“HKG” – Lessons from my IESE MBA

Recent graduate Charles Nweke (MBA 2019) summarises the learnings from his MBA experience with the catchy acronym "HKG". What does it mean?

As the final weeks of my 19-months MBA passed, I reflected on my key takeaways from such a unique and eye-opening experience. At first, it seemed elusive trying to summarise everything I have learned and experienced through 500 cases discussed from the lenses of 50+ nationalities across 40 courses, countless events and trips across four continents. Yes, after an MBA, most people become more ambitious and probably take more risks. I hope and do so too. However, reflecting on what I admired the most in previous MBAs whom I saw as role models, it all came together in a “not-so-unique” acronym: HKG – Humility, Kindness, & Gratitude. Though ubiquitous, the acronym also felt personal as Hong Kong still happens to be the city I have visited the most in Asia to date.

So how does being humble, kind, and grateful summarise learnings from 19 months of intense course work and tons of intimate experiences?

Humility – Staying humble at all times means recognising that even after an MBA, no matter how prestigious, there is still a lot to learn. After my MBA, I am now aware of the tons of knowledge out there that is still yet to be acquired. I am much less ignorant, although not necessarily very knowledgeable. For instance, I recognise my biases much more than before but still have to do more to conquer all of them every time. Henceforth, staying humble means acknowledging that there are many brilliant people out there who are smarter than me. It means accepting that I may be the dumbest person in the room; yet with something to offer. On the bright side, have the steepest potential learning curve.

Kindness – Being kind for me first denotes seeing the best in others. It is an acceptance that more often than not, I may not know people as well as I think; their pains, motivations, fears, dreams, and ambitions. I have learned to accept that listening is one of the main acts of kindness, even in the world of business. To be kind is to take diversity in all its forms. To treat others respectfully and not necessarily as I would tolerate. Kindness, means, I have to learn and relearn to look beyond financial statements and KPIs to ensure my view of success translates to tangible impacts on people, communities, and the society at large.

Gratitude – Last but not least, William Arthur Ward puts it perfectly in his quote “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it”. I have learnt that there is no such thing as being too grateful. At this juncture, I want to thank you for reading up to this point ?. I will always remain thankful to those who inspired and supported me through the GMAT preparations, applications, relocation to Spain, and the MBA. Special thanks to my family, friends, and the amazing IESE community! I had some doubts, but you all helped me leap. For this, I am very grateful!

So henceforth, every time I stumble upon the acronym “HKG”, or anytime I walk past the flight schedule in any international airport, I will be reminded of my personal MBA vow to be humble, remain kind-hearted, and always be grateful, even for the little things.

Congratulations to the IESE MBA Class of 2019 as you embark in your new adventures, all the best!

[This article is re-posted from Linkedin]


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Charles Nweke View more

Charles is an IESE MBA class of 2019 alumnus. He prides himself as a chartered Engineer, entrepreneur, strategist and amateur football Referee. He is a curious, assertive, and extraverted individual who has a knack for tackling challenges in innovative and efficient ways. His exposure to many cultures through living and working across four continents has helped him develop a unique, empathetic approach to working with diverse people and in different settings.

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