I am originally from a small country called Liechtenstein, which is a very attractive location in the heart of Europe on the banks of the Rhine between Switzerland and Austria. I moved to Hong Kong in 2014.
My background is in trust and corporate services and I worked in that industry for 20 years. My move to Hong Kong came after I was hand-picked by my previous employer at the age of 30 to challenge my career with an international assignment for 2 years.
I started my business consultancy company almost 2 years ago. It is a company focusing on business people, families, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals who are looking to set up businesses in Hong Kong. We advise on wealth planning, in particular asset protection and succession planning solutions. While living in Hong Kong I noticed that a lot of expats were setting up companies, but they were not familiar with the local environment, leading the businesses to fail or end up in chaos. This was something I witnessed over and over again for 7 years. My consultancy supports these companies and is a supporting bridge between Europe and China. Some of my partners and clients are overseas, using Hong Kong for strategic reasons as an entry point to China. We are basically a one-stop shop for setting up, running and organising a company.
Before starting the MBA I was already a company director, but the MBA started to totally reshape my thinking. I started to rethink our company goals and plans, and I was questioning the group’s strategy and where we would see ourselves in 5 years’ time. My mind was switching from the old school business knowledge I always knew. The MBA gave me a brighter overview of marketing strategies, strategic management and business entrepreneurship. When I am advising my clients these days I refer a lot to what I learnt on the MBA; I believe it really gave me that extra boost to be successful today.
Choosing the right business school
Being from Liechtenstein, which is a wealthy country and a bit of a “golden cage”, I found Hong Kong very competitive. There was competition with everything even down to education: everyone needed and wanted a university degree.
Living in Hong Kong you have a lot of choice when it comes to which university to choose. A lot of universities from around the world have partnerships with various universities in Hong Kong. For me it was important to choose a university that had a solid history and good reputation. Coming from a small European country, it was crucial to choose somewhere that would be known in Europe and seen with high esteem. My choices were down to London and Manchester and the final pull to Manchester was because it had an actual campus in Hong Kong rather than just a partnership with a domestic university. Even though I was in Hong Kong I had direct access to Manchester and spent some time studying there for some of my electives, as well as travelling to Manchester for graduation. I knew Manchester was also a good choice as everyone back home has heard of it through the two major football teams and its famously large economy.
Deciding to study at Manchester was definitely the right decision when it came to taking an entrepreneurial path. It took me two years post-MBA to make the jump into starting my own company, but using the knowledge and skills I learnt on the Global MBA helped me to take this step in my career.
My time on the MBA
The best part about studying the Global Part-time MBA was being given the chance to meet amazing people from all over the world. In Hong Kong, some of my classmates gave me a nickname on the programme, ”CEO” meaning chief entertainment officer. Whenever we had students come to study electives from abroad, I was the one who would get to know them, take them out and show them around after our intense but great workshops. I was even the reason that two classmates are now married 4 years later and expecting their first child. I am an outgoing person, a social butterfly, and I really enjoyed meeting people and having friends across the world, with some of them still in touch on a daily basis.
I decided to study the Global Part-time MBA over the Full-time MBA as I was already in a leading executive position and I was in the middle of growing my career, so studying part time was more convenient. I was Executive Director when I started my MBA and when I finished I was Managing Director of a Chinese company and part of the group board. Being a full-time student was never an option as I wanted to continue to flourish in my career, but an MBA was important to complete my portfolio of knowledge.
Entrepreneurship and studying the MBA
I do believe an MBA is a good path for those who have an entrepreneurial flair. These days I feel a lot of people study an MBA as a tick box exercise to have the letters on their CV. For me it was a chance to learn more about strategies and case studies to help me on my journey to becoming an entrepreneur. Before I began the MBA I had a clear goal in my head, so I was able to take away the knowledge from the MBA that I needed to grow my career.
As an entrepreneur, I believe an MBA will really help you to focus on business strategy: it helps reshape your focus and mind, and it channels the knowledge you already have into the right direction. The MBA helps you to understand an entrepreneur’s way of thinking, I do believe it is definitely a benefit if entrepreneurship is a path you are looking at going down.