From game theory to leadership: how my EMBA changed my view of the world
“After going to one of the best business schools in the world, you can’t possibly ever be the same way again,” says Sue Huey Chuah, who graduated in 2017 from the EMBA-Global Asia, run by London Business School in partnership with Columbia Business School and the University of Hong Kong. Although she had heard from EMBA-Global alumni that their two years on the programme had been the best of their lives, Sue says she found it hard to believe them – until she arrived at London Business School.
“From day one I knew I would be a different person,” she says. “And now everything, from how I make my decisions to how I see the world, has changed forever. It’s still changing, in fact, and will continue to change.”
Sue, who currently works in transaction advisory services at EY, was attracted to the programme by its high ranking in EMBA league tables (the programme was ranked second in the Financial Times Global EMBA Rankings 2017), and by the alumni she met before she started the programme.
She says she wanted a “truly global experience” from her EMBA, and the programme – which is delivered across three continents and three campuses – was exactly what she was looking for. “I got the benefit of incredible professors and hundreds of students from all over the world, with views so rich and distinctive. If you bring together people with so many collective years of experience in business, the learning is always going to be profound. There’s so much that I draw on every day at work.”
The insights Sue gleaned from the EMBA-Global on game theory, decision making and leadership, for example, have become “invaluable tools” that help her in her job. “In a classroom setting with this level of faculty and with such accomplished peers, the best questions and the most meaningful answers are drawn out,” she says.
“Now, I see problems with a clear perspective. The EMBA-Global not only enabled me to move to London, but it changed the way that I interact with people – my peers and senior leaders,” adds Sue. “The biggest impact is this: when I come to work, I don’t just come to work as me anymore. I come to work with the knowledge that I’m connected to powerful platforms across three different continents.”
Initially daunted by the idea of a move to London – despite previously living in Malaysia, Singapore, San Francisco, Manhattan, Vietnam and briefly, Germany – Sue anticipated an adjustment period when she arrived in the UK. But there wasn’t one.
“I had been very comfortable with Asia Pacific: doing business, flying from one country to the other. I could deal with any complications because of my familiarity with the region,” she says. “Here in London the people and the culture were new. But LBS made it easy. There’s a whole community of people who are very welcoming. I reached out to the Executive MBA London people and the EMBA Global people who were based in London and it plugged me in very quickly. I had a ready-made network.”
Perhaps the most surprising impact of the EMBA-Global on Sue is that it’s made her more relaxed. She says running a hectic schedule of both work and study alongside others who are doing the same has given her a new perspective on investing her time. “Places aren’t made up of just systems and processes,” she says. “I used to think so, but now I realise that they’re made of people. I am more relaxed because I know that going forward in my career, I can always solve complex problems by bringing good people together.”
Sue says the LBS Career Centre was instrumental in helping her crystallise her plans for the future. “They made me think about my career as a whole, not just the next step. Before business school I assumed I would be in Singapore forever, but now I’m in London. I never imagined that I would sit in a deli in Regent’s Park talking to a world-renowned professor about the news, but that kind of informal access to some of the greatest minds in the world happens a lot at LBS. You see a bigger picture. It’s quite a privilege.”
When Sue started the EMBA-Global, she knew that success would be about what she put into it, rather than what she would get out of it. For her, contributing positively to the programme and the LBS community as a whole meant investing in her peers and getting to know the faculty.
“The access you have to current and future thought leaders is so valuable,” she says. “If you’re thinking about applying for the EMBA-Global, go for it. You’ll come out two years later with a new view of the world. It’s a very powerful platform.”