Gearing up for the new economy

by Mahlon Campbell

News every month from the world of academia

Chris Howorth, director, external and executive programmes, School of Management for Royal Holloway, University of London; Daniel Yan, senior programme director and associate head, Division of Management Studies, HKU Space
Photo: Edve Leung

Hong Kong is rapidly transforming itself into a knowledge-based economy where members of the workforce realise that career success depends on continuous self-improvement plus the acquisition of new competencies and higher levels of professional expertise.

One way they can achieve this is by signing on for the MBA in International Management offered by Royal Holloway, University of London and taught at HKU Space.

"Students feel that completing an MBA programme signals that they have determination and ambition to succeed," says Chris Howorth, director, external and executive programmes of the School of Management for Royal Holloway. "It also shows you have learned certain skills and can work well under pressure."

The programme's international focus makes it unique and is supported by research teams in different parts of the world. "They carry out relevant research pertaining to the local market and, as in the case of Hong Kong, this enables us to incorporate the most relevant information," Mr Howorth explains.

Daniel Yan, who is senior programme director and associate head of the Division of Management Studies at HKU Space, points out the new curriculum was developed with the advice of leading companies. Also, feedback was sought from businesses regularly recruiting MBA graduates in Hong Kong about which skills and attributes they most commonly look for.

The course has been deliberately structured to allow flexibility, so students can take between two and five years to complete their degree. Teachers from the University of London fly in to give intensive classroom lectures over the course of a weekend, while locally based teachers and guest lecturers provide supplementary instruction and additional perspectives.

Students are actively encouraged to share information and experiences during classroom discussions, creating an environment in which people can learn most effectively. There are also case studies, group activities, seminars, and sessions addressed by senior executives and eminent visiting professors from the UK.

Currently, the University of London has over 800 external students in 77 countries taking its external MBA.

Dr Yan notes that two key parts of the course cover the philosophy of management and sustainability and ethics. "There will also be a new careers website, so students will be able to access career coaching and get advice about jobs," he says. In particular, he adds, the knowledge gained from the programme will help many students to examine their own businesses and identify areas for improvement. This will give them a competitive edge in career terms and allow them to take a more analytical approach to their jobs.

Taken from Career Times 15 December 2006
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