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by Grace Chan
"A first degree and sound technical skills alone may not be enough to effectively manage a department or lead a company," says Jude Chow, director & group general manager, Associated Engineers, Ltd (AEL).
A "2010 Entrepreneurs for Tomorrow", Mr Chow not only has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Sydney and a master's in engineering management from the University of Technology, Sydney, but he also obtained an executive MBA (EMBA) from the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) in 2003.
"When I first started working in Australia, I was initially involved in production planning and subsequently tasked with a number of airport and environmental engineering projects, which required more than just technical knowledge and skills," Mr Chow recalls. "I could've spent one more year to further my studies in engineering management towards an MBA qualification, but opted for an EMBA programme which took me three years, since I preferred to hone my general management abilities instead."
When choosing from the many MBA programmes on offer, Mr Chow regarded an excellent international reputation and quality teaching as priorities, and subsequently opted for an EMBA programme administered by AGSM.
"The strict admission criteria and challenging curriculum ensured all my fellow students were high-calibre senior executives from a wide range of backgrounds so that we could benefit from the interaction and from contact with the faculty members comprised of acclaimed academics as well as business consultants working for Fortune 500 companies," Mr Chow notes. "We were required to do vast amounts of reading and participate in class discussions despite our busy working schedules. The programme was strenuous."
He points out however that the study mode offered a level of flexibility that allowed him to choose between taught subjects or team projects in his final year of study.
"I chose the latter because this made me feel as if I was immersed in a real business environment, with different specialists working together to compile business reports and presentations. Project work also tends to encourage collaborative learning," he explains. "This also honed my presentation skills, which is so important at management level."
Mr Chow concedes that knowledge of change and strategic management now really stands him in good stead. "Although change management was a new concept to the business world 10 years ago, the programme taught me to address complex business and management issues from a change and strategic perspective," he remarks.
When he returned to Hong Kong in 2003, he took up a regional strategic position with a German technology company. Two years later, he joined AEL, which had been founded by his father in 1961 and specialises in airport, logistic, construction, environmental and material-handling engineering.
Over the past five years, Mr Chow's business acumen has helped to create value for AEL by identifying the company's unique strategic position, especially for its waste-management business in mainland China. This year, the company was presented several awards including a Green Enterprise Award and the Prime Award for Eco-Business. "In order to stay ahead, it's crucial to plan for the future. This is an insight I gained from my EMBA studies," he stresses.
Taken from Career Times 6 August 2010, A8
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