本インタビューは、2015年9月に行った、HKUST在校生によるHKUSTアドミッションスタッフへのインタビュー記事になります。アドミッションの責任者であるGary Lo (Head of Admissions and Marketing)と日本のアドミッションを担当しているTowni Lao (North Asia, Admissions and Marketing)に対して、2015年入学のYusukeとKazuがインタビューを実施しました。
HKUSTはFinanceを主軸に置きながらも、総合大学である利点を活かして他学部との交流を通じてEntrepreneurshipを強化していくという言葉が印象的でした。HKUSTは情熱的で、オープンマインドで、協調的な人を求めています。そのため、TOEFL/GMATのテストスコアについては一定の基準は設けているが、最終的に受験者のパーソナリティを重視して総合的に判断しているようです。受験の際にはWhy MBA? Why HKUST?はもちろんのこと、自分の価値観を全面に出してアピールできるように準備しておくと良いと感じました。（Kazu）
以前はアジアのアプリカントは、欧米のスクールにより興味を持っていたが、特に近年、日本やASEAN各国のアプリカントがアジアのビジネススクールへの関心を高めていると感じる。アジアにフォーカスした世界トップクラスの教育を提供できていると感じる。日本人MBA学生がHKUSTで増えた理由は、より優秀なアプリカントの出願がHKUSTで増えており、実際に日本人学生によるJapan ClubのJapantrekはHKUST MBAのイベントの中でも、大きな注目をあつめるイベントの１つとなっている。
Q1 : What has been the general trend (increase/decrease) in the number of candidates both applying and accepted over the past 5 years? (Yusuke)
In the past, more Asians applicants were interested in American and European schools. These days, we have seen a higher growth of applications from Asia, especially in Japan and the ASEAN countries. This is because expectations on the Asian markets have been growing. More and more applicants want to remain in Asia where the opportunities are.
We believe applicants are increasingly drawn by our unique positioning: we are a world class institution that provides an international experience as well as an Asia focused network and curriculum. To cater to the increasing demand of well-rounded talents in Asia, we have also been strengthening the diversity of our curriculum, and developing our entrepreneurship and consulting tracks, in addition to our well established finance, general management and marketing streams.
One of the advantages of studying at HKUST is we are a public university instead of just a business school. Our MBA students can leverage on the university’s resources, connecting with other departments and exploring different business and career opportunities across the university. For example, one of our Japanese students and his American classmate teamed up with the engineering students and helped them develop a business plan for their latest digital technology. This kind of unique learning experience is particularly appreciated by our MBA students.
Q2: The admission team accepted more Japanese students in this year compared to the past. Why increased so much? (Kazu)
The increment is due to more high quality applications we have received from Japanese candidates. We also found having more Japanese students in the program beneficial for the overall learning experience of the class. Due to Japan’s unique culture and business environment, many students from other countries are keen to learn more about the Japanese culture and business etiquette.
In fact, the Japan trek organized by the Japan Club, which includes company visits, cultural activities and networking events in different Japanese cities, is one of the most anticipated events among our class every year. We are delighted to see the growth of our Japanese students in the class.
That said, the number of Japanese students we have fluctuate every year depending on the quality of applications we receive, and how much diversity the students can bring into the classroom.
Q3: A significant percentage of MBA applicants from Japan are sponsored by their company or organization. How do you view sponsored applicants who will return to their companies after completing the MBA? (Yusuke)
When we evaluate a candidate, we will consider different criteria, including his/her professional background, career progression, test scores, motivation, interview performance, etc. As long as he/she is a strong and committed candidate, we are neutral as to whether that person has a company sponsorship or not.
Q4 : If applicants only have domestic professional experience, in what ways can they strengthen their applications to show their potential for success in your program? (Yusuke)
Having professional experience abroad is not a must. In fact, a number of our students do an MBA because they want to get more international experience in the first place. What matters to us is whether the applicant can prove they can succeed in our highly diversified and international learning environment, and contribute to their classmates and the program.
If a candidate has worked with multicultural teams or regional projects in a domestic company, that might be considered as a plus as well. Apart from work, overseas study experience will also be taken into consideration.
Q5: What key areas are assessed in the interview? And how do you assess fit between your program and applicants? (Yusuke)
If you have been invited to our interviews, it means we appreciate your profile and background and see you as a potential fit with our class. During the interview, two of the key things that we want to assess are your communication and interpersonal skills, which are critical for succeeding in our highly diversified and dynamic class. The cultural fit is also important to us. We particularly value individuals who are passionate, open-minded and collaborative, as this culture defines HKUST and allows us to achieve so much in our short history.
So in the interviews, we will not only ask questions such as “Why MBA?” and “Why HKUST?” but also more personal questions in order to better understand the applicant as a person.
Q6: What range of speaking and listening sub-scores do you like to see on the TOEFL? (Kazu)
We prefer a score of around 22-30 for both speaking and listening in TOEFL. However, it is possible to compensate a weak score with other outstanding traits of the application or interview performance. Overall communication skills are more important since English is the only language students use both inside and outside classrooms due to the diversity of our class.
Q7: What is the average range of Verbal and A.W.A. scores for admitted, non-native English speaking applicants? (Kazu)
We consider a percentile of 50% to be the average of our Asian applicants. The typical GMAT range of our class is 570-710. Again, like TOEFL, the score is not everything. Distinguished work experience or a strong undergraduate performance can help with weak GMAT scores.
Q8: Are there any tracks, concentrations, electives or extra-curricular activities that are very popular among your students? (Yusuke)
A lot of students chose HKUST to gain more international experience and practical exposure in their targeted fields. Here are some of the programs and activities which are particularly popular among the students.
Global Exchange Program: The exchange opportunity is guaranteed for our full-time MBA students since we have 60 exchange school partners in 19 countries. North American and European schools such as London Business School, Columbia, Wharton, NYU, Kellogg and UCLA are particularly popular among our students since they can gain a western exposure to complement their studies at HKUST in Asia.We are also part of Yale’s Global Network for Advanced Management, which means our students can choose to study an elective course at Yale, IE, HEC or other partner schools like a mini-exchange program.
Career Treks: Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai are the top three cities for our graduates to work in. In addition to organizing lots of company and recruitment events in Hong Kong, our Career Office also conducts career treks to Singapore and Shanghai to connect our students with recruiters there as well.
International Business Competitions: We sponsor more than half of our students to participate in overseas case and business plan competitions. Students will compete in teams against other top MBA schools like Columbia, LBS, Berkeley, Stanford and Chicago, working on different cases and getting professional feedback from senior executives like in the real world setting.
Action Learning Courses: In courses like Consulting Skills for Managers, Luxury Strategy and Business Transformation, students are required to work with real companies in actual projects. For example, in the Luxury Strategy course last year, the professor lined up our students with Hermès. Each team was required to interview executives working at Hermès, perform business analysis and research, and present their recommendations to its senior management as part of the coursework.
Q9: What would you like more people to know about your school? (Kazu)
Doing an MBA is a big decision in life. We encourage our candidates to learn more about the uniqueness of different programs to find the best option which fits their goals and interests the most.
HKUST MBA is the only program which can offers you a truly international experience with exposure to both Asia and China business. We see it as our mission to develop future leaders of Asia. With Asia spearheading the global economy, we are, in other words, also developing leaders for the world.
MBAアドミッションスタッフとIntake2015(Full-Time 2017)のメンバで。左から、Yoshi(Intake 2015)、Shogo(Intake 2015)、Naoto(Intake 2015)、Gary、Towni、Kazu(Intake 2015)、Yusuke(Intake 2015)。