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HKUST 2011-2012 - Calling All Applicants

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New post 11 Feb 2011, 00:54
Hi, All.
Let me add myself here.
HKUST FT MBA R2 App.

Interviewed on 1/15(face to face in Seoul) & on 1/18 (via Skype with Alumni).

Thanks!!!
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New post 14 Feb 2011, 22:25
i just got my offer of admission letter (email)!

application sent on 1/5, invited to interview on 1/20, interviewed on 1/31 (2/1 HK time), and admitted today. i'd better get my official score report and transcripts in soon!

good luck everyone! and most importantly THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of you who have offered great advices. i have quite decided where i'm going yet (since i only applied to R2; still waiting to interview or hear from all the other schools) - but i'll very likely see you there!
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New post 17 Feb 2011, 11:35
ehpaul wrote:
First of all - Congratulations to those admitted to 2011 HKUST MBA. Question for American applicants - if any of you are planning to withdraw partially or entirely from your IRA account for education fund? According to the IRS, there will not be early withdrawal penalty as long as the school is an "IRS-approved institution". No doubt most American MBA are in this approved category. What about HKUST?



ehpaul, HKUST has a FAFSA code, so I *assume* it is an IRS-approved institution, but I am researching this as well and will keep you posted on what I find out!
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New post 17 Feb 2011, 21:48
Hi, finally got accepted.
Cheers!!!
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New post 18 Feb 2011, 23:17
Congrats Ktiger!

By the way, has anyone here ever successfully: (a) asked for a short extension of the initial payment; (b) asked for 1 year deferred admission; or (c) obtain an early disclosure of scholarship (immediately after they verify the official transcripts)? The website/emails are quite strict, but $6000 is not a small amount..

Because all the other R2 US schools won't release decisions (or even interviews) until late March, it will be difficult to commit to one school so early (especially when this is my first admit). I know nycgirl191 and others have mentioned similar concerns for R1 in earlier posts..
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New post 20 Feb 2011, 17:00
Hi, for any US citizens that are considering withdrawing funds from any pre-tax investment funds (i.e. 401k, IRA) for school, here's the response I received from my financial advisors. Bottom line: a) it counts towards income at the end of the year when you file your annual 1040, and b) we get dinged an additional 10% penalty for early withdrawal. The response did not mention HOW they check that the money is really going towards educational costs, though. I assume they just take your word for it?

"All pre-tax assets withdrawn are considered earned income, subject to
applicable federal, state, and local income taxes. Federal tax withholding
is optional at the time of the distribution. You may decline withholding or
request that any amount between 10% and 100% be withheld. You will be
required to pay any taxes owed above the amount withheld. A federal tax
penalty of 10% is applied to distributions taken before age 59 1/2 even if
it is taken under a Hardship withdrawal.

A Hardship withdrawal may only be taken for the following
purposes:

* Purchase of a primary residence.
* Prevention of eviction from or foreclosure on a primary residence.
* Repair of disaster damage to a primary residence.
* Higher education costs for you, your spouse, or your dependents.
* Medical expenses not covered by insurance for you, your spouse, or your
dependents.
* Funeral and burial expenses for your spouse or your dependents."
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New post 28 Feb 2011, 13:17
Hey fellas,

I was wondering if you could give me some insightful advice on selecting an MBA between a U.S. and a Non-U.S. programs.

Some facts about the situation:

Carnegie Mellon Tepper (no $)
HKUST MBA (30% $)

My focus is in operations/finance and I don't mind working in Asia (I'm a U.S. citizen but originially from Asia)

Please help!

Thank you all in advance!
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New post Updated on: 22 Mar 2011, 03:21
Well I think it comes down to whether you want to work in Asia or in the US. I think choosing HKUST is pretty much a commitment to work in Asia (most likely HK/China) since a great majority of HKUST’s placements are in the region. On the other hand, I don’t think Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) is as well known as the big brand name US schools in Asia (correct me if I’m wrong here I’m not too sure) so if you want to work in Asia, it might be difficult, depending on your cultural background and language skills.

During my interview for HKUST, I asked the interviewer (former head of HKUST’s career services - Stanford MBA grad) pretty much point blank, “How would you compare HKUST to a top western school?” Have to give props to her because she was quite honest about it and said that the school was pretty young, so most of the placements were in HK and China. She did say that they were trying to develop placements in Singapore and that they were making progress here, but for the immediate future, for most HKUST grads, career options will be mostly in HK, China and maybe some in Singapore. She also said that some people had success finding jobs in western countries, but these were the exception rather than the rule. She concluded by saying that if I was committed to a career in Asia, then in her opinion, HKUST was a great choice.

