Thursday, March 3, 2011

Interesting Analysis of FT Rankings

I know the cost of living in HK is higher than in Hyderabad or Bangalore or Ahmedabad, but it is not 5 times the cost of living (PPP Conversion Factor for India). This analysis explains why HKUST is still way better than the other Asian B-Schools.

Incidentally, HKUST achieved its highest ranking ever this year (No. 6) - Check this out.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The end of another year

After a long hard-working year where there has been very little time to do much else. We reach the stage where it's possibly the last time the whole class will be together. Lot's of people will be going away on their exchange in the Autumn (Fall to you USA English speakers), and some people will not be returning to Hong Kong afterwards.
Earlier in March, me and my team went to San Francisco to attend the Business Plan Competition. We didn't fare so well, but the experience was worth the journey. Having your plan assessed by real Venture Capitalists, rather than academics gives a different perspectives from the entreprenurial point of view. A lot of the classroom exercises and teachings are from the VC point of view, rather than from the business starter, so you can't always apply the same valuation methodologies. One thing for sure, any valuation of a non-operational start-up, is usually made-up. How can you value a company that is not operational, does not have customers, and draws in no revenue? This part of the pitching exercise I found most interesting, because selling the concepts and business models are important, and most importantly is whether the investor trusts you as the person who will execute the plan.

Ideas are ten a penny, the capability to execute the idea succesfully is what investors are looking for. Therefore a combination of a killer idea with an exceptional operational team is the ideal make-up for a start-up.

As for myself, I will be going to Berkeley on exchange to finish off my MBA, and at the same time, trying to start up a business in China with a couple of classmates. For sure the thing which is most valuable for me from my time as HKUST is the diversity of the class.

Friday, April 17, 2009

HKUST Entrepreneurship Club - Enrichment Talk by Roger King

Nice talk overall by Roger King (See bio here) organized by the MBA Entrepreneurship Club. Roger is an Adjunct Prof at HKUST-Kellogg eMBA who teaches Entrepreneurship and Family Businesses, has worked on several family businesses, headed companies such as SASA and Pacific Coffee and has had a pretty interesting career. I'd heard him speak the last time about Pacific Coffee and it wasn't very inspiring I must say. Partly because that wasn't his best (he will say luckiest phase) although he did end up making a good chunk of money on it.

Some takeaways:

  1. Look for a rich father-in-law who will fund your ventures and allow you to use his strong network. :-) I was all ears!!! ;-)

  2. Always keep an eye out for your exit strategy. His reasoning for why he chose to exit Pacific Coffee was that they had a few failed attempts at growth thanks to an overzealous person-in-charge, Starbucks had come in a few years back and was expanding quite fast and he just didn't see the kind of growth that he wanted. Around the time came a rich realty focused conglomerate looking to expand into F&B.

  3. His narration of how he negotiated a deal with SASA to pay for his services as CEO in share options (over a three year period) instead of funds was intriguing. Again Negotiation rule 101 - there's always a Win-Win option. Need to use this in my negotiation on the Zeopane patent transfer with HKUST TTC later this week.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Next Generation

Hello, I am from the new batch of MBA students at HKUST, and I will try to continue the fine job that last years students started.

I am Hoi, born in the UK, with parents orignally from Hong Kong. I was working in Japan, Tokyo for the past 5 years and before that, in London. This year has already started with a bang. The campus is as beautiful as ever and we have been involved in some intense, educational and fun activities that have already meant we have had to leave our comfort zones. Maybe the pictures can help explain.

This years class is slightly larger, there are 91 of us, representing 23 different countries, so this year it is more international than ever before. I've just started the first week and it's intense. Lot's of group work, lots of assignments and lots of reading to do.. and then there is also career searches, recruitment talks as well as trying to balance a social life. For me, I've come here with my wife and 2 children, so I also have to balance that into the equation. I'm not living on campuse but just down the road from the school (7 mins by mini-bus), there is an area called Hang Hau where quite a few of the students live. Not eveyone wants to live in the halls, and Hang Hau is very convenient, all the shops you need are here, and it is connected to the MTR which gives you access to the rest of Hong Kong.
Hopefully I will find some time to continue posting... I will leave you with a short video..

