For extreme sports enthusiasts, China’s Gobi Desert is a legendary location to test if you have what it takes to challenge yourself, go through your comfort zone, and succeed. From April 30 to May 4, 2023, HKUST warriors from the EMBA, Kellogg-HKUST EMBA, and MBA programs joined alumni family members for The 17th Xuanzang Road Business School Gobi Challenge (第十七屆玄奘之路戈壁挑戰賽), an annual tradition for HKUST's EMBA community.

Starting its life as the “Pilgrimage Journey of Xuanzang”, the event retraces the footsteps of a Buddhist monk on his journey to India, symbolizing the pioneering spirit that emerged during the Tang Dynasty 1,300 years ago. Postponed twice due to the pandemic, this year’s event saw approximately 5,000 students and alumni from top global business schools in China joining.

Wang Qiyu celebrates crossing the finish line
Groundbreaking event for HKUST

This is the first time Kellogg-HKUST EMBA and MBA alumni and students have participated, with 61 brave runners making it the largest number of HKUST participants taking up the gauntlet to date. The teams trained for over six months to prepare for the grueling race conditions, negotiating over 100 kilometers of uninhabited Gobi Desert on foot, with extreme temperature fluctuations and dust storms at an altitude of over 1,000 meters. This challenge demanded physical strength, perseverance, teamwork, cooperation, courage, and endurance. Despite the obstacles, the teams completed the 121-kilometer-long road over four days and three nights, showcasing their determination and resilience.

Congratulations must go to the EMBA team who achieved the best result this year, winning six awards with the MBA team, and taking home the Best Creative Award and the Best Popularity Award for their video. “The tough and unforgettable experience enriched our lives and enlightened our minds. It is our life-long treasure,” said Wang Qiyu (2022 EMBA).

You Yong thanks all the participants during the celebration banquet
Challenge accepted

The race offered valuable insights into cultivating perseverance for the challenges and difficulties of the rapidly evolving business world. Team leader You Yong (2016 EMBA) said, “We departed together, arrived at the finish line together (一起出發,一起到達). This strengthened the spirit of HKUST and fostered genuine friendships, showing everyone has infinite potential to overcome difficulties and limits.”

You are welcome to join the race. Please keep an eye out for the recruitment information next year.

Xue Guo (2022 EMBA) leads runners into the harsh Gobi Desert