US MBA qualification has the edge

by Grace Chan

Tony Hui, programme director
China Education Group
Photo: Nolly Leung

A well-balanced MBA programme offers more than just a wealth of new knowledge — it also provides industry exposure as well as networking and career advancement opportunities.

While a great many MBA programmes have become available in Hong Kong over the past few years, most are offered by UK or Australian institutions. It is far harder to enrol locally for a US-based qualification, but there is one quality option: the University of Iowa, in partnership with China Education Group, has been offering a top US MBA programme to Hong Kong students since 2002.

"Rather than just providing an academic framework, the programme focuses heavily on the practical application of skills and knowledge," says Tony Hui, programme director, China Education Group.

Students are expected to actively participate in group projects and case studies. "Classroom participation in group discussions and case presentations accounts for 20 to 30 per cent of the total assessment," he notes. "The ability to communicate well is an important prerequisite for succeeding in the business arena."

For this reason, the University of Iowa's MBA programme leader interviews prospective candidates by telephone to ensure that their English proficiency meets the communication requirements for the programme.

This also guarantees the quality of intake. "Most of our graduates, with an average age of 32, hold middle or senior management positions and have seven to nine years' work experience," Mr Hui points out. Only 30 to 40 students are admitted to the programme every year.

Equipped for leadership

Consistently ranked within the top 30 MBA programmes in the US and top 50 in the world by the Financial Times and Business Week, the University of lowa's MBA lecturing staff include internationally renowned academics and experienced US businesspeople.

Since the Hong Kong programme curriculum is identical to the US-based one, teaching staff fly in to offer students up to 30 contact hours. "All classes are conducted in two consecutive Saturdays and Sundays in order to accommodate the busy schedules of the students," Mr Hui says.

Students must complete nine core and six elective courses, while teaching modes include online tutorials, weekend classes and a "take-home" exam or project. With an intensive course structure, the programme can be completed within 15 months.

The programme also incorporates practical course options such as "Dynamics of Negotiation" and "New Business Formation", which are very popular among students.

"Negotiation techniques are key in all business dealings and we ensure that our students practice and develop these techniques through simulation exercises and role-play," Mr Hui stresses, adding that elective courses are constantly reviewed to accommodate changes in the business environment.

"Our MBA programme equips students with the all-round skills and knowledge needed to take up leadership roles within organisations," Mr Hui adds.

Key elements

  • Top US MBA programme for working professionals in Hong Kong
  • Focus on practical application of skills
  • Experienced lecturers flown in for classroom sessions
  • Simulation exercises and role-play help sharpen skills

Taken from Career Times 24 July 2009, p. A5
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