Part-time MBA

Geeseok Oh

Geeseok Oh
Class of 2019
South Korea

Industry: Fintech
CompanyQraft AI ETFs, Hong Kong
Job Title: Managing Director, Head of APAC office

My name is Geeseok and I am from Korea. I am the Managing Director at Qraft AI ETFs, an investment firm that adapts AI technology to innovate the inefficiencies found in today’s asset management firms. We see many inefficiencies during the trading process of the traditional ETF industry, including the cost and waiting time, so we try to use AI technology to minimise these inefficiencies.

When I started as a Vice President at DIREXION I found that I lacked the soft skills, such as negotiation and leadership, that are crucial for a leader to have. It made me realise that doing an MBA could help me to learn and to adopt these skills quickly.

I decided to take the Part-time MBA as I did not want to risk quitting my full time job. The location of the school was extremely important to me as I wanted to keep the travel time between school and work to a minimum. The HKU Business School attracted me with its extremely accessible location on Hong Kong island. The town centre campus is situated right in the heart of Hong Kong’s CBD making it very easy for me to attend seminars and to meet my group mates when working on group projects. The other campus, Cyberport where I normally attended class, is only half an hour’s travel from the CBD.

The diverse and inclusive vibe of HKU MBA was definitely another key factor for me in joining the school. An MBA is not just a qualification but it is an extension to my professional career as well.

The HKU MBA benefited me as I was able to change my job halfway through my course, to the world largest mutual fund company, Vanguard. The programme was hugely beneficial to me, with two subjects being of particular benefit. The first course was “Negotiation and influencing skills for business”. This course was very practical and helped me to demonstrate some of the skills I learned immediately in my job. The second was “Organisation leadership” which benefited me by changing my mindset and allowing me to grow my managerial skills.

One of the sessions that I remember clearly is when the professor asked us to set up a frame for a presentation. I needed to think of an efficient way to deliver my thoughts, and to convince others to buy my story. It is still applicable in my current role now and I believe everyone in the class benefited from that lesson.

HKU is very diverse. My cohorts came from all walks of life. I found that my perspective and mindset was limited by spending so many years in the same industry surrounded by similar people. The MBA at HKU allowed me to spend a good time debating with my cohorts which in turn inspired me to build my knowledge and expertise. It was a win-win situation as I was able to keep my job while accelerating my career to another level.

The MBA also gave me some perspectives on the industry I work in. AI has some misconceptions. Some people think that AI can do anything but this is not true. What AI can do is to identify patterns in non-random data which can be applied to facial recognition, for example. However there are still many loopholes when it comes to AI leading to inefficiencies. What is foreseeable is that AI could deliver great value to society. I believe AI can radically change our lifestyle, and that this technology benefits society as a whole.

Some may wonder if AI will eventually replace humans one day but I do not have an answer for that now. One thing we have to do is to adapt and live with the change, and to be innovative while remaining ourselves.

If I could give advice to an aspiring MBA student it would be that you never know until you try! However, do not be ambiguous in your reasoning for doing an MBA. Only pursue an MBA if you feel it necessary. If you do an MBA then be open to different opinions and to advice given by others as their experiences may inspire you to look at things from a different angle.