From being thrived as a digital marketer in Argentina to setting up his own business in Malaysia, Mattia Palesa (Class of 2020) is used to stepping out of his comfort zone. As a young, ambitious, and long-sighted entrepreneur discontented with stability, he decided to study an MBA in Hong Kong with his belief that the future of the global business landscape will be dominated by Asia.
Mattia shares how CUHK MBA connected him to the Asian Century as he started a brand new chapter in his career:
Tell us about your background. What did you do before you came to Hong Kong?
I was born and raised in the Prosecco land, Treviso and I graduated with a degree in International Trade at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in 2013. That’s when I started to set international exposure as a priority.
I started my career in digital marketing and later changed to IT industry. I’ve worked in Argentina and Munich. Life in a corporate is highly structured and stable, but I was not satisfied, especially at 26ish. Hence, I decided to take a more twisting road to establish my own business with two Asian partners.
What prompted you to pursue an MBA? Why Hong Kong and why CUHK?
From my experience in digital ecosystem, I knew that I needed more experience in corporates. For the static viewpoint, I needed to see the larger picture and understand how different sides of the business are impacted by technology and disruptive business models. This was the ultimate reason why I wanted an MBA experience.
I have always been fascinated by different cultures. CUHK offered a comprehensive programme focused on innovation and technology. Asia is and will be the engine of global economy. A driving force that I definitely want to be part of. I firmly believe that the only way I can learn Asian business methodologies is by experiencing them firsthand, in Hong Kong – one of the most exciting and dynamic realities of the world’s economy. Besides, I wanted to efficiently learn Mandarin, a language that is becoming mandatory worldwide.
What competitive advantages you see the CUHK MBA programmes have over the other business schools?
I chose CUHK business school mainly for three reasons: proximity to China, the Innovation and technology concentration, and the lecturers’ background. Looking backwards, I could not have made a better decision. Furthermore, additional value is given by a strong international batch of students and a good placement after the programme. CUHK MBA offered a chance to learn the Asian business dynamics. I entered as a very ambitious European student, now I am a person who looks at macro-economic dynamics critically and passionately.
Tell us more about Bruita-Price Tag. Can you explain a bit on the business model and what role do you play at this startup?
PriceTag, the first product of Bruita, is an App that enables the user to find great prices wherever you are and, at the same time, create a community of grocery shoppers in Malaysia to save time and money on groceries and everyday purchases. PriceTag lets our users compare in-store and online prices, showing automatically the stores nearby.
I launched this business in Malaysia with two partners, the CTO from Nagpur, India and the Managing Director from Malaysia. From the very beginning, we understood the importance of data in the retail industries and we tried to capture as many as we can from both the user and supply sides.
As I started doing MBA, I am now only a shareholder.
What is your present position?
Lalamove is one of the fastest delivery services in the Asia Pacific, Mainland China and, since last month, in Latin America. We are revolutionizing the way deliveries are being done and at the same time simplifying the lives of people providing a new stream of income to the drivers. As a digital product manager with a focus on supply, I am responsible for defining the why, when, and what of the product that the engineering team builds for the drivers. I am leading cross-functional teams from a product’s conception through to its launch.
In what ways has the MBA Programme helped you land this position?
The Asian Pacific market consists of prosperous countries in terms of being a new economy in the world and China is rapidly changing its business model. New opportunities are consistently emerging.
CUHK provided me with the possibility to deeply observe the trend of Asia Pacific’s new economy and to be part of it. In the “Strategic Management” course, my team and I had the chance to pitch a strategy report in front of the Lalamove management 5 months before the recruitment process. Knowing a company so deeply allows a greater awareness before applying.
Were you able to achieve your goals you have planned prior to your MBA and how has the programme helped you?
An MBA is something that pays off in the long term. I have a long-term objective mainly related to the network and the people. However, in the short term, the MBA offered me the chance to understand the market better, challenge myself with people with different traditions and perspectives, and to understand what my limits are and challenge them.
Any advice to prospective students?
The biggest takeaway from my MBA experience is that it can be life-changing if you commit to it 100%. I have made memories that will last a lifetime and friends that will last even longer.
My advice to international students targeting CUHK would be that you are making the right decision by wanting to be part of the Asian century. With the global shift in economic power from West to East, any professional today with a long-term view would want to be associated with businesses in Asia at some point in their careers. The Asian schools might be younger compared to those in the United States, but this makes them hungrier for success and never rest on their greatness.