Edmond Chan is AllianceBernstein’s regional Chief Financial Officer. He oversees accounting, financial planning and analysis, regulatory reporting, M&A, treasury, payroll and tax functions.
Chan graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a BA in business administration (accounting and finance). He earned his MBA from the University of Hong Kong and is CPA-certified in Hong Kong.
Q: What were you doing before taking your MBA?
A: I took the part-time HKU MBA programme. Along the way, I was the regional financial controller of AllianceBernstein (AB) which provides worldwide asset management services to investors. I was responsible for financial control for the Asia ex-Japan region. Prior to joining AB, I was the audit manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers. My professional career began at Arthur Andersen.
Q: What was your main motivation for doing an MBA?
A: While I had a solid background in accounting and auditing, the MBA allowed me to diversify my skills and build confidence in other elements of a business. Not only did I continue to enhance my academic and professional knowledge of business administration, it was also a great opportunity to remain apprised of the current global market environment. Apart from that, pursuing an MBA gave me great networking opportunities with fellow classmates, as well as access to the extensive alumni network.
Q: What is the single most important lesson you learned from the MBA experience?
A: I learned about the importance of diversity. During my MBA studies, I worked with smart, talented people who work in different industries and have diverse credentials. The thought-provoking and constructive debate I had with them was very enlightening. Great minds think alike may not be a universal truth. Through group assignments, I acquired new insights into how people think about problems in different ways.
Q: What are you doing now? Did your MBA help in the transition and change?
A: I am still working at AB. Two years after completing the HKU MBA programme, I have stepped up to the position of regional Chief Financial Officer. As such, I oversee a wide range of functions for the region. My MBA enabled me to acquire an in-depth view of the business world, polish my presentation skills, and appreciate practicalities.
Q: If there was one thing you would change about your MBA experience, what would it be?
A: With hindsight, I should have taken even more elective courses which went beyond my comfort zone. One example I have in mind is technology-related. Today, our business cannot afford to miss the digital wave. Globally, technology is a real disrupter in many ways. A tech-immersed generation has grown up and is shaping our society and economy. It is important to keep up to speed on this front.