Today's executives are keener than ever to go the extra mile in continuing education to ensure their career advancement. "To meet today's keen competition in the dynamic business world, it is essential for leaders to equip themselves for challenges," says Betty Lau, director, Executive Education Office, School of Business & Management, the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST Business School). "Corporations also use executive development programmes as a means of staff retention and a way to show their commitment to staff development."
This year, HKUST Business School offers a range of customised programmes and 12 open-enrolment programmes covering leadership, management, finance, strategy and innovation. Many of these courses, including their flagship programmes Executive Diploma in Management, Negotiation Strategies & Skills, and Leading across Diversities and Strategy, are attracting senior executives and business owners wishing to enhance work performance and competence for career advancement and company success.
Ms Lau says their main objective is to provide an opportunity and environment for executives to learn these new skills and then immediately apply them back in their workplaces, spurring the success of both their companies and their own careers. It is also a platform for networking and experience sharing among business leaders.
All the programmes are taught by experts from world-class business schools with extensive experience in executive education including MBA and EMBA. Most of them also have consultancy experience in worldwide corporations.
Participants are mainly senior executives including entrepreneurs, directors, vice presidents, CEOs, and general managers. This creates a diversified class mix that facilitates experience sharing as well as cross-industry and cross-discipline learning.
Ms Lau believes their executive education programmes, with careful selection of case studies and Asia-focused content, can address the challenges facing business leaders in the region. "Participants will be able to learn both from our faculty members and from fellow participants who are high-performed executives."
Christina Wat, director of Asia Pacific Regional Franchise at Merck Sharp & Dohme (Asia) Ltd, has taken three executive programmes at HKUST Business School. One course was in marketing return on investment (ROI) and the others in wealth management. "ROI is an important and challenging issue in marketing," she says. "I found the course very specific and directly related to my work." She believes such learning can help enhance an executive's functional competence and allow him or her to adopt a different approach and strategies when deciding the merits of investment choices.
Ms Wat also took the elementary and advanced wealth management courses out of personal interest.
Besides the merits of the course content, Ms Wat says she gained greatly from exchanges with fellow students, who came from different nationalities and cultures and passed on knowledge from their work in various industries. "This provided a very dynamic learning culture and promoted many inspiring discussions," she says.