Executives head back to school

by Nicole Wong

News every month from the world of academia

Professor Steven DeKrey, programme director, School of Business and Management, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Photo: Terry Tsui

Today's business leaders need to have global vision along with the ability to understand local markets. To acquire this, many look to broaden their horizons through further education and, with their hectic work schedules, realise the importance of investing their time and resources in a top-quality programme, such as the Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA programme (EMBA).

This is the result of a partnership between the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in the US and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). The programme combines western and Asian expertise and has been delivering high-end executive education tailored for Asian students since 1998.

"We adapt the curriculum and methods of teaching to the Asian context to provide something which is unique and far in advance of other similar programmes in the region," says Professor Steven DeKrey, programme director at HKUST's School of Business and Management. The EMBA is also designed as a residential programme, allowing students to live on campus at HKUST and the Kellogg School for the various modules, so they can interact in groups and share ideas outside the classroom setting.

This opportunity to exchange skills and experiences is regarded as one of the highlights of the programme. It also helps to create a balance between theory and practice, complementing lectures and discussions which cover a broad range of functional and managerial skills. Most applicants are senior managers with multinationals in Asia and have at least 10 years of work experience and outstanding achievement behind them. Their diverse backgrounds facilitate an active learning process and this, in turn, has been a factor in the programme being ranked by the Financial Times as the world's No.2 EMBA programme in 2005.

"The ranking is based in part on the standard and income levels of our students, but the broad course content and our faculty also deserve major credit," Professor DeKrey notes. With over 300 distinguished graduates, the programme now enjoys an excellent reputation in various industries and the school maintains close contact with alumni to update them about latest developments. "Their enthusiastic support and comments have been our best publicity and made us very proud of the recognition we have received around the world," he adds.

By combining an international perspective with a practical approach to business, Professor DeKrey believes the programme helps students to formalise their previous experience and enables graduates to advance their careers and move their organisations to new levels of success. To ensure continuous improvement, the curriculum is monitored and revised according to feedback obtained from students each week. Changes and developments introduced over the last eight years have ensured a consistently high standard and that everything moves with the times.

"We are always looking to improve the residence, the faculty, and to incorporate new curriculum items," Professor DeKrey says. "In future, we will be collaborating with more EMBA programmes run by Kellogg in countries such as Germany, Canada, Italy and Israel, where our students will be able to attend elective courses. They will have the chance to work with their counterparts overseas, and international students will also come to Hong Kong for courses on business and the economy in China."

Taken from Career Times 02 December 2005
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