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Almost time ...

I can't believe it's almost time to say good-bye to a few dear friends. Stefano's already gone off to Beijing. Arthi will be leaving next week. A handful of others are wrapping up their classes by early June and once the internship season starts off, those doing internships outside Hong Kong leave and may or may not return and those that remain, we'd rarely if ever be seeing each other. A few words for the Year Book.

The last one year has easily been the best year of my life. And the best times unfortunately fly by the fastest.

I will forever cherish the wonderful friends I made here from across the globe along with the memories of all of the fun events starting from the fun-times with Team NETWorks and the many Karaoke nights when I discovered several of my hidden talents. Winning the Mini-O and the Challenge round in Rice were two unforgettable moments of success.

Finals words to my classmates - It's a long walk back to Eden, Sweetheart. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Monday, May 12, 2008

China trip and the Earthquake

This one is for myself…. For being stupid and yet brave.

I decided to make my 1st trip on my own into the land of China, where I knew I would be dumb but still adventurous – the land of Xian – the 1st capital of China.

I booked my flight and my youth hostel and was very excited to leave on Sat the 10th of May at 8.20am. It takes about 2 hours to get to the airport from school so Im really worried and waiting for the bus at 5am ( The train starts at 6am). Finally at 5.20 my bus arrives and I head to the MTR, get my train and Im Central at 7.30 to check in. To my dismay the check in counter has closed and I have to go to the airport now in a frenzy. I panic on the express train and keep praying that I get on that flight. At the airport the check-in counter is closed and I plead to give me a boarding pass – with no guarantee that I will make it on that flight. I rush through immigration with my HK – ID (thank god for this – I dint have a line to wait in) and skip the line for security check with a lot of people giving me snide comments. However, I couldn’t care much at this moment and ran… security love to hassle hurried people so they made me open my bags and practically took all my shampoo,creams blah blah blah I hated it, cuz all expensive stuff was out now : (
Anyways, I locked my suitcase and RAN – I was scooting on the escalators and into the train and to my gate. It was 5 mins to takeoff – I gave them my suitcase and they gave me a ticket that said that my bag may not be on this flight. I gladly accepted and ran into the plane. Furious faces greeted me and I found my seat. Getting my breath I started a conversation with the Chinese lady by me. We ended up talking all 3 hours and I felt so good that time flew.

The landing was splendid, perfect weather 21C and Im in this luxurious van that has come to pick me from the hostel. I was the only Indian on the flight and in the hostel. The hostel was nice, clean and spacious. Its actually a hotel IMO. They speak no English here and I feel stranded. A classmate of mine wrote necessary sentences in Chinese for me and this was my saving grace. I went to my room and took a quick nap. During this time Chirag was frantically trying to call me but in vain. People did not understand what he was saying @ reception. I was blissfully unaware of this and started my city trip around 3pm.

I wandered around the streets and it reminded me of India, the traffic, pollution , honking of vehicles, people just buzzing by you – everything…jus felt I was dumb in India. I walked to the Bell tower and watched a performance there very exciting Chinese music and then reading the map I went to the Drum tower and watched another performace. I met some tourists here and we just sat and observed the city and its activities for an hour from the top. Then I went around to the Muslim street the snack street and the mosque – I did some shopping and it was the Chinese vs Indian bargain – I wanted to save every penny and they wanted to earn every penny. Sometimes I got a deal sometimes they did : ) but it was fun shopping around. Its about 6pm now and the bell tower and drum tower are lit up and they look wonderfully beautiful – Chinese architecture shimmering in gold. I stroll down to the Xian wall and I climb up and rent a bicycle and ride for about an hour. Its good fun, I stop and watch the sun set and the City lights come up. I walk down to some expensive stores and try some expensive clothing. I’ve lost so much weight I need an M in Chinese size. Now I am tired and want to go back to the hostel, but I cant seem to find the right exit to the street that would take me back. I ask around and show off the Chinese card but no luck. SO I jump into a cab and he takes me back, I feel so relieved. I barely drop my bags in the room and I realize I’m late – I’m supposed to go for a Tsang dynasty show and the tour guide hurries me to the place. Just in time for the show, I enter the hall and Im not surprised, its packed with about 800 firangs. Im the only Indian here again. The performaces are very graceful and the music very soothing. I watch 8 of these and make small talk with the people on the table. Once the show is over Im escorted by the tour guide back to the hotel and Im starving but there is no store that’s open and sleep hungry.

