Many businesses have shifted their focus from developed economies such as the US and Western Europe to emerging markets such as China. A firm understanding of this huge market is therefore a boost for executives wanting to excel in the current economic climate.
The Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) is offering an MBA programme with global vision, balanced by a focus on the China market to equip students with a sound knowledge of the emerging economic power. "China is fast becoming a key player in the global business arena, with great opportunities for both individuals and businesses. We want our graduates to be able to leverage on this," says Bill Hung, associate director, MBA programme (HK Class), School of Business, HKBU.
"As a leader in business education in Hong Kong and Asia, we are committed to meeting the professional needs of both full-time students and business executives," Dr Hung adds.
The HKBU School of Business launched its MBA programme back in 1994. Even before that, the university was Hong Kong's first to introduce a degree programme concentrating on China studies. This illustrates the university's foresight regarding the development of the Chinese economy.
Teaching staff at the faculty consists of both China specialists and foreign academics. The university has also partnered with a number of major mainland education institutes to offer study opportunities to mainland students. This has expanded its MBA alumni profile. "From time to time, we jointly organise networking activities for students of the two regions. Our aim is to help students build a business network that will assist their careers," Dr Hung notes, saying that there is no doubt that an MBA qualification can help with career advancement.
"With the level of education constantly increasing in Hong Kong society, it is common for jobseekers to have bachelor's degrees. By upgrading their qualifications to a master's-degree level, they can ensure that they stand out among competitors, with increased chances for promotion and career advancement. A master's degree is in fact already the minimum requirement to be considered for many middle-level positions," he adds.
Dr Hung also notes that an MBA is a worthwhile investment in a person's career. "The world is changing fast as the economy becomes more globalised. We need new knowledge and business networks to tackle fresh challenges and make the most of constantly changing trends," he says.
HKBU's MBA programme focuses on China as well as on international trade. "Business executives today need a global mindset. The current US sub-prime crisis has proven that different parts of the world are more interconnected than before," Dr Hung points out.
The programme includes courses with a global perspective, such as international management, global marketing management and international financial markets and derivatives trading. Corporate governance, a hot topic in the business world, is a core subject.
In its quest for excellence, the HKBU School of Business is dedicated to adapting the contents of its MBA programme to students' changing needs. The school has therefore added a number of new subjects to the curriculum, including emerging economies, Chinese wisdom and management, and business creativity.
"Chinese and Western people tend to approach certain issues differently as a result of their different backgrounds. Incorporating Chinese thinking in managerial studies can therefore make cross-cultural interaction more fruitful," Dr Hung explains.
Another outstanding feature of HKBU's MBA programme is that of "live learning", a series of learner-centred activities that aim to broaden students' horizons. These include China field studies, study tours, seminars hosted by business leaders and managerial skills workshops.
The current group of MBA students has just returned from a China field study trip to Chongqing, a destination chosen in line with the Chinese state policy of developing the country's central and western provinces.
Students are required to produce a client-based consultancy report or business plan as their final-year project. They can choose between doing the programme full time or part time. International students appear to favour the full-time programme. Half the participants in the part-time programme are at managerial level or higher, with an average of nine years' work experience, says Dr Hung.
There has also been an increase in students from abroad and from mainland China enrolling in the full-time programme. "This is an encouraging sign, as it paves the way for greater cross-cultural exchange," he adds, concluding that an MBA will assist business executives to apply their knowledge more systematically and from a more comprehensive perspective.