Noel Hanssens, University of Hong Kong Cross-cultural training

In early March I finished the University of Hong Kong segment of the MBA programme, packed up my Hong Kong apartment and said goodbye to my new-found Hong Kong friends before heading to London to study at London Business School.

Like an excited backpacker heading to his next location, I bounded out the door for the next part of my MBA adventure.

London Business School will be an exciting opportunity. I’m fascinated to see the similarities and differences between the two schools, meet new people, expand my European network and work alongside some very talented people. By changing things nine months into the programme, we’re forced to become adept at adapting to new situations.

But before heading to London, I decided to take advantage of one of the HKU MBA Career Development Office organised career treks to Singapore and Shanghai. I elected to go to Singapore and had a great time at the various consulting and financial organisations we visited.

Many MBA programmes now closely resemble International Executive MBA programmes with their many international locations. HKU for instance provides up to five different countries in which to study and attend career treks. Add in our partner schools’ career treks and that number expands even more.

The ability to deep dive into a culture has been one of the highlights of my MBA experience. Everyone who undertakes an MBA wants as many ‘drink from the firehose’ moments as possible. Participating in career treks, exchange programmes or multi-city MBAs is a great way to do that on the cross-cultural front. Visiting different cities takes you out of your comfort zone, forcing you to adapt to new situations and giving you new insight into different approaches.

All students on the London Business School track make their own varied and interesting way to LBS, which is why I find myself writing this post from a tiny train cabin somewhere in the middle of Siberia on my way to Moscow. The rowdy night we had last night on the Trans-Siberian, joining a group of Mongolians and the Austrian Martins, sampling Russia’s favourite tipple as the train rounded Lake Baikal, was the perfect opportunity to put my newly developed cross-cultural skills to work.

To all the HKU MBAers heading to Columbia or Fudan – Roxy, Andy, Fran, Phil, Tulika, Martin, Gunjit, Will, Erick, Tiffany and all of my other friends – have a great time and look forward to seeing you in the (not too distant) future.

Thanks also to the HKU MBA exec and career development office teams – Sachin, Tom, Maire, Michelle, Jennifer and every member of their teams, it was a memorable experience.