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From Malaysia to the UK: Making Bold Adventures as an MBA student


From Malaysia to the UK: Making Bold Adventures as an MBA student

26 February 2024

From Malaysia to the UK: Making Bold Adventures as an MBA student

Lua Foong Chia graduated from the University of Nottingham Malaysia campus with a degree in Business, Economics and Finance. Her siblings all benefitted from overseas opportunities and exposure, either through studying or working abroad and her parents gave her the option to pursue a twinning program abroad. However, Chia opted to do her full degree locally in Malaysia and saved up the money to pursue her postgraduate degree overseas instead.  

After over six years of working in a non-technical finance role, Chia decided to pursue her MBA degree abroad. Coming from the investment industry, she was curious about the world beyond finance and her potential for personal and professional transformation post-MBA. So, choosing the Alliance Manchester Business School in the United Kingdom is a logical choice for Chia. 

“I like how the Manchester’s MBA focuses a lot on learning-by-doing. Here, I am exposed to three consultancy projects with real clients in the real world. Most other MBA programmes only offer the opportunity to work on one consultancy project. This exposure hones my consulting skills, allows me to work in diverse industries and gives me a thorough understanding of the dynamic business landscape, spanning growth, turnaround and navigating challenges.” 


Expanding connections and perspectives 

In her cohort of approximately 100 MBA students, there are six Malaysian students including her. This gives her ample opportunities to connect and learn from students from other backgrounds. 

“Of course, being around Malaysians helps to make it homier,” Chia said. However, for her, embracing the diversity in her cohort can significantly enhance her personal and professional growth, which is crucial for her future career goals. 

“Though, I must say, being able to code-switch efficiently between using British (or formal) English and Malaysian English (Manglish) is funny. Even my local friends are intrigued at how we Malaysians can magically switch into Manglish whenever we are speaking with other Malaysians,” Chia laughed. 


Challenging you beyond your comfort zone 

Studying abroad has really helped Chia to develop a more inclusive and adaptable mindset. Being placed in groups with a diverse set of individuals, including engineers and lawyers, to achieve common goals challenges her preconceptions and enhances her critical thinking, allowing her to appreciate the unique perspectives that people bring to the table. 

“My advice to anyone who is considering studying abroad – be open-minded, be curious and always ready to step out of your comfort zone. Only then can you embrace powerful transformation and grow steeply.”  

For Chia, her MBA is an eye-opening experience. She collaborates with economists and business professionals from the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) fields, fostering a passion for sustainability and an interest in impact investing. 

During her not-for-profit consultancy, she collaborated with the United Kingdom’s largest gas distributor on a government-backed sustainable energy initiative – a hydrogen conversion scheme that involved setting up hydrogen-heated towns to replace the traditional gas boilers as a pilot study. 

“I delved into various carbon reduction strategies, examined the locals’ reactions to hydrogen conversion to formulate mitigation plans and contributed to the UK’s goal of achieving net zero by 2050.” 

In her most recent work with a Fortune 500 technology conglomerate, she helped to develop 6G technology R&D strategies that are poised to shape the world’s future technological landscape. She collaborated with industry experts, reviewed history and researched use-cases to capitalise on upcoming opportunities, employing innovative thinking and strategic foresight. 


Building a support system for Malaysian professionals 

In most cases, Malaysian student associations in universities abroad tend to cater to the undergraduate student population. Postgraduate students like Chia may not be as active due to the nature of the activities. However, it does not stop her from staying connected to her Malaysian roots. 

“I hang out a lot with the Malaysian students in my MBA cohort, as well as with other Malaysian professionals who are working in Manchester. Some of these working professionals work in the medical or industrial sectors.” 

As an experienced professional herself, Chia finds the MyHeart platform significant to her professional development.  

“It can be a comprehensive support system for the Malaysian professionals working in different parts of the world. I particularly like how it can be a dynamic hub for exchanging ideas, insights and resources. You can easily tap into a wealth of knowledge and experiences from individuals who have gone through similar challenges.” 

The MyHeart platform can also open doors for cross-border collaboration among Malaysians, on top of other professional development opportunities like job mentorships, networking and projects. 

“And I especially like the MyHeart Stories section – I love reading the stories and learning about other people’s journeys,” she added. 

If you are a Malaysian professional living or studying abroad and would like to get connected with others in the same boat, register with MyHeart today!