The Chinese University Hong Kong (CUHK) Q+A
Diana Gineva headed straight from a Bachelors in International Business in Germany to the CUHK MBA in Hong Kong, and has now landed a job as an M&A consultant.
Where are you from and how old are you?
I come originally from Varna, Bulgaria and I am 23 years old.
What was your first degree?
I studied International Business at Reutlingen University in Reutlingen, Germany. A bilingual programme in English and German, including two six-month internships.
Where were you working before Chinese University Hong Kong?
Before my MBA degree I did two six-month internships during my Bachelor studies in the finance industry. First at Deka Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, in the Risk and Finance department and then at Allianz Bank in Varna, Bulgaria, in the Loans department.
Why did you decide to do an MBA?
An MBA degree has always been a part of my education plan. My undergraduate program consisted of a dual degree programme with a Bachelor degree from Reutlingen University and an MBA degree from CUHK. One of the reasons I chose this programme was the opportunity to do an MBA at an earlier stage, before having any full-time working experience.
What kind of skills did you want to acquire in particular?
From what I have heard from former MBA students, I expected the MBA programme to have a rather practical approach, involving a lot of case studies, class discussions and group work. I also wanted to further develop my intercultural competence and knowledge of Asian culture and customs.
I also expected to meet with many industry professionals, such as CUHK alumni, professors and guest speakers. Fortunately, most of my expectations have been met and even exceeded during the course of my MBA studies!
How did you first hear of CUHK's MBA programme?
I first heard of CUHK’s MBA at my German university when I was choosing a partner university for my MBA. I did some additional research on my own and spoke to former CUHK graduates, who were very positive impression about the university and the location.
Did you get a scholarship?
I was offered an entrance scholarship by the MBA office, reflecting my undergraduate academic records and extracurricular involvement during my undergraduate studies. After the second term at CUHK I was also nominated for the Haitong International Securities Group New Generation Leaders Scholarship.
I think I got the scholarship because of my contributions outside the classroom: I’m an events co-ordinator at the Finance club, and participated in the Hult Global Case Competition in Shanghai.
When will you complete the program?
The MBA programme at CUHK can be finished within 12 or 16 months, depending on whether you want to go for an exchange during the fall of the second year. However, I decided to finish my classes within 12 months. Almost all classes are based on group projects with a mixture of oral presentation and written papers, so there’s no explicit final thesis on one topic.
Whom would you recommend CUHK to?
Definitely any business student who wants more knowledge, experience and contacts in the growing Asian markets.
Is there a moment you’ve particularly enjoyed so far?
At the beginning of the program everyone had to participate in the Outward Bound outdoor teambuilding exercise for five days. Although it was very challenging physically and mentally, I’d say it was one of my favourite moments because I learned a lot about myself and managed to overcome challenges I never thought I would be capable of. I also learned a lot about team spirit and the importance of leadership and trust.
How is life in Hong Kong compared to Europe?
Life is much more dynamic and busy here than in Europe, both because of the size of the city and the dense population, and because of the different culture. Having said that I adapted very quickly and I’ve enjoyed the new experiences of the past year. I learned a lot about the Asian culture and customs, met many interesting people, and finally decided on my career path.
Do you know what you'll be doing next year?
After finishing my studies in August I’ll go back to Frankfurt, Germany, for my first full-time job as a Junior Consultant at a UK strategy and Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) consultancy firm. I’m very excited because I was able to find exactly what I was looking for, and hope that I’ll develop my knowledge and skills and get involved in interesting international projects.
And what would you like to do in five to ten years?
My ultimate career goal would be a higher level position in M&A. I’d probably like to change locations every couple of years in order to experience as much as possible and explore every opportunity that comes my way.