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Global BBA Study Abroad Report, Nathan - HKUST, Hong Kong

  • Name: Nathanael
  • Year of Study: 4 (Global BBA)
  • Institution: The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • Period: 2023 September 〜 2024 May

We caught up with Nathan, during his exchange at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) - one of NUCB's premier exchange partners and also a PIM member of which NUCB held the 50th Annual PIM Network Conference hosting 107 delegates from 62 institutions representing the top business schools in 37 countries.

Known for its academic excellence, world-class faculty, emphasis on research, international reputation, strategic location in Hong Kong, strong industry connections, and modern campus facilities, HKUST provided the ideal environment for Nathan's year-long exchange from August 2023 to May 2024, supported by the NUCB Flight Scholarship and no additional tuition fees.

During his time in Hong Kong, Nathan has been engaged in both academic and extracurricular activities. He has been working on his NUCB Original Case and participated in the NUCB Business Plan Contest. We caught up with him to learn more about his time so far.

Why did you want to go on exchange?

I aspire to pursue my master's degree in Hong Kong in the future, and I saw the exchange program as a valuable step towards that goal. Additionally, the opportunity allowed me to spend quality time with my little brother, who is currently studying in Hong Kong.

Choosing from NUCB's impressive array of partner institutions was a challenging decision, but I felt that HKUST aligned best with both their curriculum and my future aspirations.

What happened pre-departure?

Following my school selection and credit agreement, NUCB International Affairs organized an orientation session. Securing the student visa proved to be a straightforward process, in contrast to the experiences of some friends going on exchange.

I was presented with the choice of on-campus or off-campus dormitory accommodation and opted for the latter to facilitate easier exploration of the city. Despite sharing accommodation, which differed from the private rooms at NUCB, the advantageous location made the arrangement worthwhile.

How have your studies been and what does a typical week look like?

Since I came from a Science background I did not have much exposure to business so I think the Global BBA program has been a perfect start for me to build on my soft skills as well as learning with students from all over the world.

However, I knew I wanted to focus more on the finance side so the exchange has also balanced out my studies with more quantitative courses.

In the first term at HKUST I chose,

  • Intermediate Investment
  • Cantonese for Beginner
  • Transnational Legal Issues and Dispute Settlement
  • Business Statistics

And I have just applied for my 2nd term:

  • International Finance
  • Banking and Financial Intermediation
  • Strategic Management in China
  • Mandarin

The courses are quite different to NUCB - Although the class sizes are around the same (30), HKUST teaches more on the lecture side rather than case discussions. Most students are from mainland China or local Hong Kongers, but there are other nationalities including India, Pakistan and some exchange students from Europe and USA.

Unlike the typical daily schedule at NUCB, my week at HKUST varies. On Mondays, I have one lesson from 3 pm to 6 pm. Tuesdays and Thursdays require an early start with two classes (including Cantonese), starting at 9 am and finishing at 6 pm. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are free, providing time to hang out with friends, my little brother at the Hong Kong University, and participate in activities like the Wing Chun Club.

My favorite class so far on exchange has been Intermediate Investment, where I've gained valuable theories and strategies for managing my own stock portfolio.

How has NUCB helped you on your exchange?

NUCB has played a crucial role in shaping my adaptability and sociability. Being accustomed to studying with students from diverse nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds at NUCB has made me more open and outgoing, which I consider one of the best aspects of my experience there. Additionally, the exposure to reading cases at NUCB has proven beneficial in my Transnational and Legal Dispute Class at HKUST.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I would say exams - at NUCB we really focus more on projects, group work, and participation so when I was faced with midterms and final exams they were a little stressful for me.

What have you missed most about Japan and what do you like most about Hong Kong?

Without a doubt, I miss the Japanese toilet experience the most! Additionally, I appreciate the spacious living arrangements in Japan, given that Hong Kong is quite crowded. I also miss the connection with nature. Despite the expensive accommodation in Hong Kong, the convenience of public transportation and the presence of a sizable Indonesian population make home food easily accessible.

What are your goals for the future and how will this exchange help you?

Currently, I am intensively preparing for my GMAT test, and I plan to apply for a Master's Degree in Hong Kong. I believe this exchange experience will contribute significantly to my future endeavors in multiple ways.