Corporate governance takes precedence

by Lou Henry

Raymond Chan, programme director and associate professor
MSc in Corporate Governance and Directorship
School of Business, Hong Kong Baptist University
Photo: Nolly Leung

Master's programme equips executives with skills and knowledge necessary for global success

In today's highly-charged corporate environment, business success lies not only in innovation and human resources, but also in good corporate governance and social responsibility.

Hong Kong Baptist University's School of Business is leading the charge in encouraging companies to become more professional and adapt to this new era. Through its Master of Science in Corporate Governance and Directorship programme and its Centre for Corporate Governance and Financial Policy, the school is promoting good corporate governance in Hong Kong and mainland China.

The Master of Science in Corporate Governance and Directorship was the world's first taught programme that equips executives, professionals and corporate leaders with highly specific skills and cutting edge knowledge in corporate governance. It gives them an integrated perspective to strengthen their leadership.

"Many other business programmes focus on enhancing participants' general analytical abilities but our programme is more specific," says Raymond Chan, programme director and associate professor, MSc in Corporate Governance and Directorship, School of Business, Hong Kong Baptist University. "We can therefore conduct a more in-depth examination of issues in corporate governance and participants graduate with a skill set and knowledge that is second to none."

Distinguished curriculum

Programme content covers a range of topics including principles and models of corporate governance, legal framework and codes of corporate governance, board structure, leadership, corporate reporting, disclosure and transparency. Participants learn to build and maintain a system of good corporate governance with a sound accounting system and productive employer-employee relationships. They examine regulatory compliance issues and learn how to develop executive performance and reward strategies. They also gain knowledge and skills that can help them overcome common challenges such as staff turnover, shareholder disputes and the ongoing need for additional funding and investment.

With its specialised and high-level content, the programme is designed for middle to top level management executives and participants include company directors, chief executive officers, chief financial officers, fund managers, risk managers, lawyers and board secretaries. Such a diverse and distinguished learning backdrop ensures a rich variety of opinions during case analyses, adding perspectives to the entire endeavour.

The school's Centre for Corporate Governance and Financial Policy supports the programme's development, helping to create an all-win situation. Likewise, alumni provide the centre a wealth of top-level intelligence and real-world experience. "Their participation in the centre's various projects have contributed a lot towards the centre's aspiration to becoming the region's centre of excellence on corporate governance studies," Dr Chan explains.

Prominent forum

The centre's mission is to improve the quality of corporate governance in the region and linked with the master's programme it organises regular forums to achieve this. Prominent business leaders, highly regarded professionals and acclaimed academics are invited to speak, and generally all interested individuals are welcome to attend free of charge.

Recent forums have focused on various corporate governance issues such as regulation, compliance, transparency and board leadership in companies listed in Hong Kong and mainland China; and the challenges, achievements and impacts of building a corporation with good corporate governance in today's competitive global economy.

On a regional level the centre and the master's programme directors together with other renowned corporations jointly organise the biennial Asia-Pacific Corporate Governance Conference, which seeks to foster debate about corporate governance and related issues. Last year's conference brought together more than 200 scholars, entrepreneurs and executives, and included an address by the Dean of the Guanghua School of Management at Beijing University. "Many scholars believe that the 1997 Asian financial crisis was mainly caused by a lack of effective corporate governance in many Asian financial markets and the least transparent economies generally suffered the most. By encouraging public debate across the region hopefully we can avoid a situation like that ever happening again. Moreover, through sharing and cooperating in events like these companies in our region will be able to learn how to remain competitive in a world that is characterised by trade across borders," Dr Chan says.

The master's programme is offered in a part-time mode, with classes held on weekday evenings or Saturday afternoons. To be awarded the master's degree participants must complete nine courses and an integrated project.

"Effective corporate governance is not just a buzzword that sounds good in presentations," Dr Chan says. "It's a roadmap to success."

A class above

  • Specialised, high-level content
  • Participants include experienced executives and professionals
  • Regular forums attended by distinguished scholars and business leaders
  • Opportunity to be part of cutting edge research

Taken from Career Times 28 March 2008
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