Part-time MBA

Ariel Lai

Ariel Lai
Class of 2020
Hong Kong

Industry: Education
Company: Learnovate Academy
Job Title: Founder & Director 

The HKU MBA programme has been an integral part of my entrepreneurial journey. It has been a great experience and has totally changed my life; I cannot describe how much I appreciate this programme for what it has done for me.

Education is something that I feel very passionate about. Thanks to the MBA, I am now running my own start-up within the children’s education industry, leveraging technology to teach young children, from kindergarten to secondary school, a range of subjects including STEM, foreign languages and soft-skill learning. I am very happy to be running this business right now as I am making a positive impact on my student’s lives and on the education industry in Hong Kong. I feel that I am in the right place.

Prior to my MBA I had over 10 years of experience within the banking and finance industry. I was laid off during the global financial crises and from that moment on I felt that the banking industry was not sustainable enough for a long-term career. I then explored, initiated but ultimately failed multiple start-up projects. I believed that the root cause of the failures was my lack of management skills so I decided to go back to school and join a MBA programme.

I received multiple admission offers from esteemed universities from around the world, but HKU was the only real choice given its prestigious brand name, strong alumni connections, and the outstanding teaching faculty and research team it had to offer. The flexibility of the MBA programme was suitable for my transition from the banking industry into entrepreneurship. I was able to complete all the required modules within 12 months of starting and was able to apply my knowledge to my own start-up immediately.

Studying the MBA was significantly helpful for me to build and grow my start-up. My journey with HKU MBA began in 2019 and I quickly discovered that I could advance my entrepreneurial and management skills significantly enough to develop my organisation to the international level during my studies.

The professors were excellent as they gave me a lot of practical advice which I was then able to utilise for my business. I still keep in contact with some of the professors as we have since become good friends.

I am very positive about my HKU MBA experience as it provided all the aspects of managerial and career development. I also gained a lot of support and help from HKU alumni for my own business.

My start-up received backing from few angel investors within a year of me completing my MBA at HKU. I owe this to the education I received from the programme, as well as the networks I was able to cultivate whilst I was there and throughout my corporate working experience.

Being a full-time mother of two, while working full time and studying was daunting, but the modular programme was easy to follow and the teamwork on each project task was outstanding. The campus location at Admiralty Centre was a great benefit to me as it allowed me to use my time efficiently and wisely due to its ease of access.

I found that the MBA programme at HKU works well for seasoned professionals as the course allows for a flexible schedule. The programme is also great for fostering new ideas for business development and exploration.