Cultivating a global business perspective

by Grace Chan

Michael Wynn-Williams (left), lecturer
international business, University of Greenwich
Ritchie Poon, programmes director
ABRS Professional Learning Services
Photo: Edde Ngan

Hong Kong's small size and position as a hub for trade and commerce make it particularly vulnerable to external economic fluctuations and developments. To stay competitive in a rapidly evolving business landscape, industry players must have an international outlook and analytical mindset.

This is according to Ritchie Poon, programmes director, ABRS Professional Learning Services: "Hong Kong's prosperity depends heavily on international ties. Company executives must therefore be able to see the bigger picture."

A one-year bachelor of arts (honours) degree in business administration, offered jointly by leading professional training and education organisation ABRS and the UK-based University of Greenwich, is specifically tailored to help students expand their horizons.

"We regularly invite lecturers from the UK to Hong Kong to address our students, and last year also hosted tutors from Russia," says Mr Poon. "Rather than focus solely on exams, our students learn to become better managers so that they can help their companies achieve better results."

In addition to theoretical knowledge, the programme includes recent local and international case studies, such as the mainland's purchase of Spanish government bonds. "The curriculum encourages our students to think analytically," adds Michael Wynn-Williams, lecturer, international business, University of Greenwich. "For example, we ask them to explore not only how Spain benefits from this activity, but also what China gains from extending help to Spain," explains Dr Wynn-Williams, who is also an automotive industry consultant at the university's business school and has worked extensively in the US and Japan.

The programme comprises four modules: business and management strategy, international business, contemporary issues in marketing and a final consultant project, which requires students to look at an actual business scenario, identify problems and provide solutions.

Good communications between lecturers and students is vital for effective learning. "Class sizes are limited to 60 students, and we encourage active participation and interaction," stresses Dr Wynn-Williams.

People with at least four years' work experience and a higher or advanced diploma, or who have completed at least two years of a three-year honours degree at a recognised tertiary education organisation, may apply for admission.

Ranked highest for student satisfaction in London by the Sunday Times League Table university guide in 2009 and 2010, the University of Greenwich provides additional support to Hong Kong students, including access to its digital library and various e-learning materials.

Since continuous education is important for long-term career development, prospective applicants should choose learning programmes that match their career aspirations, Mr Poon advises. "They should select one that will enhance their expertise in their field and help them to perform better," he concludes.

Getting ahead

  • Business administration qualifications help young professionals to expand global outlook
  • Curriculum focuses on theoretical knowledge as well as relevant case studies
  • Projects prompt students to identify problems and find business solutions
  • Additional academic support boosts learning effectiveness for Hong Kong-based students

Taken from Career Times 25 February 2011, A14

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