Another factor for you to consider would be costs. Based on HKUST’s estimates, the entire package (tuition, living expenses, accommodation, etc.) comes out to about USD 75,000 or so, even cheaper for you with your grant/scholarship. Carnegie Mellon seems to be the same as other US schools, and will cost you well over USD 130,000. You could argue that the salary you’d get after Carnegie Mellon would be higher, but it’s difficult to compare salaries across different countries with different standards of living, different tax rates (HK is pretty low I hear) etc..

I’m in the process of making a decision as well. I was accepted at HKUST but dinged at all my other R2 applications (all US schools). Given the tight deadline, (deposit deadline is March 16) I have to choose between taking HKUST now, vs. applying to more schools for Round 3, or maybe even going back to the drawing board and giving the whole application process another run for 2012 intake.

Anyway, long story short, HKUST is a good school that puts you in a good position to develop in Asia, particularly HK/China, but at the cost of limiting your options elsewhere. There are other factors including costs, but I think the most important thing for you to consider would be the direction you want your future career to take. Good luck with your decision. I’m going through something similar myself.

Originally posted by shanghaiedflip on 01 Mar 2011, 02:53.
Last edited by shanghaiedflip on 22 Mar 2011, 03:21, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 01 Mar 2011, 15:51
For what it's worth, I was also debating the same situation. I got into UCLA, HKU, and was waiting on HKUST (I eventually got dinged). Like what has been mentioned above, comparing Tepper vs HKUST is hard and I wouldn't even try to do that, it'll just put you spinning in circles.

Again, the key decision would be if you want to grow your career in Asia or US. There are definitely a very high upside of being in Asia, and you probably know of them by now since you considered that region. But the key hard facts, and this is in talking to high level executives from top companies, is that a degree from HKUST will NOT be well recognized if you return back to the US. How much the MBA degree still matters after 10+ years of post-graduate experience is still questionable, similar to how no one cares which undergrad you went to anymore after your first few jobs.

I don't post much on this board, but felt it would be helpful to hear my decision since I was debating the same situation. If I got into HKUST, I would've done that program since I see a brighter growth perspective in Asia than in the US for the next few years.
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New post 02 Mar 2011, 08:48
shanghaiedflip wrote:
Well I think it comes down to whether you want to work in Asia or in the US. I think choosing HKUST is pretty much a commitment to work in Asia (most likely HK/China) since a great majority of HKUST’s placements are in the region. On the other hand, I don’t think Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) is as well known as the big brand name US schools in Asia (correct me if I’m wrong here I’m not too sure) so if you want to work in Asia, it might be difficult, depending on your cultural background and language skills.

During my interview for HKUST, I asked the interviewer (former head of HKUST’s career services) pretty much point blank, “How would you compare HKUST to a top western school?” Have to give props to her because she was quite honest about it and said that the school was pretty young, so most of the placements were in HK and China. She did say that they were trying to develop placements in Singapore and that they were making progress here, but for the immediate future, for most HKUST grads, career options will be mostly in HK, China and maybe some in Singapore. She also said that some people had success finding jobs in western countries, but these were the exception rather than the rule. She concluded by saying that if I was committed to a career in Asia, then in her opinion, HKUST was a great choice.

Another factor for you to consider would be costs. Based on HKUST’s estimates, the entire package (tuition, living expenses, accommodation, etc.) comes out to about USD 75,000 or so, even cheaper for you with your grant/scholarship. Carnegie Mellon seems to be the same as other US schools, and will cost you well over USD 130,000. You could argue that the salary you’d get after Carnegie Mellon would be higher, but it’s difficult to compare salaries across different countries with different standards of living, different tax rates (HK is pretty low I hear) etc..

I’m in the process of making a decision as well. I was accepted at HKUST but dinged at all my other R2 applications (all US schools). Given the tight deadline, (deposit deadline is March 16) I have to choose between taking HKUST now, vs. applying to more schools for Round 3, or maybe even going back to the drawing board and giving the whole application process another run for 2012 intake.

