A Steep learning curve

by Mayse Lam

(left to right) Nick Hand, programme director, the University of Greenwich Bernard Chan, general manager and programme director; Johnny Wong, lecturer, ABRS Professional Learning Services
Photo: Ringo Lee

Local training organisation collaborates with UK university to offer international-standard education

In a bid to further enhance Hong Kong's reputation as an international business centre, professionals from all industries are looking for opportunities to increase their capabilities. Considering time constraints and demanding careers, many of them opt for further education options that can fit into their business schedules but offers good-quality, career-boosting knowledge and insight. As a result, executive education centres and professional training organisations are an obvious choice.

Established in 1990, ABRS Professional Learning Services is a professional training organisation specialising in management and information technology.

Apart from regular programmes and seminars on industry-oriented topics such as network systems, management and executive skills, ABRS also offers a range of overseas degree programmes.

"We've been in the professional training field for 17 years and are still progressing and discovering new channels to enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness across all sectors," says Bernard Chan, general manager and programme director, ABRS Professional Learning Services.

Because of its wide-spread reputation in training excellence, the organisation's client portfolio comprises companies such as IBM, Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC, which either sponsor employees to attend ABRS programmes or commission ABRS to tailor-make special training programmes to fit their specific needs.

International perspective

In cooperation with the University of Greenwich in the UK, ABRS facilitates two top-up degree programmes: a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Accounting and Finance programme; and a recent addition, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration programme. "The university's reputation for offering quality education programmes is a great attraction to local students," says Mr Chan.

Nick Hand, programme director of the University of Greenwich, stresses that Hong Kong students have received both degree programmes enthusiastically. "We pride ourselves on being a leading international business school, with accounting and finance programmes that are recognised around the world," he says.

Founded in the late 19th century, the highly respected University of Greenwich currently educates over 18,000 undergraduates and postgraduates at its three campuses in London and Kent. The university aims to combine a mission for access and lifelong learning with research excellence and an international role.

"The BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance programme provides high-quality financial education to aspiring financial professionals, financial controllers and leaders of tomorrow who are keen to succeed," explains Mr Hand.

Meeting business needs

The one-year top-up degree consists of four modules: strategic financial management, finance and current issues in accounting and audit. The aim is to reinforce core strategic management accounting techniques.

The BBA programme, on the other hand, is focused on developing rounded professional business managers who can make effective and efficient management decisions. "We aim to provide an understanding of a range of business disciplines, closely linked with their applications, and to facilitate the development of individual management skills," notes lecturer Johnny Wong.

Dr Wong notes that a special element of the programme is a simulation game. "The game centres around a realistic situation where students encounter various challenges that they might typically come across in the business world," he says. Through analysis, and by considering aspects such as current economic and political trends, students and their team-mates are required to furnish a strategic solution to various problems, encouraging them to question, experience and look beyond conventional business administration materials.

Hong Kong is a world-renowned finance and banking centre and it is important that individuals in these fields are equipped with the necessary skills for financial problem-solving, as well as the ability to apply a range of financial techniques to complicated business circumstances. "We are looking at more than just business programmes. In both programmes, the curriculum and delivery models are tailored to meet the specific learning needs of Hong Kong people," Mr Chan points out. "With their exposure to Hong Kong's distinctive business environment, most of our students who are managers, or plan to rise to management level, have no problems immersing themselves in the programme. In fact, the curriculum suits the students' needs perfectly and holds their interest."

"ABRS Professional Learning Services and the University of Greenwich will continue to contribute to the development of financial talent in Hong Kong and we look forward to providing an outlet for the tremendous demand by foreign and local companies operating their businesses in China and Hong Kong," concludes Mr Hand.


Taken from Career Times 24 August 2007
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