Feature Stories


Journey of Futurepreneur: My Learning and Career-Building Journey

Over the years, HKUST graduates have found fulfilling careers across various industries with the support and help from the university. Natalie (Class of 2021), who graduated with a double major degree in Management and Marketing, shared her job hunting and career-building journey with the HKUST Business School.

First Exposure through HKUST Business School’s Broad-Based Curriculum 

Natalie’s journey at HKUST was one of exploration with plenty of guidance and inspirations. Entering the Business School through the school-based route, she went through the first-year introductory courses that exposed her to different majors and helped to understand what suited her the most. As she considered what majors she was interested in, she found herself most drawn to Management and Marketing. “The management and marketing professors prompted us to critical thinking, creativity and interaction, which really inspired me to choose these two majors.”

Natalie also highlighted how the helpful advice from the teaching faculty made her more determined to study Management and Marketing. “I am very grateful to Prof. Carmen NG from the Department of Management, who also encouraged me a lot in my career journey over lunch in the Take Faculty to Lunch program organized by the Karen Lee Student Mentoring Center.”

With the support and experience gained along her undergraduate studies, Natalie has started her career as a Learning and Development Coordinator at LVMH, and is well on her way to pursuing the passions she discovered at the Business School.  

Initial Experiences and Challenges 

Like many others, Natalie started out with no relevant experience or interview skills. As she learned and explored more, she found the Language for Business Courses (LABU 2040 and LABU 2060) particularly useful in ingraining the techniques for case analysis, presentations, and interview preparation.

Outside the classroom, Natalie joined student activities such as the Business Student Ambassador Program and USThing, as she realized that she could connect her passions with these activities to cultivate skills for her future career. Entering the USThing committee, she was able to challenge herself to excel in her role by starting with her passion for people. “I've always been a people-oriented person with an interest in HR since my mother works in that field. When I joined USThing committee, I observed that we lacked a person who could effectively facilitate communication. I realized that my communication skills can add value to USThing, and through this, I became a core member. From there, I was able to further develop my problem-solving skills, effective decision-making for society and such. This process brought me to think that HR might be my ideal career because it requires both strong soft skills and constantly challenging myself to solve problems with agility at all times.

Together, all these provided skills she needed to succeed in her majors, and later, meet employers’ expectations. 

A Comprehensive Career Support System 

Besides offering business-specific training in presentation and interview skills, HKUST also has a robust Career Center which organizes career fairs, company talks, career consultation services and workshops for all students. These activities and services provided her with a lot of exposure while preparing for job hunting and career building. “The advisors were there to guide us on how to prepare for my job applications and the potential career paths I could take given my majors and interests. I was given useful suggestions on how to improve my resume and be more presentable during the interview. This helped me to stand out from the other candidates when applying for my graduate job.”

Aside from the Career Center, the Career Mentorship Program also gave her comprehensive career support and networking opportunities. “To this day, I still keep in contact with my assigned mentor. I remember the first time we met was when she invited me to a TIMES event. The exposure and conversation that I had during that night were insightful and memorable. I still carry her words with me to this day where I remind myself to always strive for a job that allows me to work hard and play hard.”

Internship in L'Oreal Internship and Graduate Job in Deloitte

Highly Employable Students and Graduates 

Although Natalie felt there was not much difference between HKUST and other university students and graduates on the surface, she observed employers consistently see something valuable in HKUST - international outlook and agility. “When I was interning at L’Oreal Travel Retail, most of the 40 interns in my batch were HKUST students. My manager said they prefer UST students because of the international exposure on campus, and that students tend to be more bright, proactive and agile.”

This doesn’t come as a surprise, as cross-cultural interaction is part of the daily life of HKUST students. There are always countless exchange opportunities for students to have international exposure overseas. Natalie noteed that even if one chooses to stay on campus for their four years of education, they are still offered the chance to stay in dorms and join clubs and societies reflecting a wide selection of interests that require meeting and interacting with people from all over the world on a day-to-day basis. “One day you may have an Indian student as your group mate, and the next day you could be sitting next to an exchange student from Germany. The daily exposure to a high level of diversity helps one understand and work with different cultures.”  

Advice to Springboard Your Career at HKUST 

Looking back on her undergraduate years at HKUST, Natalie encourages students to choose the major they love, rather than trying to aim directly for a career they hope for in the future. “Many of the older professionals in my network didn’t start working in the exact field their degree prescribed, as a major doesn’t directly translate into a career. Many of us have changed our aspirations mid-way as we took introductory courses. Thus, choose the major you want, and as you enjoy the courses, your grades will be more easily taken care of, which will help when interviewing with companies. Then, take up as many internships as you can, join extracurricular activities and gain new interests as you try new things. Build your career step-by-step, as life changes with the opportunities taken. Do explore, for life is long, and after graduation, you’ll be working for the rest of your life. And, of course, find a job that you are passionate about!”