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Education

Local platform global perspectives

by Will Keith

Andrew Chan, executive MBA programme director
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Photo: Nolly Leung

Internationally recognised EMBA programme a step in the right direction

The influx of globalisation has shaped the landscape of modern China who, since its accession to the World Trade Organisation in 2001, is playing an anchoring role in facilitating growth for the world's economies.

Andrew Chan, executive MBA programme director, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, says no global business can afford to miss out on the emerging opportunities on the mainland.

Professor Chan emphasises that business executives must be equipped with a thorough understanding of the gravity of social and economic changes and devise strategies and action plans accordingly, so as to close the gap between China and the rest of the world.

To this end, a well-structured executive MBA programme (EMBA) can always lend a hand. Inaugurated in 1993, the University's EMBA Programme has been offering a select group of students the opportunity to scrutinise business philosophies in various market-relevant contexts, and put into practice modern management theories.

"Critical analysis of management techniques is not solely limited to modern managerial theories," Professor Chan notes. "It encourages executives to decipher and contrast Chinese and Western management cultures alongside modern and traditional theories, drawing on the strengths of each to formulate a business approach that incorporates the four main themes of the programme: China, the West, tradition and modernity."

New impetus

The EMBA programme begins with a residence week in a Hong Kong hotel where students are expected to leave behind their work obligations and partake in an array of icebreakers and networking activities. These are followed by a series of lectures and tutorials at the university's MBA Town Centre in Central on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons.

While the first year of study focuses on sharpening students' sensitivity in business functions such as economics, marketing, accounting, human resources and operations management, the second centres on expanding their strategic thinking and policy-making capabilities. Key international business issues ranging from corporate governance to business ethics, negotiation and leadership are also some of the programme features that help to hone students' analytical and decision making skills, helping in turn to enhance the competitive edge of the companies they work for.

Alongside a portfolio of guest speakers, an advisory panel comprising seasoned business leaders, experienced faculty members and international research experts instil industry best practice and corporate insights into the programme, giving students great exposure to the wider business arena. Key figures from the government and other organisations are also invited to share their views and wisdom in sharing sessions where open feedback is encouraged.

"We look for candidates' CEO qualities during our initial interview process. We believe that talented individuals with the right aspirations will be able to contribute to the development of the business sector not only in Hong Kong, but also in mainland China and the rest of the world," says Professor Chan.

No boundaries

In a bid to expose students to different national environments and business operations, the university arranges for students to travel overseas as part of the programme's global business and management field study component. Over the past 14 years, students have visited celebrated corporations in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, New York, London, Frankfurt, Silicon Valley, Amsterdam, Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka.

Top executives from these corporations host discussion sessions that facilitate an exchange of business philosophies. To ensure a balance between theory and application, students are required to incorporate a wider international perspective and design a business plan set in the specific business context of the country they have visited.

The London Financial Times ranked the university's EMBA programme the 11th of 96 EMBA programmes across the world last year; the first independent programme in the Asia Pacific region from 2003 to 2008; and the first of all independent programmes in Asia since 2001.

The university's legacy in teaching excellence continues to draw students from multinationals across industries. "Nowadays, more than 90 per cent of classes are made up of senior executives from reputable companies," Professor Chan explains. Regular interaction with other EMBA, MBA and BBA alumni as well as distinguished business leaders from around the world also provides students with a multitude of business networking opportunities.

A class above

  • Curriculum a blend of international corporate ethos
  • Enhanced relevance with keener focus on China's surging economy
  • Friday and Saturday classes allow students time to digest knowledge
  • Global recognition confirms academic standing



Taken from Career Times 16 January 2009, p. A8

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