MBA life: take risk when searching for job
Yun Jee-sun (Lena Yun), 34, graduated from the MBA program of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in 2008 and is now a senior consultant at Samjong KPMG, a consulting and accounting firm. Until 2007, she was a sales manager at Rofin Baasel Korea, a maker of industrial devices.
How did you come to the consulting industry?
I didn’t know much about the consulting profession until I went to HKUST, though I always wanted to expand my role beyond sales. Many MBA students wanted to work in the consulting or the investment banking industry, and I also learned about the profession from classes.
Was it easy to be a consultant?
I finished my MBA in 2008, when we were in the middle of the global financial crisis. Consulting firms were not hiring anyone and I didn’t even have a consulting background. So I decided to do an internship first — at Bearing Point, a consulting firm, which was later merged into Samjong KPMG.
How long did it take to become a full-time offer?
I became a full-time consultant after my first project, which lasted four months from July to October.
So you made a big impression as an intern.
I was lucky, too. When I first applied for the intern position, they asked me did I really want it because I had work experience as well as an MBA degree — over-qualified. But I said I didn’t care, and took the opportunity. I think that left an impression.
How was the pay, then?
It was just an intern’s pay — small, but not too small.
When you first considered doing an MBA, why did you choose HKUST?
I was looking for a one-year course in Europe and I didn’t want to go to the U.S. because most U.S. schools had two-year programs. Then I came across with HKUST at an MBA fair and the school looks like a good fit to me, because I was interested in doing business in or with China. The school and I seemed to be going into the same direction. I also got a scholarship.
Did you learn Chinese before going to Hong Kong?
I learned Chinese during my college days and I wanted to work in a business related to China. That was how I joined the international sales team at Rofin Baasel Korea. But these days, my work is mostly domestic oriented and I haven’t had chance to use Chinese here.
Who was your favorite teacher at HKUST?
His name was Marcus Schuetz and he formerly worked for Boston Consulting Group in Shanghai as a consultant. He taught “Strategy in Uncertainty in China,” which was a very practical case. He always used real-life cases out of his experience as a consultant and provided a foreigner’s view on doing business in China. I was influenced by his class when I decided to go into consulting.
Interview by Cho Jin-seo