Anyway, long story short, HKUST is a good school that puts you in a good position to develop in Asia, particularly HK/China, but at the cost of limiting your options elsewhere. There are other factors including costs, but I think the most important thing for you to consider would be the direction you want your future career to take. Good luck with your decision. I’m going through something similar myself.


Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience...Seems that you have really thought this through.
I just want to ask you one more question, then in retrospect what do you think brand value of schools like Tepper is in Asia (East Asia overall)?
I dug little deeper into HKUST's curriculum focus and available courses/electives, and it does seem that its academic rigor and coverage are not so in par with those of established programs in the States...
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New post 02 Mar 2011, 09:08
mbahopeful81 wrote:
For what it's worth, I was also debating the same situation. I got into UCLA, HKU, and was waiting on HKUST (I eventually got dinged). Like what has been mentioned above, comparing Tepper vs HKUST is hard and I wouldn't even try to do that, it'll just put you spinning in circles.

Again, the key decision would be if you want to grow your career in Asia or US. There are definitely a very high upside of being in Asia, and you probably know of them by now since you considered that region. But the key hard facts, and this is in talking to high level executives from top companies, is that a degree from HKUST will NOT be well recognized if you return back to the US. How much the MBA degree still matters after 10+ years of post-graduate experience is still questionable, similar to how no one cares which undergrad you went to anymore after your first few jobs.

I don't post much on this board, but felt it would be helpful to hear my decision since I was debating the same situation. If I got into HKUST, I would've done that program since I see a brighter growth perspective in Asia than in the US for the next few years.


Hey, thank you so much for posting. It is very helpful and I appreciate it...
Have you made your decision between UCLA and HKU?
I can definitely agree with you on the fact that no one really cares about which MBA you got matriculated from after 10 + years...
I am more worried about the impact of the location of my first placement to my career 10+ years down the road...Although this is a very subjective statement, I am not too confident that Hong Kong/China will definitely be the place to be in terms of opportunities in 10 years, i.e. choosing HKUST would mean I am betting on its potential, but I don't know how long I would have to wait until it finally ripes...
Thank you again for your post.
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New post 02 Mar 2011, 18:05
mbahopeful81 wrote:
For what it's worth, I was also debating the same situation. I got into UCLA, HKU, and was waiting on HKUST (I eventually got dinged). Like what has been mentioned above, comparing Tepper vs HKUST is hard and I wouldn't even try to do that, it'll just put you spinning in circles.

Again, the key decision would be if you want to grow your career in Asia or US. There are definitely a very high upside of being in Asia, and you probably know of them by now since you considered that region. But the key hard facts, and this is in talking to high level executives from top companies, is that a degree from HKUST will NOT be well recognized if you return back to the US. How much the MBA degree still matters after 10+ years of post-graduate experience is still questionable, similar to how no one cares which undergrad you went to anymore after your first few jobs.

I don't post much on this board, but felt it would be helpful to hear my decision since I was debating the same situation. If I got into HKUST, I would've done that program since I see a brighter growth perspective in Asia than in the US for the next few years.


Hey mbahopeful81 thanks for sharing! So did you decide to go with HKU or UCLA? As someone coming from Asia I found HKU appealing because of the guaranteed exchange with Columbia or LBS. Don't know if you're thinking the same.

Out of curiosity, could I ask what industry/companies the high level executives you talked to are from?
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New post 02 Mar 2011, 18:26
niceman wrote:
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience...Seems that you have really thought this through.
I just want to ask you one more question, then in retrospect what do you think brand value of schools like Tepper is in Asia (East Asia overall)?
I dug little deeper into HKUST's curriculum focus and available courses/electives, and it does seem that its academic rigor and coverage are not so in par with those of established programs in the States...


I'm not too sure about the brand value of schools like Tepper in Asia since I haven't done much research on them. Based on my experience here in Shanghai (obvious by the username i think :wink: ) I can tell you that I've met a fair number of MBA grads from the usual suspects (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton... a few from Berkeley, Columbia, Chicago), either working at consulting firms or doing startups or PE. I think the other schools with strong brand names would also have access to good opportunities here. Not too sure about how schools outside the top 10 would fare (Tepper is #15 according to BW) Perhaps better to ask alumni?

Regarding HKUST's curriculum focus and available courses/electives... I did check their elective list and it is heavily skewed towards finance, which is not surprising given that it's supposed to be their strength. Although as a relatively young and small school (only about 120 students) I guess they wouldn't have the same resources as the older more established schools in the US. That said as someone interested in China business, their electives on General Management in China do sound appealing to me.

