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How Studying An MBA Helped Me Start A Career In Mainland China

14 Dec 2021

Meet Yusuke Horio: a Senior Business Development Manager at one of the most globalised pharmaceutical companies in Japan. Yusuke works in the company・s China head office in Shanghai, mainland China, where he is responsible for new business creation, transaction and alliance management for foreign enterprises.

Before working in mainland China, Yusuke studied an MBA at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School, which he chose for its globally established reputation, its :pragmatic; MBA programme and for Hong Kong SAR・s unique position as a :gateway to Mainland China;.

He spoke to TopMBA about how studying his MBA at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) opened up career opportunities for him in mainland China.

Studying in Hong Kong SAR

Originally from Japan, Yusuke chose to study at Hong Kong SAR・s Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School to study his MBA. He wanted to step out of his comfort zone and learn more about Asian business practices in a diverse environment.

CUHK・s MBA is one of the earliest established MBAs in Asia. One benefit of this is the programme・s alumni network, which is incredibly extensive, stretching across a host of Asian countries. Students can get in touch with more than 7,000 MBA alumni across 40 locations globally.

:This was highly attractive to me because I had already decided to pursue a career opportunity in Asia after my graduation,; said Yusuke.

CUHK・s MBA places a large focus on entrepreneurship, and offers many chances to network with investors, startup CEOs and social entrepreneurs. This gives students numerous opportunities to establish a business network that can help them get to the next step of their international career.

Building a career while studying an MBA

During his MBA, Yusuke had three major experiences that helped leverage his career.

Founding a healthcare society

In April 2018 he established a healthcare club at CUHK. The aim of this club was to learn about the local healthcare business and connect with local healthcare business professionals.

Yusuke used the business school・s alumni network to arrange marketing workshop events with two top pharmaceutical companies.

At this marketing workshop, the healthcare club secured a consulting contract with a European pharmaceutical company, which enabled them to conduct comprehensive research with physicians, healthcare startups, NGOs, medical tourism providers and insurance companies.

Yusuke said: :This project was truly hands-on and a direct linkage to my current business. I have to say this experience was the strategic move for my future career.

:Even now, I still have regular contacts with the professional networks from this project, which significantly helps my current business.;

Doing an internship

The club also participated in a 1,000-person international conference for health tech as a supporting member. While at this international conference, Yusuke found an internship opportunity at NexChange, a social network startup specialising in blockchain, fintech and artificial intelligence.

During this internship, Yusuke was responsible for assessing startups and creating a priority list for the company・s network platform.

In this role, Yusuke further built his network of connections, speaking to a variety of healthcare startups from around the globe. Yusuke revealed that he is still in contact with some of these connections today in his current role.

MBA Exchange in the US

Then, in August 2018, Yusuke undertook a five-month exchange programme at Emory University in the US. Yusuke chose Emory University due to its close relationship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This exchange programme placed an emphasis on healthcare, which allowed Yusuke to further develop his knowledge in the industry. :Learning about healthcare policy and the pharmaceutical market situation in the US was highly helpful in comparing them with China and Japan, to broaden my ideas in my current role,; said Yusuke.

While completing his exchange programme, Yusuke met healthcare professionals and obtained a completely new network of business contacts.

Working in mainland China

Mainland China has a rapidly growing market for pharmaceuticals which is now the second-largest in the world. It has a wealth of business possibilities and opportunities for personal development.

After graduation, Yusuke considered his options and decided that mainland China was a good place to expand his career. He wanted to better understand Chinese business sense and the Chinese mindset to enhance his personal business profile.

Having an international career is like an open door to a totally brand-new environment,; he said.

In his current role, Yusuke uses the skills and connections he gained during his MBA to help him succeed in mainland China.

Modules within the MBA, such as financial modelling and market research, helped Yusuke develop the skills he needed to be successful in business. He learnt how to create specific business proposals to C-level managements V something he now uses daily.

Yusuke said he would recommend CUHK・s MBA to other international students who are looking to work in mainland China.

:There is a diversified learning environment at CUHK, with classmates and professors from all over the world. They prepared me to start my international career,; said Yusuke.

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