Opportunity cost is involved in nearly every decision we make. For example, it is one of the most important factors to be taken into account when committing to a course of study, because it involves the investment of large amounts of time, plus money, which otherwise could be used in other activities. Therefore, while opportunity cost should not be the sole factor influencing anybody's decision to pursue further education, it cannot rationally be ignored, either.
In response to this argument, Lingnan University would argue that its EMBA programme for busy business executives delivers true value for both time and money. Esther Li, associate coordinator of the programme, explains that the university's philosophy "education for service" means providing quality education to serve the society. "In doing so, we closely monitor the human resources needs to continuously enhance our programme so as to suit the busy schedules of business executives, and at the same time offering values through minimising the tuition fees."
Not only is the programme competitively priced, it is also on the list of eligible courses and course providers covered by the Non-means Tested Loan Scheme. Also, they can take advantage of the Continuing Education Fund (CEF) for some of the courses in the programme.
For the further convenience of students, most of the classes are conducted at the university's Hong Kong Island Education Centre in North Point. Moreover, instead of having to attend classes on a set weekday, students are required to attend classes on alternate Friday evenings and Saturdays. This alternative-week study pattern is particularly suitable for postgraduate business education as all the students are engaged in full-time work.
There is also flexibility concerning the academic qualifications that can be attained. On completion of their first year, students are awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration. However, if their personal circumstances permit them to carry on, they will ultimately be awarded an EMBA. Or they can even postpone their study plan until a more suitable time.
The programme seeks to connect students with a whole web of knowledge. "It attaches ample significance to the ability of comprehensive decision-making," says Dr Li. "Our students are all senior executives who must look after a whole business. To run a business successfully, one needs to evaluate issues from different angles. So, instead of providing students with specialist knowledge in a particular area, we adopt a holistic approach in designing our curriculum. After all, success in the business world depends very much on a combination of knowledge in various disciplines."
The programme helps middle and senior managers upgrade their knowledge so they can help enhance the competitive edge of their business operations. To accomplish this it provides an all-round curriculum covering every skill and knowledge needed in the operation of an organisation — accounting, economics, finance, leadership, marketing, managerial decision-making and information technology.
Because of the highly significant role of China in business today, the programme includes such China-related courses as Hong Kong and PRC business law, marketing in mainland China and business and economic development of Greater China. In addition, students get the opportunity to visit mainland enterprises on their study trip.
Commenting on the programme's approach to teaching and learning, Dr Li says, "Formal training, self-learning and peer learning are equally important in one's learning process. Our programme provides cutting-edge formal training as well as a conducive environment in which students can effectively engage in self-learning and collaborative learning." Accordingly, the programme provides full access to Lingnan's library with 24-hour online access to various e-learning resources.
The programme is characterised by small classes and small work groups, which give students the chance to provide social and academic support for one another. Concerning this, Dr Li remarks, "Our students have a minimum of five years' work experience in a managerial or professional capacity. Every student should be able to make an insightful contribution to discussion and group work. In view of this, the EMBA programme is truly an experience that benefits students both personally and professionally."