Do you think you could go more into specifics on your basis of comparison regarding their academic rigor and coverage? Would definitely be useful to those of us in the process of making a decision... :)

I've tried talking to HKUST grads, and they've said that they found the academics quite challenging, but then again they might not have a complete basis of comparison. I do seem to recall that in a post on another forum, an exchange student to HKUST from Columbia (or another prominent US school, I forget which exactly) found the classes relevant and challenging and was happy with the quality of the classmates so I took that as a good sign.
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New post 02 Mar 2011, 19:02
shanghaiedflip wrote:
Hey mbahopeful81 thanks for sharing! So did you decide to go with HKU or UCLA? As someone coming from Asia I found HKU appealing because of the guaranteed exchange with Columbia or LBS. Don't know if you're thinking the same.

Out of curiosity, could I ask what industry/companies the high level executives you talked to are from?


It was a tough decision for me since I really wanted to live/work/play in HK, but I ended up choosing UCLA because I felt the quality of the education as well as the weight the degree will hold when doing my next career move would be stronger. Being from the US, I actually didn't even consider the Columbia or LBS programs since I wanted to focus my career in Asia, so I chose the China focus. It is enticing though, to think you get to study at those top institutions, but ultimately when you graduate, it will not be the same as actually holding a degree from those schools so be careful if that's a huge factor in your decision.

I'm in the tech field, and I've been getting advised from friends/coworkers from Accenture and Cisco.
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New post 02 Mar 2011, 19:16
shanghaiedflip wrote:
I'm not too sure about the brand value of schools like Tepper in Asia since I haven't done much research on them. Based on my experience here in Shanghai (obvious by the username i think :wink: ) I can tell you that I've met a fair number of MBA grads from the usual suspects (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton... a few from Berkeley, Columbia, Chicago), either working at consulting firms or doing startups or PE. I think the other schools with strong brand names would also have access to good opportunities here. Not too sure about how schools outside the top 10 would fare (Tepper is #15 according to BW) Perhaps better to ask alumni?

Regarding HKUST's curriculum focus and available courses/electives... I did check their elective list and it is heavily skewed towards finance, which is not surprising given that it's supposed to be their strength. Although as a relatively young and small school (only about 120 students) I guess they wouldn't have the same resources as the older more established schools in the US. That said as someone interested in China business, their electives on General Management in China do sound appealing to me.

Do you think you could go more into specifics on your basis of comparison regarding their academic rigor and coverage? Would definitely be useful to those of us in the process of making a decision... :)

I've tried talking to HKUST grads, and they've said that they found the academics quite challenging, but then again they might not have a complete basis of comparison. I do seem to recall that in a post on another forum, an exchange student to HKUST from Columbia (or another prominent US school, I forget which exactly) found the classes relevant and challenging and was happy with the quality of the classmates so I took that as a good sign.


I completely agree with this post, and could say that shanghaiedflip's assessment is spot on. Top rank consulting firms will always hire from the best universities Harvard/Stanford/Wharton/etc, and outside of the top 10, it's just a matter of how 'heard of' the school is. I don't want to knock Tepper since it's a great program (I considered applying there myself), but the school itself might not carry too much weight in Asia.

HKUST does seem to have a challenging curriculum, when I visited the campus and shadowed some students, it seems like they spend a majority of their time studying over other activities. Take it as you may, but there should be a balance towards studying and networking, since the adage goes, "it's not what you know, it's who you know". This is especially true for places like HK and China! So I definitely would've liked to see a better balance away from just putting your head to the books.

Regardless, HKUST is a great program if you want to grow your career in Asia. I wouldn't doubt it for one second if that's anyone's goals!
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New post 02 Mar 2011, 20:35
mbahopeful81 wrote:
It was a tough decision for me since I really wanted to live/work/play in HK, but I ended up choosing UCLA because I felt the quality of the education as well as the weight the degree will hold when doing my next career move would be stronger. Being from the US, I actually didn't even consider the Columbia or LBS programs since I wanted to focus my career in Asia, so I chose the China focus. It is enticing though, to think you get to study at those top institutions, but ultimately when you graduate, it will not be the same as actually holding a degree from those schools so be careful if that's a huge factor in your decision.

