A host of academic programmes are currently available to help Hong Kong's working population boost their career prospects. One university has designed a master's programme which is both specific and intensive to attract students who know exactly what they need.
Launched in 2000, the MSc/PgD in International Shipping and Transport Logistics programme from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) provides up-to-date information and in-depth knowledge about both shipping and logistics to students.
"The interactive nature of the programme also improves students' problem solving capabilities in the industry, nurturing good industrial practice, and ensuring critical thinking skills are employed on a regular basis which can then be utilised in the professional world," notes Wong Hon-shu, the MSc programme's director.
Dr Wong emphasises that developing an affinity for lifelong learning in students is a core value at PolyU. "Succeeding in this regard is of paramount importance to me as an educator and to our university as a whole," he notes.
Every year, around 55 students are admitted to the programme. These typically include fresh graduates, seasoned industrialists, overseas learners and prominent business professionals. This cross section of specialists provides an excellent networking forum, unparalleled peer support and learning opportunities.
To better fit into the average working adult's busy schedule, the programme offers students a choice to study on a mixed mode — a flexible option enabling students who begin studying in full- or part-time mode to switch between the two according to their specific needs. The curriculum is continuously updated as Dr Wong works in association with many leading shipping and logistics experts who provide first-hand information about the status quo and direction of the industry. The diversity of elective subjects also allows students to focus on core areas such as shipping law, transport logistics and maritime and port management.
Due to the current shortage of qualified professionals in the logistics and shipping industry, the Hong Kong government recently unveiled a "Maritime Scholarship Scheme" to guarantee exceptional students are identified and encouraged to keep Hong Kong at the forefront of the logistics industry. A special full-time stream with higher credit requirements and a compulsory internship was designed exclusively for scholarship recipients. For the 2008/09 academic year, a generous HK$160,000 grant is available for each of the 15 eligible students from the full-time stream of MSc in International Shipping and Transport Logistics programme and applications for the scholarships need to be completed this month.
Entry requirements depend to a large extent on the individual's academic background and relevant work experience. "Each application is evaluated individually and the relative suitability of each candidate is assessed," notes Dr Wong. Senior managers without a first degree have been admitted in the past and this has proved tremendously successful as their experience and insight are invaluable inputs to the programme.