Top-notch executives profit from small class sharing

by Sophie Leung

Esther Li, EMBA associate coordinator, associate professor
Lingnan University
Photo: Johnson Poon

To keep up with the ever-changing business environment, an increasing number of executives and senior managers are heading back to school to sharpen their competitive edge. However, hectic work schedules and coursework deadlines can often act as deterrents to further education.

Acutely aware of this is the team overseeing Lingnan University's Executive Master of Business Administration Programme (EMBA), which offers a refreshingly alternative learning experience. "To ensure educational excellence, students of this programme receive individual attention from faculty members. Class size is capped at a maximum of 25 to facilitate small group-directed learning," says Esther Li, EMBA associate coordinator and associate professor, Lingnan University.

Class scheduling is equally important for professionals with packed schedules. EMBA students are required to attend classes on alternate Friday evenings and Saturdays. This sensible arrangement allows time for assignment completion without the need to compromise on the quality of either professional or personal life. Dr Li expands, "Many of our alumni have commented favourably on the class scheduling, adding that they were committed to the programme and still found ample time for family life."

Another attractive feature of the programme is the course span. Students concentrate solely on one subject for six weeks and begin the next only after finishing the previous one. "This sequential approach has proved successful as students are able to grasp a comprehensive understanding of every subject through in-depth study, as opposed to taking three courses simultaneously over five months," Dr Li explains. Students have welcomed the design finding it easier to manage coursework in clearly defined chunks, rather than juggling multiple courses at the same time.

The part-time 18-month EMBA programme is specifically designed to help students address complex business and management issues from a strategic and integrative perspective. Students are encouraged to develop a wide network across the geographical regions and share perspectives with seasoned professionals from different business contexts in various locations.

As the programme targets professionals with at least five years of managerial or professional experience and the average age of students admitted is 33 to 39, the fusion of industrial expertise, global experience and academic breadth of students is exceptional.

Beyond the border, to equip learners with knowledge applicable to the rapidly unfolding challenges in mainland China, two new elective courses focusing on marketing and finance in China have been introduced this year. Dr Li elaborates on the rationale behind the move: "Differentiation in wealth perception demands different marketing strategies to maximise regional opportunities."

Taken from Career Times 30 May 2008, p. A14
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