Innovative ideas and a grasp of prevailing trends are essential for both organisational and individual success.
In view of this, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's School of Business and Management (HKUST Business School) is offering a series of business and investment related open education programmes to fit into the busy schedules of executives and people seeking practical investment knowledge.
Currently, a consortium programme and seven open programmes are available. These include managerial decision-making and leadership; leading across diversities; strategic financial management; wealth and asset management; value investing; negotiation strategies and skills and competitive positioning; while the consortium programme is entitled "leading for success".
A distinctive common feature of these programmes is that, apart from the consortium programme lasting 10 days, all the others are designed to take only two to three days. As such, they are quick to gain popularity. "Much of the information delivered is from our other qualification granting programmes such as MBA and the Kellogg-HKUST EMBA programme which tops this year's Financial Times EMBA global rankings," says Della Wong, acting director, HKUST Business School Executive Education Office. "All the programmes are taught by faculty members who possess consulting experience in both local and overseas corporations. Many of them are world-renowned researchers who are best able to transfer cutting-edge knowledge and insights. In addition, the programmes are held at our Clearwater Bay campus, which provides participants with a relaxing and pleasant learning environment, along with state-of-the-art teaching facilities."
According to Ms Wong, these open programmes deliver crucial business knowledge and participants can apply them to the workplace immediately. With an aim to "inspire for continued success", such academic experience offers participants a platform to stimulate thought that will ultimately help their companies prosper and be better prepared for challenges in today's dynamic business environment. "Participants will be able to employ a visionary global outlook, complete with a China and Asian focus, generating strategies for organisational success," she adds.
The programmes adopt methodologies including lectures, case studies, discussions, role-plays and simulation exercises in class, with a keen emphasis on both peer and student-teacher interaction making learning highly effective.
Participants hail from diversified industries, the common thread being their senior managerial status. Last year, participants boasted an average of 15 years' work experience. Such a profile ensures participants interact with professionals from comparable backgrounds facilitating innovation and brainstorming. The programmes also provide plenty of networking opportunities for participants.
Knowledge acquired from the open programmes can be applied to business contexts as well as on a personal level. Two of the open programmes, "wealth and asset management" and "value investing", serve to broaden participants' investment expertise. "Numerous investment instruments are available today but not every investor has sufficient grounding to understand the elaborate mechanics of these investment tools. Investment, to a large extent, involves entrusting your precious assets to someone else, so it is important for individual investors to understand the basics of popular investment instruments to avoid making erroneous decisions," says Milind Rao, adjunct associate professor, Department of Economics, HKUST Business School.
Both programmes explain practical investment options to help participants increase asset size through informed investment choices. However, the programmes cover different investment vehicles. The wealth and asset management programme focuses on investment funds, including mutual funds and hedge funds, while the value investing programme analyses securities. Professor Rao notes that since the former is about funds managed by professional fund houses, it is designed for people who have very limited time to make investment decisions. "Ordinary investors can be confused by the vast array of variables used by fund managers. Taking the programme will help unravel the complexities involved in investment and lead participants towards the most profitable choices," Professor Rao stresses.
Value investing, on the other hand, concentrates on stocks, delivering knowledge and skills such as how to value a stock, design a portfolio and the principles of profit taking and loss cutting. It is intended for active investors who wish to create their own personalised investment portfolio. A remarkable element of the programme is its inclusion of Warren Buffett's approach to value investing.
Professor Rao believes that programmes such as these are necessary in the contemporary marketplace because financial planning is an essential life skill. "The contents and comments in the programmes are completely neutral because we look at issues as independent agents, avoiding any conflict of interest," Professor Rao emphasises.