Master of management

by Rachel Sproston

Chris Chan, MBA programme director
Faculty of Business and Economics
The University of Hong Kong
Photo: Johnson Poon

Hong Kong's top business school takes executive education to the next level

In today's competitive business environment, an MBA qualification is often regarded as a prerequisite for contemporary business professionals aspiring to high level managerial status. However, only truly exceptional MBA programmes thoroughly prepare candidates for today's business challenges and include exposure to the increasing complexity involved in multi-faceted corporate endeavours.

Ranked 18th in The Times of London's 2007 listing of the top 100 universities worldwide, the University of Hong Kong offers first-class education right on the doorstep.

Building on more than 25 years of postgraduate management development, the university's Master of Business Administration programme has a solid track record. Chris Chan, MBA programme director, Faculty of Business and Economics, The University of Hong Kong, emphasises the importance of fusing an international outlook with an Asian core which the faculty has incorporated into its full-time, part-time and International MBA programmes. "When students graduate from the faculty they will have studied 80 different business cases relevant to Hong Kong and beyond," he says.

Global connection

Offered by the university's Faculty of Business in conjunction with the School of Management of Fudan University in Shanghai, the International MBA (IMBA) programme facilitates a multi-disciplinary approach with emphasis on achieving corporate success in the Asian region. "Already in its 10th year in Shanghai, the IMBA programme has more than 1500 alumni," Dr Chan says. Classes are conducted in modernistic lecture theatres situated in Starr Hall in Fudan's School of Management in Shanghai. Students are encouraged to specialise in a number of management fields which are ultimately essential for success in today's dynamic business settings.

Meanwhile, managers from a diverse range of industries are attracted to the Hong Kong MBA programmes. Dr Chan adds, "A majority of our full-time students are middle managers who have spent around six years with a corporation and would like to step up to the next level. Their employers offer funding for the full-time MBA programme and subsequently reap the benefits of the sharper business acumen aspiring managers bring back to the company upon their return. Conversely, around 50 per cent of full-time MBA students are interested in making a 'horizontal shift' within their current company or towards a different industry and can profit from the far-reaching syllabus the programme offers."

To help students maximise the learning experience, a panel of corporate and academic experts revise and enhance contents of the programme on a regular basis ensuring students receive the most up-to-date, stimulating and relevant business knowledge. Experienced faculty members coach students, concentrating on improving teamwork skills, flexibility, versatility and pragmatism — all essential attributes for modern managers.

Overseas exposure

In line with the university's global approach to business success, full-time MBA students also have the option to pursue an elective part of their studies at London Business School or Columbia Business School in New York. Following this, upon graduation in Hong Kong, students can simultaneously enjoy alumni status from either institution along with the networking opportunities such elite business schools offer.

Within the University of Hong Kong itself a comprehensive mentorship programme is well underway and new students are allocated senior alumni from a different faculty to act as mentors during induction to initially oversee any teething problems but ultimately to connect students to the wider business community. Dr Chan points out the importance of the mentorship programme in acknowledging that several MBA graduates from the faculty have secured positions with multinational corporations with the help of referrals from their respective mentors.

During the first week of the programme all students partake in an intensive activity-filled immersion workshop which incorporates ice-breaking sessions, team building exercises and leadership games. Dr Chan stresses that such workshops effectively encourage students to leverage on the strengths of each individual to create a dynamic alliance. "Before our students go to London or New York we want them to have perfected their interpersonal skills," he says.

Locally, lectures and seminars take place in the university's town campus in Admiralty which is ideally situated for business executives but reaching its capacity. As such, the faculty has expansion plans towards Hong Kong Cyberport. "The new campus will offer not only capacious teaching space but also boasts a landscaped terrace complete with a spectacular seaview where students can relax and unwind," Dr Chan notes.


Taken from Career Times 18 January 2008
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