Irene Yin Chi Leung (MBA ’09)
SMU Cox MBA Travels from China to Study Business in the U.S.
Before choosing to study at the Cox School of Business, Irene Yin Chi Leung had established a successful career in China. After receiving her undergraduate degree in accounting from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, she joined KPMG to do auditing. She then worked in corporate finance functions at Motorola Asia Pacific, Shell HK, and Asia Netcom where she developed excellent quantitative and analytical skills. Leung's responsibilities included developing financial models to evaluate investment opportunities, performing financial statement analysis, budgeting and forecasting.
Leung chose to pursue an MBA full time in order to gain more in-depth and all-around knowledge about today's global business environment. By choosing a U.S. institution, she is also familiarizing herself with the U.S. business environment and management style through case studies and classroom discussions.
"With my work experience in Asia, pursing an MBA in the U.S. will also give me a comprehensive view of global businesses. I chose SMU Cox because it provides opportunities for students to have significant interaction with local business leaders, and it has a very good reputation," she said. "I especially like the Global Leadership Program, which provided me with the opportunity to go to India to visit companies and learn the culture."
One of Leung's favorite courses has been business presentations, which taught her to feel more comfortable in front of an audience and learn how to deliver her message effectively. She has also enhanced her organization skills while at Cox. Leung has had many team projects through her courses, and she has learned how to handle team dynamics and deliver results within an allotted time frame. In addition, she has taken many finance courses to enhance her financial knowledge, and she has learned how to analyze a case from different perspectives. All these experiences are helping her achieve her goals.
Leung has been pleased with the networking opportunities at the Cox School. She enjoys meeting new people through Cox networking events. And, the online alumni network allows her to contact Cox alumni working at companies in which she has an interest. They provide excellent career advice and insights about the industry, she said.
"The Cox network provides students opportunities to meet key business people. But the value depends on how much effort the students puts into it," said Leung. "I got career advice from my mentor, learned more about the industries and companies that interest me and I got valuable interview advice."
Leung is currently enjoying her second year of study at the Cox School, and she is looking forward to learning as much as possible.
"My study is not limited to these two years but is an ongoing process for my entire career," she said. "Even after graduation, I want to feel that I learn new things every day."
Upon graduation in 2009, Leung looks forward to finding a career in the financial industry that she will enjoy going to every day, and she believes her education from Cox is instrumental to her success. Not only has she enhanced her knowledge through the classroom, but she has exposed herself to different cultures and living environments. This process has allowed Leung to learn more about her strengths and weaknesses and what she wants to do with her career.
Based on her experience, Leung offers excellent advice to prospective and current MBAs. "Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try something new. You will learn a lot during this process. Also, ask people's advice and learn from people around you."