Tsz Yan (Joey) Kong
- Course: Full-time MBA
- Year of graduation: 2014
- Job title: Managing Director
- Company: Ma Petite J Bespoke Jewellery Company
Tell us about your degree - why did you choose it? What elements of the degree inspired you to study it?
I saw the course as a challenge as well as a way of developing myself. My partner was a Leeds alumnus who had studied Dentistry, he also has an MBA from Warwick University. Originally I saw the MBA as part of my personal development, however I quickly saw it as a brilliant way to prepare myself for running my own business. (I also wanted to challenge my partner!)
What was the best part of your studies here? What did you enjoy the most?
The people I met and the projects that I completed, especially the consultancy project with Northern Ballet. My teammates and I saw the project as a full time job, rather than part of the course. The project results were better than expected and we landed an interview with the Financial Times. That was very fulfilling and a proud moment for the hard work we had put in.
What were your career aspirations when you arrived? Do you think the experience and skills you gained here will help/helped you in your future career plans? In what way?
I thought I was going to use my MBA for a new job with a corporate company in Hong Kong, but finishing the MBA inspired me to become an entrepreneur. I am able to use the skills I developed on the course in real life and apply them to my business. I learnt about accounting, marketing, finance, interpersonal skills etc. which all help me in my current role. I am very glad I completed the Leeds MBA.
Where are you currently working, and what is your role?
I am working between Hong Kong, UK and Europe. My role is to manage the company. I currently have four employees working for me. My role involves meeting with clients, travelling to jewellery trade shows worldwide, attending gala dinners and events, networking, promoting my brand, finding the best material (i.e. diamonds) and finally designing a unique piece of jewellery for each client by listening and communicating with them.
What are your ambitions for the future?
To design and create a number of ready- to- wear pieces of jewellery. I would like to get the brand into more branches with international exposure, right now I am selling to Hong Kong, China, US, UK, and Europe. It would also would be nice if some big department stores, such as Harrods and Selfridges, would carry my brand in the future.
Do you think your experience and skills gained here will help you in your future career plans? In what way?
Absolutely. The way I work has totally changed. I have always had an obsessive personality. It used to annoy me, but now after the MBA, I make use of it and do everything in a meticulous way. So far, all the feedback from my clients has been excellent and I am very proud of the jewellery that I have designed, made and delivered to my clients. I have produced over 100 pieces in the last two months, since I started the business.
If you are not from the UK, how was the transition to a foreign country? Did the university offer support or services that you found helpful? Can you offer any advice?
I live between Hong Kong and the UK (Leeds), HK was a British colony when I was born and therefore a move to the UK was not strange at all. On top of that, my partner is originally from Leeds before he came to Hong Kong for his job as a Professor in the University. I noticed that the school provided support to students from around the world who came to study.
What was your impression/experience of the facilities, the staff, your peers, the student union, the City of Leeds and the region itself? What would you recommend to future students?
Leeds is such a great city itself. It is beautiful and is the second biggest financial city after London. Leeds University has a high reputation and the teaching staff and school environment has been a bonus. I would definitely recommend Leeds to anyone who is looking for a university in the UK.
What would you say is your defining memory of studying here? (eg friendships made, confidence in your abilities, or any single event that you will always remember?) And would you recommend the Business School to others?
That would be the friends that I have made for life! I have visited Taipei, Bangkok, Tokyo, Shanghai in the last couple of months and it feels amazing to see my MBA classmates whenever I travel to a different city! I will always remember the cultural event that was hosted by my class. It was an evening that we all truly enjoyed! And last but not least, the day we handed in a group project after months of hard work. The sweat, the tears, the laugh and giggles we had together will always be in my heart. The experience is priceless and I would recommend everyone to go to LUBS (I have already recommended it to my peers!)