Alumni Portraits

  • Decision of a Lifetime

    Arthur Yuen (MBA 1998)
    24 Mar 2014

    When you reach the heights of the 88th floor in Two International Finance Centre (IFC) in Central and the upper reaches of Hong Kong's authority for monetary and banking stability, the decisions you make are likely to have major consequences for many people and business sectors both locally and far beyond.

    For Arthur Yuen, Deputy Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the process of making those decisions has been greatly shaped by his HKUST MBA experience. He had acquired technical financial knowledge through his undergraduate business degree. He then puts this knowledge to work as an Administrative Officer with the Hong Kong Government and Securities and Futures Commission before joining the HKMA in 1996. However, he still wanted answers to more fundamental questions, such as how to make decisions that would be good for society as a whole.

    By the end of his HKUST MBA, he felt he gained exactly what he needed to move forward: a broad friendship network with people from a range of careers that could provide insights on issues in an informal way; and the ability to think through courses of action.

    At the HKMA, Arthur has been involved in a number of roles before concentrating on banking supervision. He is a firm believer in leading by example and in his current position in charge of banking policy, development and supervisory issues, he is constantly aware of how his personal behavior and position as a regulator need to be in sync. "My screen saver is eight Chinese characters with an old saying that translates as: 'Be tough on yourself and lenient on others.' This is a reminder to be disciplined as a regulator and to behave properly. You need to show people what your standards are."

    While Arthur's work sees him traveling widely, his HKUST networks have helped him over the long hours as he often seems to meet up with people connected with the MBA as he heads around the globe. "I keep on bumping into alumni friends at airports and foreign cities. It is great to meet someone you are familiar with on these trips," he said.

    And despite his tough schedule, Arthur still sees the MBA as a part of his life and always finds time to take part in related activities. He has chaired the MBA Alumni Association, helped out on interview sessions and with the student MBA Finance Club, has joined the Business School's Advisory Council and gives talks to the Business School community as a whole. "When you meet students, it gets you to think and you get better as a result of that process. You need new stimulus all the time and discussions with the younger generation give you that – in a way that differs from just talking to your classmates."

    "In all these activities, it's not a question of what's in it for you," he said. "It's a chance to come back, re-establish connections, and simply enjoy yourself."