Riding the crest of a wave

by Sophie Leung

Chris Smith, programme director (offshore)
business school
The University of Adelaide
Photo: Edde Ngan

MBA qualifications a protective gear

When times get tough, people tend to react in different ways.

"Looking back into the global economic history, recession is not a novel concept. Even during the Great Depression of the 1930s, people still bought things and worked hard to gain wealth," says Chris Smith, programme director (offshore), business school, the University of Adelaide. "Taking this into account, there is no need for fear. We can use the lessons learnt from the past to make better strategic decisions."

Having run master of business administration (MBA) programmes for many years, Dr Smith notes that the number of applications for MBAs generally increases during an economic recession. "Education is a powerful tool that helps us acquire the necessary insight to ride out the storm," he adds.

The university's MBA programme, probably one of the most widely recognised postgraduate business qualification globally, lays a solid and credible foundation for career development. "An MBA education has become the standard for business professionals," says Dr Smith.

The programme is currently offered in Adelaide, Australia, as well as in Hong Kong and Singapore. In Hong Kong, the Australian institution collaborates with the Lingnan Institute of Further Education (LIFE), capitalising on its strength as a quality learning support platform.

Because of the growing popularity of MBA degrees, thousands of business schools and educational institutions now offer them. This poses a challenge for prospective students. "MBA programmes all cover a similar syllabus. What students need to compare is the quality of teachers," Dr Smith stresses.

Lecturers for the University of Adelaide's 18-month part-time MBA programme are made up of a multicultural mix of renowned academics and business experts. "Our students benefit from the international expertise, as this equips them for careers in the global business environment," Dr Smith remarks.

The curriculum includes courses that focus on regional knowledge and industry case studies to supplement teaching, helping students to put their classroom learning into practice in the workplace.

Classes are delivered in intensive blocks over weekends, focusing strongly on face-to-face classroom discussions. Several support channels are available to students, including downloadable journals from the university's digital library.

"Prospective MBA students should have a recognised degree or equivalent qualification and at least two years of work experience," says Kelvin Cheng, programme manager, students services and programme development division, LIFE.

Most applicants for the MBA programme are in managerial positions, says Dr Smith. "These people are familiar with the business world, but they enrol in the programme to update their knowledge or expand their career options. This student profile helps to create a strong alumni network, as participants are keen to develop relationships with other graduates to make the most out of their learning experience," he concludes.

Taken from Career Times 07 November 2008, p. B5
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