Engineering the best solutions

by Wendy Shair

Jeffrey Yu, professor
Department of Systems Engineering & Engineering Management
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Photo: Wallace Chan
Master's degree prepares professionals for management roles

In this technological age, engineering management plays a central role in development and professionals in this sector are increasingly looking to advance their skills in order to boost their leadership potential.

The Master of Science (MSc) in Systems Engineering and Engineering Management offered by The Chinese University of Hong Kong may just be the right choice.

The programme equips students with the theoretical basis and hands-on expertise to move up in their careers and help their organisations grow. "It provides advanced training for engineers and industry players aspiring towards more management responsibilities in the workplace," says Jeffrey Yu, professor, Department of Systems Engineering & Engineering Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

With Hong Kong engineers constantly having to make strategic decisions in the face of uncertainty and risk, efficient engineering management is extremely important. "It's crucial for people in the industry to take the right approach, in the interests of the city's future," Professor Yu notes. "We guide our students to develop precise problem-solving skills in order to formulate the most appropriate IT solutions for their business."

The programme, which can be completed within a year full- time, or two years part-time, comprehensively covers all aspects of technology management, Professor Yu stresses. "This includes technical aspects of logistics, financial engineering, information technology and other subjects."

Since engineering management is an evolving discipline, it is vital that students learn to think innovatively and equip themselves with the appropriate skills to handle complex problems on a large scale. Having the necessary knowledge and receiving guidance from experienced industry professionals are vital.

Hands-on component

Supervised by a team of experienced instructors, students tackle practical systems engineering and engineering management projects, Professor Yu points out, adding that the MSc programme emphasises on-site experience.

Students go on company visits and undertake field studies to gain an understanding of different an operations and how these environments impact on solutions development. He remarks: "We don't want to just talk about theory. There are always a number of ways to address management issues and students need to learn different techniques to manage engineering systems."

Professor Yu adds, "Courses are taught by top faculty members, and we invite seasoned industry people to address students on ways to improve their skills. Our focus is on management issues—not on products. Sometimes it's necessary to go back to old, traditional techniques to deal with complicated problems."

The master's degree provides a comprehensive engineering-management education and students must take at least eight postgraduate courses, of which three are compulsory and five elective, to fulfil the 24-credit requirement. In some circumstances, exemptions may be granted.

About 50 candidates are accepted onto the MSc programme every year, following a rigorous selection process. Applicants must have a degree from a reputable university and demonstrate their commitment to the industry.

Professor Yu reveals that not every applicant comes from an engineering background. "Some have to deal with engineering management at work and are looking to advance their skills in the area, while others want to move up in their careers and pursue more senior positions."

Strong foundation

  • Master's programme trains professionals aspiring towards management responsibilities
  • Company visits and field studies enhance industry insight
  • Students hail from diverse educational backgrounds

Taken from Career Times 25 February 2011, A14

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