My First Week in Hong Kong – Francesc Lucena

Top: Dinner @ Mui Kee in Mong Kok. From left: Alvin, Fran, Matteo, Julian, Peien. Bottom left: neon lights and signs in Mong Kok. Bottom right: looking out at Clear Water Bay from the campus

To round up Tuesday, we bring you the final piece of “My First Week in Hong Kong” from FTMBA Intake 2016 Spaniard Francesc Lucena Juve. Between Alvin, Eunice and now Fran – that’s a lot of mileage they’ve covered to come to Hong Kong, and a lot more that they will be covering in the coming year!

1. Where are you from? España, Xibanya (西班牙), Spain.

2. What were you doing right before coming to HK? Studying Mandarin in Beijing for a few months and before that, venture capital in a corporate venture capital fund in Madrid.

3. What’s your first impression of HK? Gorgeous, crowded, HOT and humid. It is a truly unique place!

4. What was your first impression of the campus? Gorgeous x 2 and inspiring.

5. What were you most anxious about before coming to HK? I had a few rough days in Beijing while studying Chinese. Learning Mandarin was a slow process, and doing it full-time was a very intense exprerience. Suddenly I realized I had no salary, no work pressure (which I am addicted to by now) and I lost my bearings for a while. Questions about my professional future, cultural fit, MBA debt and many other things sprang up in my mind.

6. Made any friends already? Tons of them. I am struggling to remember so many names!

7. Homesick already? I’ve been abroad for a while already so I’m used to it by now.

8. Any HK delicacies you’ve already tried this week? Two gems to mention: (i) Mui Kee in Mong Kok. Julian, a local classmate, took us there and we had the most delicious and authentic HK meal. I cannot name the dishes, but almost everything looked and tasted amazing there! As for pre/post-clubbing (ii) Tsui Wah in Lan Kwai Fong, recommended by Phebe and we ended up having dinner there twice on the same day (before and after partying).

9. What are you looking forward to new week? I am looking forward to having the whole class on campus. I am also very excited about the welcome lunch and program overview.

10. How many loads of laundry have you done already? One HUGE load. Doing my second load right now! (In my defense, the washing machines and dryers at HKUST can hold up to 10kg per load!)


My First Week in Hong Kong – Eunice “EJ” Kim

What’s so special about the cover photo from Eunice? “I took this picture on the first morning after I moved into HKUST. I went for a jog at 7am and was welcome by another picturesque view of the campus!”

We asked three students from Full-Time MBA Intake 2016 who came in early for the Mandarin program how their first week went. Here’s what Eunjeong aka EJ told us:

  1. Where are you from?  I’m South Korean, and I’m from New Dehli, India.
  2. What were you doing right before coming to HK? I packed up all my belongings in India and went to Korea to meet my family and friends. My family and friends are big supporters of my adventures! They had already encouraged me to come to Hong Kong 7 years ago (although my grandmother “blackmailed” me emotionally”).
  3. What’s your first impression of HK? It’s such a fast-paced city! Even the escalators moved a lot faster than those in Korea. (Avg speed of escalator: HK – 45m per min., KOR – 30m per min., reported in Yeonhap news 4.Sep.2015)
  4. What was your first impression of the campus? Shangri-La! As soon as I entered the north gate, I saw the giant piazza with Clear Water Bay in the background. It was absolutely breathtaking!
  5. What were you most anxious about before coming to HK? Carrying 100kg of luggage! 
  6. Made any friends already? Yes! I already met other Delhite classmates before coming come to HK. Then I made new friends with my roommate Mehak and other neighbors in Tower C. I spent a few afternoons of my first week with them shopping, jogging, practicing golf and having afternoon tea. 
  7. Homesick already? Not at all. During the past week I’ve been really excited to make HK my “home”.
  8. Any HK delicacies you’ve already tried this week? As a foodie, HK is litterally paradise for me. I’ve had xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings), Pad Thai, char siu (BBQ pork), fresh sashimi and there’s a lot more food that I want to try. I’m looking forward to perhaps a seafood dinner in Sai Kung next week!
  9. What are you looking forward to next week? There’s going to be a welcome lunch for our intake on Thursday, I’m looking forward to finally meet the whole class. Mehak and I are especially excited to meet our two other roommates who will complete our “suite-family”.
  10. How many loads of laundry have you done already? I’ve already 3 loads of laundry already! It’s much more humid here in HK, compared to Delhi or Seoul, but I absolutely don’t mind it because I’ve had such a great time exploring the campus and city!

Here are more photos from Eunice that captures her adventures during the first week in Hong Kong.

3 am in LFK. Left to right: Eunice, Ayush, Mehak, Usman, Arjun, Mandakini. Note: LKF is short for Lan Kwai Fong, synonymous for where all the cool MBA students hang out (every weekend!)
Going local – heading back to campus from Mong Kok. Left to right: Mehak, Yulia, Mandakini, Eunice.

