Manasy Vidyasagar is a Manager at PwC Consulting practice in Hong Kong. She specializes in project management across turn-around programs, change management and transformational projects for investment banks as well as wealth management firms.
Prior to consulting, Manasy spent six years with Goldman Sachs in India and the UK. She was born in India and raised in Muscat, Oman. She moved to Hong Kong to pursue her MBA in 2014.
When Manasy was studying for her MBA at The University of Hong Kong, she pursued the program's London track and spent a semester at London Business School. Manasy also holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and is passionate about traveling, reading books, and swimming.
Manasy holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an MBA degree from The University of Hong Kong with a specialization in Strategy. Outside of work, Manasy is passionate about travelling, reading books and swimming.
Note: the bulk of this interview was done in May 2015 when Manasy was an MBA student at HKU; a follow-up interview was done in May, 2017.
What was your career and education path before doing a China-Western MBA?
I was born in Chennai, India, and did my schooling in the Middle East in Muscat, Oman. But I moved back to India, to finish my undergraduate degree. Post my undergrad, I moved to Bangalore to work in Goldman Sachs. I worked with Goldman Sachs for six years before getting into The University of Hong Kong’s full-time MBA in partnership with London Business School.
What led you to choose a China-Western MBA program?
I was looking for a master’s degree that was in one of the financial centers. In Asia, it’s Hong Kong and Tokyo. With Tokyo, I needed to know Japanese and Hong Kong was an easy choice to make. Hong Kong is a fascinating financial hub along with the rich cultural influence it has which makes it an interesting place to live as well.
I also knew I wanted a fast track one-year MBA. HKU also gives a choice to do a semester at a partner school such as Columbia Business School or London Business School. Since I had worked in London before and was familiar with the city, I chose to go to London Business School. Our program starts with a one-month induction course in Beijing, to learn about Chinese culture and try our hand at Mandarin; then we spend the next eight months in Hong Kong and to close the program we get to do the final leg in London Business School. As a bonus I gained exposure to two major financial hubs in the world.
Why do you want to study and work in Asia?
Asia is in the growth phase; everything is moving towards Asia. It’s definitely a growing local market, and Hong Kong is the gateway to China—it is and has been the connecting link for centuries, right from when UK was trading with China. Secondly, it was closer to home (India) for me.
The program is really for students like me who have had a fair amount of international exposure, and came to study in Asia. There is a good international representation of students from all over Asia as well as Europe and [the] Americas. The medium of communication is English, professors are all fairly global, mostly Western-educated. We also have exchange professors who come in for a semester from other renowned b-schools across the world.
At the end of the day, China’s growing; even if you study in the US, the headwinds are all this way. If you look at Europe, you’ve got the eurozone crisis; the US is unstable, and the UK has the Brexit.
What are your career aspirations?
I’m looking to join in strategy and business development roles for financial institutions, ideally in Hong Kong, London or Singapore. I recently attended a conference, and the speaker was in Singapore just last week—it was an interesting opportunity where I could talk to other job seekers to see where they were also headed.
If you’re going to open up a school in China, or Asia, Asian students still prefer to go to the main campuses in [the] US. It’s a very different market space to design a program that would fit in perspective with the US and China. A lot of colleges are trying it but aren’t able to profit. HKU’s program has been around for more than eleven years now, along with their partnerships, so their resources and access to career development just has much more foundation. I would think it’s difficult for new players to enter this market.
Follow-up after graduation: Where are you now?
Post-MBA, I secured a job at PwC Consulting, where I am a manager. Most of Asia’s banking is in private wealth management, thus as a consultant my first consulting project is on a digital wealth platform transformation with UBS. This has given me insight to a different banking atmosphere from an investment bank. Along with my day job, I am also a co-chair with Woman in Finance Asia (WiFA) in their networking pillar.
Also as a consultant I am able to apply many things from the business school program and understand the Asian business dynamics better. The MBA program did prep me for this job by doing real life case studies and thinking like a consultant. I would also say that it might have been difficult to land this job without the MBA.