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Name : Ch’ng Poh Leong
Age : 38
Qualifications : MBA with Distinction, University of Strathclyde (2015)
Job Title : Country Manager
(Ch’ng Poh Leong seen here with his family)
I was into my second year as a senior manager at a Japanese multinational when I decided to pursue my MBA. Prior to assuming this senior role, my decade-long career had centred on managing manufacturing operations. Now with a wider scope of responsibility and a significant influence on the direction of the business, I realised that more was required of me than what my accumulated knowledge and management experience in operations could offer. I began scouting for an MBA that could help me better understand business and strategy, strengthen my grasp on key management disciplines, and provide the ingredients for me to develop into a better business leader.
Deciding which MBA to take up turned out to be relatively straightforward. I wanted an MBA programme of reputable standing that could deliver what I had hoped to achieve. Only two MBAs administered in Malaysia at the time were ranked in the world’s top 100 and one of them, Strathclyde’s triple-accredited MBA, was widely regarded as one of the world’s very best in corporate strategy. Its strong reputation for research excellence in strategic management was a major pull factor for me. It was an easy decision and, in retrospect, I could not have made a better choice.
I have had the privilege of learning from academics who are not only at the forefront of their disciplines, but who possess a wealth of international experience in business and industry. Throughout the programme, local counsellors with solid academic and professional credentials provided effective support, and intensive group dynamics with fellow professionals enriched my exposure and learning experience. Putting newly acquired knowledge into practice helped me bring about changes in the company which led to unprecedented revenue, profit and growth. The business continues to thrive to this day on the back of these initiatives, and I have since moved on. The lessons gleaned from my MBA experience continue to prove invaluable in my current role as Country Manager at an Australian multinational.
Pursuing an MBA demands considerable time and effort, especially if you intend to make the most of your learning opportunities. Having the relevant management experience will make the learning process more resonant, but it won’t make it easy. Many of my weekends and evenings were spent away from the family, at classes, in groups, and on assignments. This, together with work commitments, made it a challenging period for me and my family. We ploughed through it together and, thankfully, have come out of the experience stronger.
It was a pleasant surprise finishing as the Top Malaysian MBA Student in 2015, and receiving the Dean’s Commendation for Project in the process. These simply make up the icing on the cake, because the knowledge acquired, experience gained, and friendships forged throughout the journey define the true value of this MBA. I believe that it will continue to prove its worth, professionally and personally, to all who embark on and finish the journey.