Why MBA: Chinese University Hong Kong

After four years as an International Tax Lawyer for Deloitte in Amsterdam and NYC, Vasco van der Flier chose CUHK’s MBA to learn about Asian business.

International tax lawyer Vasco van der Flier quit Deloitte and headed to Hong Kong for an MBA that would help him move into international management .

After Masters degrees in Finance and Law at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, Vasco van der Flier, 28, began his career in Amsterdam and New York City as an International Tax Lawyer for Deloitte.

Interested in finding new career opportunities and in broadening his business knowledge, he started to think about doing an MBA. In particular, knowing that the world economy had shifted from West to East, he decided to apply to business schools with a focus on Asia, to be able to understand its business culture.

He applied to business schools in Singapore and Hong Kong, got some offers, but chose Chinese University Hong Kong (CUHK) for its proximity to China.

Vasco, who is the current President of the MBA Student Association at CUHK, won both the MBA Entrance Scholarship, which is given to outstanding candidate at the time of application, and the Mong Man Wai Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship that is offered by local sponsors.

For him, the main attraction of CUHK’s MBA program is its flexibility and the fact that students can complete the program in one year or in eighteen months, if they want to do an internship or an exchange in another university. “I’m not doing an internship, or an exchange during my MBA”, he explains, “And I didn’t want to be tied up in a two-year program, and stop working for so long.”

In addition, he liked CUHK’s student diversity and its alumni network: “Having already done two Masters degree, finding networking opportunities was very important to me”, he explains.

Finally, he wanted to choose the concentration in Chinese business: “Many companies want do business in China, but need to understand its business culture”, he says, “classes like Leadership and Organizational Behaviour in China or Corporate Fund-Raising Initiatives in the Chinese Equity Markets give you a good understanding of Chinese business practices”.

Vasco thinks finding the best MBA program is a combination of different factors: “rankings are not the only think to look at. For me, for example, the geographic location and the flexibility of the program were essential”, he says, “I would recommend CUHK to everybody who wants to focus on Asia and understand Chinese business culture”.

Before moving to Hong Kong, Vasco had the opportunity to study and work in the Netherlands, and in the US, and do volunteer work in Brazil, India and South Africa. What he likes about studying in Asia is the size of the class, smaller than in Dutch universities: “In Amsterdam classes were big, and there was not a lot of communication with professors. Here students have more opportunities to interact with them and to have one-to-one feedback”.

Vasco doesn’t know yet what he’ll be doing next year. He would like to pursue a career in international management: in particular, he is interested in financial services, venture capital and entrepreneurship. He would like to live in Hong Kong or New York, his two favourite cities in the world. 

Read more about the reasons people head to business school in the Why MBA section

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