Student Stories


For the love of learning – Gary Lo

The excitement of learning was only partly on Gary Lo’s mind when he enrolled in the part-time MBA program. As a marketing manager who was happy in his job, he wasn’t looking for drastic changes, just a chance to speed up the pace of his career and open up new opportunities. He got all these things and more: the thrill of re-discovering the joy of learning.

A challenging start

The transition to managing MBA studies alongside a full-time job immediately required Gary to make some adjustments to his life.

With a career in marketing, he usually left office at around 8 to 9 in the evening. With Saturday classes, homework and reading fitting into a job and family, it admittedly started off a little roughly.

“In the first semester, we were required to study the core course, Financial Accounting. For people without prior accounting training like me, the experience at first could be quite challenging,” Gary said.

But the young executive soon learnt the secrets to leading a balanced life once again – through good time management and a right mindset.

The balance

“At work, I became much more efficient because I no longer had the luxury of time to delay my tasks to another day,” he said. “And I always planned my weekly schedule ahead to make sure I maintained a certain balance among work, studies and life.”

On Tuesday nights, Gary always had meetings with his teammates. Friday evenings were dedicated to class preparations. Saturdays were reserved for MBA lessons. Sunday mornings were for doing catch-ups after class. “But I left Saturday nights and the remaining time on Sundays alone so I always had time for family and fun,” he said.

Gary spent around six hours on his MBA weekly. But what about the time for attending classes? “When I met with my classmates, I treated it as a social gathering. Six hours a week are not that heavy. If you think about it this way, you will be able to enjoy your MBA much more.”

The fond memories

There were also countless memorable experiences, such as the residential program at the start of the course, boat trip, Christmas ball and, most especially, a one-semester exchange to the University of Southern California, where Gary quit his job to go but quickly found a new position when he returned.

To conclude his whole MBA journey, Gary stated that some sacrifices in one’s leisure time were necessary. Yet, two years here had trained him to be a lifelong learner. “I am no longer satisfied flopping in front of the television and I have continued to do other courses. The HKUST MBA program changes your habits – you want to seek things out to enrich yourself,” he said.

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