Hi Career Tools,

I have been struggling with my mba decision, and would like to get the forum's opinion on it.

I have a N.A degree, and have been working in a major telecom in Canada for the last 8 years.

I have acceptances from 2 business schools.

One is a North American schools, which has decent reputation and ranking. There is no internship or exchange program with this school.

The other one is in Hong Kong. The school is ranked 16th and 11th in the world by Financial Times and the Economist, but I don't think many people know it in North America. (Taught in English, of course). This program does have internship and exchange program, with which I will likely choose to go to a top school in N.A or even Europe.

Although I was originally from the Asia region and moved to N.A at a young age, I do want to expand my horizon with my MBA experience. Overall, the Hong Kong one is probably going to give me better education experience. I do know that the person himself and the career experience are more important than the degree, but in choosing a MBA program, the school's name/reputation is an important too.

1. I wonder if you think the Hong Kong school will limit me to only stay in Asia.

2. How will the degree from the HK school be viewed in N.A. or other regions of the world given that it may not be well known to people outside the region.

3. Does it help to add/enhance the reputation in my resume if I state the ranking of the school and my exchange experience to other top schools (possibly ivey league schools, duke, london business school...etc)

Thanks in advance,

entelecheia's picture

Have you considered coming to the UK?

I started at Henley this year and it is superb. They run a mixture of full-time, executive and distance learning MBAs. The school is top-ranked in Europe and has an International Reputation. I believe that it is the oldest business school in the UK.

I love the place - the courses are superb and the campus wonderful.

I am going the Distance Learning MBA because it fits in with my schedule - even though I live close by. There are several US people on my intake who value the European connection and the fees being much lower than comperable US business schools.

Best of luck with your choice!

Jazzman's picture
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My opinion:

Unless you're going to one of the top three or four schools in the world, the name on the resume doesn't mean anything.  Even for the top schools, the name isn't that important to a resume.  The value of a top school is the quality of students it attracts and the resulting relationships. 

What's important about your choice is your performance.  Make your choice based on how you think you can best improve your performance.  I'm sure getting an MBA in Canada or H.K. would be a different experience with a lot of the same fundamentals.  If you think having the cultural understanding and knowledge of H.K. would help you in your career...then that may be a better choice.  Maybe you have other life factors to balance.

Bottom line...don't worry about how any school's "name" would appear on your resume...that's not going to get you a job.  Great performance will.


jaki's picture

Thanks for your reply.

I absolutely agree and understand that it's my performance that will land me jobs and opportunities.

As good a school it may be in hk, I don't want to limit myself in certain region after graduation. My question remains if there is a stigma (in N.A.) against unknown business schools in non-native-english speaking regions, and if I have to work extra hard to promote myself with a valid mba degree and relevant business experience even before I land the interview.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 This may or may not be relevant to your situation.  When I'm looking at graduate applicants for a job and I see that they got their degree somewhere other than a UK university (I'm in the UK) I don't discount them on that basis and if they make the short list will invite them for interview.  One thing that I do expect from them that I usually don't expect from applicants who have attended a UK university is a statement of why they chose to go there.  It doesn't have to be long or involved, "They had a course I was particularly interested in." or "They had a very good reputation." are both acceptable, and are both reasons I've heard variations of over the years.  Whilst I don't expect that sort of statement from someone who attended a UK university I've also had similar statements from those applicants as well.  I think it's a positive, it shows someone considered their future, gathered information and made a decision rather than just going with the flow.

I'd suggest that where ever you go for your MBA you be ready to justify the decision in a job interview.  Maybe talk about it's rating from the Economist and the advantages of the internship/exchange programmes.



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Jazzman's picture
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My apologies for not answering your question more directly. 

1.  Going to H.K. for school will not limit you to Asia.  It may expose you to more opportunities in Asia.  More people in Asia will be familiar with your potential.  You may choose to take advantage of opportunities there or pursue them elsewhere.  I do not think an MBA from H.K. carries any stigma.  Your performance is what counts (see previous post).

2.  Around here (the U.S.) it seems an MBA is an MBA.  It seems that having an MBA at all isn't valued as much as it used to be.  There are many, many schools within the U.S. that no one has heard of giving MBAs, that a degree from an accredited Hong Kong university could even be a differentiator.  I still go back to what you do with that degree is more critical than anything.

3. No school rankings on the resume!  Your school isn't trying to get an are!  You shouldn't put exchange work on there either as a reference to other "top schools"....same reason as the last.

It seems to me that you put a lot of value on the reputation of a university.  Possibly hoping that your association with that program will get you to places you could not otherwise get to.  When I was first looking into getting an MBA, I thought the same way.  I really thought Wharton was the best school and was the only place to get an MBA.  Anything else seemed pointless.  I found out several things:  it's a very good school because of the people that teach and attend the school, that I didn't want to make the sacrifices needed to attend that school, and that they teach fundamentally the same things as most MBA programs.  After completing the MBA program next door to Wharton, I learned that it's how I use the knowledge, not the credential or the school name itself, that is moving me to further success.

Best wishes in your choice...


"The only place where success comes before work is a dictionary." - Vidal Sassoon 
(rather apropos quote from one of my news updates today!)

jeff6678's picture

I recently went through a similar decision, and ultimately decided on the school that is closer and cheaper.  After everything that is said and done, an education is what you make of it.   Unless you are going to a Michigan or Harvard, an MBA is an MBA.  A few friends that have finished already said the best thing they took from it was the people that they encountered on the journey. 


Best Regards,

Jeff Cahill

Brian Hanks's picture
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Your comment made my day! I'm a current Michigan MBA student.


fchalif's picture
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Hi Jaki,

If I may try to put on your hat for a few minutes, I have a few questions for you:

Are you clear on your objective to do the MBA? What do you expect from it? Will it expose you to a lot of new skills that you do not have now? Are there opportunities at your current work place that can provide exposure to new things? Can you go to your boss and ask for more duties and explain where you are coming from? Are you planning to work at the same time? I guess not based on you willingness to go to Hong Kong.

My point is that during an economic downturn, you may have a unique opportunity to learn, implement and effect change in a significant way and add those achievements to your resume. These may be more valuable to you in the long run than an MBA.

Just a thought, an MBA is a great achievement - so anyway you go will likely work out for you.


jaki's picture

Thank you all for your replies.

My reservation about the Hong Kong mba was about how it is perceived in North America and the rest of the world. I think that question is answered here. Thanks!

I do actually have another offer from Duke to do a remote MBA degree. The tuition of that one is so so high, I'm not sure if the Return of Investment is there.


jaki's picture

Plus I think a full-time experience will probably be more rewarding for me than doing it remotely on the Internet.

Frankie, regarding your question, I did think long and hard about whether doing an mba is the right thing. In my own accessment, I think I have hit the ceiling. I want to learn something new to broaden my knowledge base and hopefully it can help to push my career to the next level. I think this is the right decision for me. Just trying to make the best informed decision here...