Women are no less than men – even in Tech – says Ally Cheung

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Note: This article contains the information provided by Ally Cheung(Linked In | Twitterabout her journey of being an MBA graduate and shining in the Technology field without any knowledge on it.

I began my undergraduate as a Chemistry major. After working in petrochemical trading companies for a few years in Hong Kong, I decided to make a change. I did an MBA at HKUST Business School in 2015, equipping myself in the business world and exploring what I wanted to do in my next journey.

Through studying dozens of case studies in the MBA program, I learned that how technology has been transforming our lives and it will remain the game changer in so many years to come. While most of our classmates were going after the big Banks, I figured out I wanted to work in Tech and make an impact there.

Show up and make it happen

Then my professor introduced me to his friend, who is the co-founder of an insuretech company, which runs with blockchain technology. After some lovely chat with all the co-founders, I was offered a summer internship and a full-time offer after. It was the stepping stone for me to tap into one of the most exciting tech space. I still feel very grateful that I took the chance and become who I am now.

I went to NYU Stern School of Business for my last semester abroad after my summer internship. My experience in New York was mind-blowing. I was living in a co-living space where many driven people from different parts of the world co-live and work their dreams in the house. Staying with uplifted people help get you out of your comfort zone. Despite being an introvert I started reaching out to people, attending networking events and supporting each other. I became comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Women can build things

Before I left the city, I joined Hackathon which experience I will never forget. It’s called Mod the Future hosted by Motorola in NYC for over 24 hours in a quest to create a winning Moto Mod concept for the Moto Z. There were 17 teams which 90% of the participants were guys. We were the only girl team yet we were one of the three winning teams at the end! It means a lot to someone like me who had ZERO tech background. I contributed my business idea, presentation skills, etc. I realized there was a lot I could do in the tech space even though I was not a techie. It means much more being the only girl team who won in the male dominating game — We can build things!

Today I am a Head of Community Management of a Blockchain-based company, building a community of more than 30,000 members and running marketing campaign resulted in 16 mil USD fundraising.

However, I have become used to see so few women in the space, like networking events, conferences, not to mention seeing them in the leadership positions. Tech is a male-dominating space and it’s even worse in Blockchain. The good thing is, the newness of blockchain puts us on the same level. It’s an emerging space that women can get in early and change the gender ratio.

Invited by HKUST MBA to be a panelist in the Fintech panel

I want to take this chance to encourage young women to consider tech as a career. Tech is so much fun. There is beauty in this fast-paced, challenging, ever-changing space. You can build things and make a significant impact on people’s lives. If you are worried you don’t have a tech background, look at me! I am an excellent example of someone who works in tech without coding skills! Tech is so much more than programming and coding. When you look at CEOs of some of the most successful tech companies, they are not programmers. Jack Ma is not a techie and he founded the world’s largest e-commerce platform, Alibaba.

Break the status quo

Women are so unrepresented in the tech field. As intimidating as it can be, don’t let it stop you and limit what you can achieve. Space require women who can bring them different perspectives and skill sets. Think about it, it’s fun to be different. You are creating value to shape how we live while not many people can do it. Besides, women-in-tech stands out more, with their talents and potential more exposed than men. Tech companies should be more inclusive with women as well. Statistics show that companies having higher diversity in their teams and more balanced gender ratio earn higher ROIs.

As a society, let’s do a better job to encourage women to enter STEM and get rid of the stereotype that ‘Tech is a boys’ club’. Provide an environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to grow and excel in the tech industry regardless of your gender and ethnicity.

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