My First Week in Hong Kong – Alvin Valerian

We asked three students from Full-Time MBA Intake 2016 who came in early for the Mandarin program how their first week went. Here’s what Alvin told us:

  1. Where are you from? I’m from Jakarta, Indonesia; third generation Indonesian-Chinese.
  2. What were you doing right before coming to HK? Visiting my grandfather in the hospital’s ICU ward while trying to have farewells with friends and families every single day before coming to HK
  3. What’s your first impression of HK? “This is the place where I want to be!”
  4. What was your first impression of the campus? Massive, Modern, and Beautiful
  5. What were you most anxious about before coming to HK? That on my first taxi ride from the airport to HKUST, the driver would bring me to HKU instead
  6. Made any friends already? I think I know most of my classmates who are in Mandarin class already. I hope.
  7. Homesick already? Not yet 🙂
  8. Any HK delicacies you’ve already tried this week? Not yet 😦
  9. What are you looking forward to new week (week 2)? Meeting more friends, hiking up Lantau Peak, and getting registered to become a real (official) MBA student
  10. How many loads of laundry have you done already? About 3 kgs

Here are two photos from Alvin showingwhat a great time he’s having with new friends

Relaxing after Mandarin class with classmates
Relaxing after Mandarin class with classmates. Left to right: Matteo, Jee Won, Suyeon, Alvin and Jaesong
Friday night – happy hour on campus. Left to right: Alvin, Seulhae, SeungMin, Patrick, Giuseppe, Matteo, Phebe.

Intake 2015: This time last year…


A year ago, they were the noobs. A year on, we asked them:

This time last year, I was ________________.

… spending a nice summer in Moscow after quitting my job

… confused what would the room in Tower C look like and how I could dry my clothes, especially those bad boys

… working as a consultant in London in 13 degrees Celsius weather and rain all the time… don’t miss that at all!

… chilling with my dog after quitting my job

… still working, and making money

… starting my MBA journey with the Mandarin class in Beijing. After a year, my Chinese still sucks!

… packing up my work desk

… thinner

… chilling in the hills

… barely on the group Whatsapp. I told myself I would make up for it when the program starts.

… thinking of ways to interrupt classmates and teachers #gottheaward

… doing nothing

… sitting sleepless at home in Copenhagen, chatting with one of my best friends in Rio, entertaining her with stories and counting the time in between her contractions in the middle of the night! And yes… definitely much skinnier!

A Very Special Day

Wingshot tuned_photo credit_Francesc Lucena Juve

Yesterday was a very special day because of 3 reasons…

10 years ago, I left for Beijing for my very own China adventure.

1 year ago, I married the man who means the world to me.

Yesterday, my #firstdate, my very first HKUST Full-Time MBA recruiting class, arrived. Well, at least those who enrolled into Mandarin classes did. Point is, it was a special moment!

It was special because there are those whom I met in person almost 10 months ago in their hometowns, or where they were working then; those who shared with me about their hopes, dreams and aspirations; those who have celebrated personal milestones over the past 10 months since we first met; those whom I’ve gone alongside through the ups and downs of their admissions journey… and many, whom I’ve met virtually over Skype during interviews, while worrying if I would be able to recognize them in person. (Thank God for photographic memory!)

There were so many instances where it felt like I was reliving my own MBA journey – the pains of going through GMAT exams, the sadness of saying goodbye to friends and family, the excitement of a new chapter, the nerves of not knowing what to expect and whether I would be able to make friends… oh and of course, the brutal anxieties of not having a paycheck for 16 months!

When I look back, I wish someone had told me justcalmdownbecausenotonlyisitgoingtobealrightitsgoingtobebloodyawesome!! And so, here’s to my #firstdate:

Dear noobs of the HKUST Full-Time MBA Intake 2016,

Stop. Stop whatever you’re doing and let the moment slow.

Look around you, look at the campus you’re on. Look at this amazing sea view (and I’m sorry if you ended up with the room that faces the car park!) And take it all in… now, slowly exhale.

Let time slow down and enjoy this moment because you deserve it. Be proud of yourself for all that you’ve put yourself through, the courage you mustered up to decide that you wanted more for yourself, more of who you can be, and you followed through.

You don’t need to be taught how to have a good time here. It’s in the DNA of every MBA student.

I do want to break some news to you. In the coming months, you’ll get homesick, you’ll miss your family, your friends back home, you’ll get overwhelmed with schoolwork, with deadlines, with all the dinners, student clubs and networking events you want to be part of but don’t know where to begin, and then slowly the reality of having to look for an internship will start creeping in… STOP!! Remember, when that slightest sense of panic or self-doubt even attempts to invade your heart and mind – stop it, and with all your might – block it out.

The bitter sweet truth is… you’ll only be here for 10 months, 11 months, or 16 months at most. There is too little time to waste for nerves, for anxiety, for homesickness. You’ve done all the hard work already, so for crying out loud, just take all of this in and have a good time. You don’t need to be taught how to have a good time here. It’s in the DNA of every MBA student. Remember, none of what you are about to experience in the coming 16 months, will ever, ever be in vain.

Finally, remember to be kind to your classmates. Be embracing if he/she seems different than you. Be gentle and respectful with your words. Be compassionate when your classmate is feeling blue. Be understanding when your classmate can’t contribute as much in class or in group work. Be generous when your classmate needs help. Whether you are a peacock, a chameleon, a tiger, a koala or an owl, you are all equally brilliant and beautiful.

Congratulations again my #firstdate. You are finally here! Enjoy the ride.

With all my best hopes and dreams,