Initially trained as a computer engineer, Damien has been working as a Consultant in the Financial Data and Technology Industry, responsible for solving data challenges of COOs for quite some time. He then joined a start-up from the UK which was growing rapidly with business expanding into Asia and China. As one of the core members of the company, he saw himself lacking the view on the big picture of running a business. Seeing the need to piece things together, he decided to go for an MBA.
Damien chose CUHK MBA based on 2 criteria he had in mind, first was diversity, he wanted to gain exposure in other industries other than the financial industry and through meeting people at the course, be able to understand more about the synergies and work practices of these industries. The combination of student profiles at CUHK MBA formed a very unique class for which everyone has something for others to learn from. Secondly, he was naturally attracted to the Entrepreneurship concentration CUHK offered as he always wanted to start his own business one day.
He particularly enjoyed the entrepreneurial courses, from idea to realisation, funding to execution. The most unforgettable moment was to represent the School, structured and presented a real life business case from a medical school with a new innovation. Damien, together with 3 of his cohorts took the case and won the Austin Ventures Award in the Global Venture Labs Investment Competition (VLIC) at the University of Texas, Austin. Global VLIC was described as the “Super Bowl of world business plan competition”.
The friendship made was definitely something he treasured most. He still keeps in touch with some of his classmates. He remembered the times when how people from a diversity of backgrounds and from different domains worked together tirelessly, putting aside the already tight business schedules in the past 2 years.
Now running his own business, Backers, an experiential retail store helping products from crowd funded projects penetrate to the mass market, he is certain that with the MBA courses, his viewing angle has changed from not only running successful projects but also to meeting the customer needs and understanding their game plan. The practical experience gained from the entrepreneurial classes plus the courses in Project Finance were extremely useful.
Recently, Backers has been awarded as one of the top 50 Innovative Retail Leaders in Hong Kong.
As for the future, Damien’s big plan is to have foot-print in all major markets in Asia that could help startups entering those new markets and having his business seen as a de-facto market entry go-to partner.
Finally, a piece of advice to our MBA students.
“Spend all your energy to enjoy every moment in the programme and take every opportunity to learn to experience and absorb like a sponge.”