I'm in the tech field, and I've been getting advised from friends/coworkers from Accenture and Cisco.


Thanks for the feedback, and no the Columbia/LBS option wasn't a significant factor. I actually didn't end up applying to HKU but it did look appealing because of those options.

One of the student ambassadors of HKUST was in Accenture when I talked to him actually. Based in their Beijing office I believe.

HKUST's China focus is definitely an attractive feature for me, and a few of the grads I spoke to are currently working in Beijing. That said, did you consider CEIBS? A big part of their value add is the immersive experience that you get with them. In the end I chose not to apply because I've been working here for close to 5 years already and needed a change of scenery. However friends of mine who attended have said that there's higher potential to meet up and coming government people in CEIBS so that would definitely fall under the "who you know" category. :wink:

Regarding the study/networking balance at HKUST, I found a blog of a current student who described her schedule thus...

"Back in school, my schedule everyday was like this: Wake at 8am, Class at 9am till 12:30pm, Lunch till around 2pm, then we have the option of:

a) Groupwork at the library. This comfortably lasts 2 to 3 hours depending on the subject.
b) Recruitment event either on campus or in the HKUST Building in Central. This comfortably lasts 2 hours.
c) Extra-curricular meetings on conferences, events, etc. This lasts quite a while too.
d) A combination of A, B, and/or C. Kill me nao

I think my life as an MBA is far more hectic than when I was working. Back then, I still had my Sundays. At HKUST, call me a nerd but my Sundays are purely devoted to working or studying. Drives me up the wall."

She's talking about their first fall semester.. Sounds pretty hectic. But again I don't really have a basis of comparison here...
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New post 02 Mar 2011, 20:45
Great research, I actually stumbled upon a blog from a current HKU student, but didn't find one for HKUST. Care to link me to it?

I actually never heard of CEIBS when I started researching until I attended their talk at a MBA fair. It definitely sounded interesting, but unfortunately it was a bit late into the application process so I missed that opportunity. I'm assuming since you're posting in this thread, you applied to HKUST? I'm pretty impressed how much research you've done! Do you mind if I asked where else you're applying to, and where you've been accepted so far?

Anyways, good luck in your applications and admissions! I'm for sure going to pursue the foreign exchange opportunity at HKUST since UCLA is a partner school, so who knows, we might bump into each other one day!
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New post 02 Mar 2011, 21:28
Sent u a PM
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New post 02 Mar 2011, 21:50
shanghaiedflip wrote:
niceman wrote:
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience...Seems that you have really thought this through.
I just want to ask you one more question, then in retrospect what do you think brand value of schools like Tepper is in Asia (East Asia overall)?
I dug little deeper into HKUST's curriculum focus and available courses/electives, and it does seem that its academic rigor and coverage are not so in par with those of established programs in the States...


I'm not too sure about the brand value of schools like Tepper in Asia since I haven't done much research on them. Based on my experience here in Shanghai (obvious by the username i think :wink: ) I can tell you that I've met a fair number of MBA grads from the usual suspects (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton... a few from Berkeley, Columbia, Chicago), either working at consulting firms or doing startups or PE. I think the other schools with strong brand names would also have access to good opportunities here. Not too sure about how schools outside the top 10 would fare (Tepper is #15 according to BW) Perhaps better to ask alumni?

Regarding HKUST's curriculum focus and available courses/electives... I did check their elective list and it is heavily skewed towards finance, which is not surprising given that it's supposed to be their strength. Although as a relatively young and small school (only about 120 students) I guess they wouldn't have the same resources as the older more established schools in the US. That said as someone interested in China business, their electives on General Management in China do sound appealing to me.

Do you think you could go more into specifics on your basis of comparison regarding their academic rigor and coverage? Would definitely be useful to those of us in the process of making a decision... :)

I've tried talking to HKUST grads, and they've said that they found the academics quite challenging, but then again they might not have a complete basis of comparison. I do seem to recall that in a post on another forum, an exchange student to HKUST from Columbia (or another prominent US school, I forget which exactly) found the classes relevant and challenging and was happy with the quality of the classmates so I took that as a good sign.
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New post 03 Mar 2011, 03:12
I got accepted by HKUST!

Application 14 FEB
Interview 22 FEB
Offer 2 MAR

I'm looking forward to see U!


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Re: Calling All HKUST 2011-12 Applicants   [#permalink] 03 Mar 2011, 03:12

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