The next morning, Im off to watsons and around to shop for breakfast. Its 8am the shops are open, shutters coming up and people getting ready for their day. I show off my Chinese post cards – No egg, no meat, no seafood – and its about 4 shops that show me the door. I finally try for some bread but no luck, so a young Chinese boy who is trying his English looks right into my face and asks “whats wrong with you” Im like startled but just say I need bread he walks me to a Wal-Mart and I get my bread and lotions : ) I hurry back and start my tour. To the Museum, the terracotta warriors and the hot spring. These are tourist spots and very attractive. I take a good bath in the hot spring and hope the minerals do good to me : ) Once we come back, I do some more shopping and get to a cyber cafĂ©. Send some mails and call it a day. I crash and the next day Im leaving. So I visit the Pagoda and the Emperors tomb, this time on my own in a private car with a driver. I feel very rich but it’s cheap to rent the car here. So still on a student budget Im having fun. The pagoda is very nice and I head to the tomb. Its about 2.15 and Im mid way up the hill and suddenly I feel very tired and dizzy, Im like stit, I feel like im gonna faint and the world around me is wobbling and everything is shaking. Im so scared, I feel like im in some strange land and sick and no one can help me, I feel like im falling so I sit down but the feeling doesn’t stop, I look around the hills and everything is in waves and it hits me – THERE IS AN EARTHQUAKE. At this time there is no tourist in vicinity, so I jus sit there and think of how I can inform anyone. Very soon I see 2 tourists rush down the hill and I ask them if the felt the earth shake and they nod. Im so relieved, they sit beside me and Im so glad Im not sick. I feel happy that its jus the earth and not my health. Once the tremble stops they head down and I climb up. Im still not sure about the dizziness so I buy some water and ice cream and run down. I buy some warriors outside and the car takes me for lunch. I cant discuss the earthquake cuz he doesn’t understand me.

I take a nap on the way to the airport and get weird dreams of the shake. Im quite frightened but hell im alive. At the airport it’s a mess, all the flights are cancelled and its curfew. There are people everywhere, I soon recognize tons of them from tourist destinations. I push my cart in que and sit down and make friends, the night is long and people need company. We describe our experiences and make lengthy conversations. Im the only Indian on the airport and only Indian gurl too. I think im nuts to wander off into this land and get stuck, but again im glad im alive. Some people were evacuated from their hotels, some were rushed from the shower and from bed and everyone was frightened. Tourists give updates via their blackberries, the local CCTV is no good cuz its Chinese, the airport staff have no idea whats happening just that all flights are cancelled. I’m stranded in this country where I cant speak, I have NO money cuz I shopped till the end, I have no credit card or phone card, and I’m hungry. Finally 7 hours later the flights resume, its 1.30am and I’m glad I’m going home. I get my veggie meal at about 2am and sleep till 4. I get my taxi and Im on my way back. A quick shower a silent prayer and some rest. Im on my way to office at 9am and at Wan Chai no one seems disturbed. Everyone is in their own rush and no one even mentions the tremor but I cant stop thinking about it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hump Day Drinking - Every Wednesday 9pm!!!

Wikipedia definition of Hump Day:
An English language idiom for Wednesday is "hump day", a reference to making it through to the middle of the work week as getting "over the hump."

Event: Hump Night at Unibar! (AKA Wednesday Night Drinking)
Where: Unibar
When: Every Wednesday night starting at 9pm
Who: Everyone
Why: Last few weeks before people go out on internships and exchange