business decisions that had an immediate impact on the future of the company. I felt I needed to expand my exposure to a broader set of tools and knowledge to analyse the situations thoroughly and make the most informed decisions. I hoped that EMBA-Global Asia would give me the well-rounded knowledge and skills to look at problems from a variety of angles so that I would be a better manager of people, processes and critical decisions.
The EMBA-Global Asia programme has had a direct impact on my day-to-day activities at my job. During meetings, I am able to provide concrete examples and reasoning for my suggestions. I often develop these suggestions based on analysis techniques referencing an idea from one of my professors. The creditability of my arguments and logic has increased co-workers' awareness of my opinions and suggestions. I am transitioning my role in the company to focus more on finance. Learning from classmates whom are already well established in the finance industry and have a wealth of practical knowledge has been invaluable.
The past year and a half has been life-changing. I've met amazing people, developed new friendships, and been given the opportunity to stretch my horizons and learn new skills. Looking back, I would make the same choice again.
- Qingru Zhang
- Founder & CEO, eBrandingChina (Hong Kong) Ltd
- EMBA-Global Asia (2015)
After only studying for a while, I have already changed my business strategy!
- Thomas Wong
- Managing Director, ADV Partners
- EMBA-Global Asia (2013)
Meet Thomas, the alumnus whose dual citizenship meant he was ‘born’ to join the partnership programme, EMBA-Global Asia.
“The atmosphere and vibe of learning at the core of a global financial centre is simply different to being elsewhere.” Meet Thomas, the alumnus whose dual citizenship meant he was ‘born’ to join the partnership programme, EMBA-Global Asia, between London and Columbia Business School and the University of Hong Kong. When Thomas considered an MBA, he was faced with tangible work challenges: to identify attractive investment opportunities globally, across multiple industry sectors. Once he’d closed an investment, he was then tasked with monitoring it, ensuring it had the right management team in place and was operating in-line with industry-wide best practices.
“The trio of school networks have helped me significantly broaden my opportunity sourcing channels,” says Thomas. “The networks have also helped me in my current job where I’m responsible for investor relations/marketing. Alumni from all three schools help narrow down the prospective clients I need to reach out to – they have been generous in sharing their contacts, ideas and experiences.”
Thomas, in the long-term, aspires to build a successful global investment franchise with a multicultural, multi-generational team of diverse backgrounds, and, he says, the extensive alumni network has helped bring his goal ever-closer.
“The diverse network of my classmates will help me to build broader linkages and identify top, like-minded talent. With their help I will better identify new investment opportunities and potential investors – two of the biggest business challenges facing anyone in the investment business,” Thomas says.
“Learning in three different cities on different campuses has allowed me to travel to and experience three corners of the world and gain first-hand experience on cultural nuances and working preferences. Each of these cities offered me useful links to North American, European and Asian business environments.”
The network has an inclusive feel according to Thomas, who says: “Wherever you are in the world, you will almost certainly find someone who’s involved in working in your area of interest and understands the local business practices. But most importantly, we are bonded together by a common interest.
“The EMBA-Global Asia network is continuing to grow and will only become stronger as the brand attracts other business leaders.”
For anyone considering EMBA-Global Asia: Thomas shares his message. “Not only will you benefit from the outstanding networks and world-class faculty at the three universities, but you’ll harness the synergies from collaborative efforts of three universities – providing a truly global professional education. You will form bonds that can only serve to benefit you in ways which, until realised, will remain unknown.”
- Travis Ledwith
- Co-Founder, Flip Bank
- EMBA-Global Asia (2014)
Doing the programme from New York to Hong Kong and London, exposes you to the latest innovations coming out of these regions.