Student Stories

12.07.2019

How MBA Has Changed My Life – Yoshifumi Morita

1. Why did you decide to do an MBA and how has the experience transformed you?

My main goal in pursuing an MBA was to broaden my career opportunities. Before joining HKUST, I had already worked for more than five years at one of Japan’s largest corporate banks in relationship management, covering both listed and private companies. I was eager to try something new to expand my horizons, and being in my late 20s, I felt that this was a good time to switch my career focus.

My MBA experience at HKUST was life-changing, to say the least. It empowered me to explore my career potential. I gained solid experience through internships in a private equity fund, a hedge fund, and an M&A role at a listed company. In addition, I learned a lot not only from the professors but also from my fellow classmates and alumni, who greatly motivated me and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone.

2. How did Hong Kong and HKUST become your top choice for doing the MBA?

Location was one of the most important factors when I chose my MBA program. To me, Asia is the most vibrant region in the world. Having already closed a couple of cross-border deals between Japan and other Asian countries, I was inclined to look for an MBA program in Asia.

As the world’s prime financial hub, Hong Kong seemed to be the perfect place for someone with my banking background, and also the best choice in Asia, given the advantage of its geographical location as a gateway to China. I was determined to stay in Asian business post-MBA, and it was important to choose a place that could provide relevant internship opportunities during my studies.

I chose HKUST because of its amazing diversity. In my class, we had 30 nationalities represented among around 100 students. This has equipped me well for succeeding in a global business setting.


Yoshi (second from the right) and his core group teammates.

3. In what ways do you think the MBA has prepared you for your career development?

The network and global exposure HKUST offered were the key factors that drove my professional advancement.

After graduating from the program, I took up a cross-border M&A advisory role at a Japanese bank, where my duties covered deals from origination to execution. My counterparts on the sell-side were at Managing Director level in a range of Asian countries, such as Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand. Due to HKUST MBA’s diverse environment, I was well equipped to operate in such circumstances.

I obtained my internship opportunities through networking events and the help of the Career and Development Office. Thanks to the power of the MBA alumni network, I got invited to internship interviews and received an interesting offer in the M&A field.

I spent two years in my first post-MBA position, where I had the opportunity to cover a wide variety of transactions in terms of region, business scope, and deal process. I have recently taken a new position at PwC as an M&A advisor, which is different from my previous role and will help me develop my career further.

4. What do you think about the student body at HKUST MBA?

The diversity was exceptional. We were all assigned to a core group of four students in the beginning of our MBA journey. My core group teammates were from India, France, and China, and they used to work in healthcare, engineering, and product management. Our wildly different backgrounds allowed us to learn from each other while contributing to the team in a unique manner.

Each of us took turns to take the lead in various projects, and we helped each other both in and beyond the classroom. It was a challenging journey that pushed me to my limits, but has left me with fond memories to look back on.
 
I also participated in a U.S. case competition with teammates from Portugal, Turkey and China. We managed to win the qualifying round at HKUST and join the “24-Hour Case Competition” in Illinois. This is another special memory from my MBA program.

Yoshi (left) and his teammates at the case competition in the U.S.
 
5. Were you able to apply what you learnt from the courses at work?

Definitely. I took the course “Applied Merger and Acquisition”, which perfectly matched my summer internship role—a crucial turning point in my career. It was very rewarding to apply the knowledge and tips learned in class immediately at work the next day.

The “Enhancing Professional Skills” course sharpened my strategic thinking and presentation skill before the case competition. While the weeklong training was very intensive, it was a valuable opportunity to see how I could maximize my potential.

6. Can you tell us about one of your most memorable experiences at HKUST MBA?

I had so many unforgettable moments during my MBA journey, including the case competition, career trek to Singapore, international night, basketball tournament, and boat trips. But if I had to choose one, it would be the MBA Ball, as this was a wonderful night that concluded what we achieved, and will always remind me of being a part of the HKUST MBA community.
 
Actually, my MBA journey has continued even after graduation, just in a different format. We all remain a part of each other’s lives, as lifelong friends. I truly appreciate the HKUST MBA experience and its abundant contribution to my life.

Yoshi (left) with fellow students from the class of 2017.


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