Success in the evolving knowledge-based economy will depend on a commitment to lifelong learning and having recognised qualifications for each distinct role.
Professionals in the business sector have accepted this fact and, consequently, are enrolling in record numbers for further education programmes to give them a real competitive edge. However, with an increasing array of programmes now on offer, they need to be sure that the programme they choose is up to standards required.
For this reason, the Faculty of Business at the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) completed an accreditation process in 2005 conducted by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). Founded in 1916, the association is regarded as the premier accrediting agency for business schools worldwide.
"This achievement places us on a par with Harvard Business School and the London Business School, as well as others in different parts of the world," says Matthew Lee, the faculty's acting dean.
He points out that the AACSB accreditation reflects the highest standards in management education and that the faculty will remain committed to excellence in providing quality business education for the local community. An example of this is the establishment of a "Knowledge Nexus Business Consortium", which was set up to help students taking master's degrees cope with rapid changes in the market and the overall work environment. It will also allow them to make better use of the faculty's teaching resources when deciding about electives and will create greater flexibility for credit transfers between different programmes.
"We believe all these aspects benefit learning here and, as a result, the community as a whole," Professor Lee says. This ties in with the vision of the university, which is to make a lasting contribution to the community through the application of research. It also explains the faculty's focus on integrating teaching with research projects which have direct relevance.
"Through our education programmes, we can use our expertise and research to improve the quality of management and decision making in commercial organisations in Hong Kong and the mainland," Professor Lee adds. Among these programmes is a highly regarded executive MBA. The programme is designed to provide senior executives and entrepreneurs with a better understanding of elements of China business, leadership, and management in a service economy. There is a strong emphasis on continuous assessment and experience sharing to encourage students to adopt a new mindset when dealing with business problems.
"The faculty accepts a maximum of 30 students to ensure all parties, including the academic team, can perform to the best of their ability," says John Leung, director of EMBA programme in Hong Kong. He points out that the programme's success is attributable to innovation, internationalisation and interaction. It also comes from the fact that students learn to take a more strategic view of their own companies and the broader business environment.
"Last year, we revamped the programme, and incorporated a keen China focus and more global flavours, which aligns with the faculty's vision to become a leading Asia-Pacific business school that is deeply rooted in China and is widely networked in the Asia-Pacific region," Dr Leung says. This also reflects the EMBA's emphasis on the importance of experiential encounters and networking.
With its internationally recognised accreditation and acknowledged strength in China business, CityU has become the "learning partner" of Beijing Capital International Airport Co Ltd. "As the organisation prepares for the 2008 Olympics, it understands the need for its senior executives to upgrade their management skills," says Gang Hao, director of EMBA programme in mainland China. "Our academic team has extensive exposure to the global economy and can provide valuable insights into corporate culture and business operations in China."
According to Dr Hao, the university will continue to offer quality business education in China and Hong Kong, which is in line with the faculty's objective of promoting breakthroughs in management and leadership skills.
- Internationally recognised accreditation confirms the quality of business courses
- Teaching and research projects integrated to give programmes practical relevance
- Small class sizes encourage interaction and sharing of experience
- Non-local students add different dimensions and alternative insights