Louis S. Y. Kwan

Master of Engineering Management (MEM), UTS, 2015

“I’m from Hong Kong, but I completed my undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering, in Taiwan.

“In order to have better career prospects, I undertook postgraduate study. In Taiwan, most students undertake postgraduate degrees. I was deeply affected by this situation, feeling that I would be inferior in professional knowledge and less competitive in career development if I didn’t.

“The Master of Engineering Management (MEM) from UTS is my second master’s degree. As a student with an engineering background, the MEM really suited me. I also believe it’s a good springboard to an MBA, and allows non-business graduates to undertake a professional business course. I also hold a master’s degree in Environmental & Water Resources Engineering from the United States.

“I undertook the MEM program in Hong Kong part time, taking two subjects each semester, while also working full time. Outside of class time, I studied the course materials and worked closely with classmates on group projects, assignments and thorough exam preparation via WhatsApp, phone and email. The lecturers worked hard to ensure we had all the critical information within a limited timeframe.

“I am now a Senior Environmental Consultant for a private firm in Hong Kong, in charge of ‘specified’ projects (including wastewater treatment, greywater recycling and solid waste recycling/treatment design) and ‘general’ projects (such as Green Building Certification).

“The MEM from UTS has allowed me to understand all aspects of project management; not just engineering, but also safety, the environment, finance, risks, economic analysis, and so on. In addition, it taught me skills such as leadership, decision making and more. I believe my postgraduate qualifications improve my competitiveness in the job market, and have sharpened my in-depth thinking and all-round skills.

“Spending less time with my family was unavoidable while undertaking the MEM. Balancing family, work, and the course was challenging. My brain kept on thinking and running, and I always felt exhausted, both mentally and physically. I think the best solution is to communicate with your family and workplace, so they understand that while it is difficult, it is only for a short period of time. Getting enough sleep is also critical.

“I recommend working for two or three years before undertaking postgraduate study. This provides the opportunity to bring any practical problems that you encounter in your job to your postgraduate lecturers, which benefits you and the university. Management skills require regular practical application, and I advise undertaking a course like the MEM when you are ready to move into a management position.”