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Executive MBA

2014

www.educationpost.com.hk/emba-2014

Latest trends in executive MBA programmes Exclusive interviews with students and alumni Course characteristics in the Greater China region


CONTENTS Executive MBA 2014

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Background

- What makes an EMBA different? - Important numbers in EMBA education

08

The trends

- Senior executives head back to school to learn the basic tools

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Interview

- What an EMBA taught a PhD: create simple strategies and explain them

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Benefits

- A distinctive part of the EMBA: the chance to interact with CEOs

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China

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08

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- Business school retools executives in China

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Hong Kong

- Top schools make Hong Kong a hub for EMBA education

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Kellog - HKUST

- An EMBA programme which takes high flyers to the next level

20

Career

- Global minds for a global city

Executive MBA 2014 is published by Education Post, South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Cover photo: iStockphoto Executive MBA 2014

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Background Photo: iStockphoto

What makes an EMBA different? - Heather McKenzie

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t is crucial to know the differences between a standard MBA and an executive MBA, or EMBA, before deciding on the best fit and approach to earning an advanced business degree. The content and style can vary significantly, so it pays to be clear about exactly what is involved. Traditional MBAs are generally two-year, full-time programmes designed for students with only limited experience in the world of business. The curriculum gives exposure to all the key disciplines and many students then choose to specialise in a concentration area such as finance, management, accounting, or international business. Usually, courses are taught during the typical academic year, with one summer internship also on offer. Experiential learning is an essential element of these programmes, allowing for the practical application of classroom learning in the form of job shadowing, field projects, collaboration with companies, or local community involvement. EMBAs, in contrast, are geared towards professionals with more work experience, who want to advance their education without taking a career break. Participants are generally in mid- to senior-level corporate positions. According to the Executive MBA Council, the average student is aged 37 and has more than eight years’ management experience. The teaching, or delivery, of EMBA programmes varies widely. Some involve intensive two-week “bursts” over a six-month period. Others take place on Friday/Saturday only over two

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Executive MBA 2014

years, or require four- or five-day stints spread out over 20 months. EMBAs tend to have smaller class and cohort numbers and some allow students to customise their coursework in order to fulfil specific career advancement needs by focusing, for example, on topics like raising capital, large-scale forecasting, or distribution strategies. Many employers will pay for all or part of the EMBA degree and, therefore, have a stake in the student’s successful completion of the course. Both types of programme provide opportunities for networking with classmates and faculty. A full-time MBA offers students the time and environment to engage in extra-curricular activities and get involved in campus life. The EMBA, though, requires very careful time management, with students often having to juggle work, study and family commitments. Overall, employers appear to view the two qualifications as equally useful, while students surveyed by the Graduate Management Admission Council in 2009 expressed a higher level of satisfaction with their EMBA than with other programmes. The decision about whether to take an MBA or an EMBA usually comes down to one’s current position, work experience, age, and the employer’s willingness to provide funding or allow the flexibility needed to attend classes. Either way, it makes sense to take the chance to advance one’s knowledge of business.


Background

Important numbers in EMBA education - Michael Taylor

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tudents enrolling in executive MBA programmes tend to be older and more experienced that those enrolling on conventional MBA programmes. Their reasons for returning to the classroom are also different. MBA students tend to be in their late 20s or early 30s. With a few years of professional experience under their belts, they want to jump-start their careers or switch to something completely different. EMBA students tend to be in their late 30s to mid-40s. Their desire to return to the classroom can be motivated by a variety of factors. Sometimes - as with MBA students - they want to switch careers. Often, however, their motivations are more complex. Perhaps they have been working in a specific functional area - such as accounting or marketing - and they want to move into general management. Others might have been successful working in Hong Kong, but have no experience working in the mainland or overseas.

participant “ Amust expect to do eight to 15 hours of work a week

Another reason could be that they are more interested in personal fulfilment rather than professional advancement. They seek a transformational experience that will broaden their horizons. They want to learn how to think outside the box - not just in their professional lives, but also in their personal lives.

Mike Hall is an international education consultant who used to be programme director at EMBA-Global Asia, University of Hong Kong. He warns that an EMBA is not for the faint of heart and that a considerable amount of time and effort needs to be committed. “An EMBA is not a free ride,” Hall says. “A participant must expect to do eight to 15 hours of work a week, even for the weeks they are not in class. They should also have complete understanding from their place of work.” Prospective EMBA students pay a lot of attention to business-school rankings, but it’s important to remember that the rankings are only one of many factors that should be considered when evaluating a business school. Especially important is to determine what your reasons are for pursuing a higher degree - and then look for a school that offers the best fit. “There are many good EMBAs that are not ranked, and the way the rankings are arranged or computed doesn't always bring out the best points about particular schools,” Hall says. “There are better ways than the rankings to get to know a particular EMBA. If a prospective candidate relies solely on the rankings, they could easily finish up in an EMBA that doesn't suit them.” So what should potential candidates consider when choosing a programme? “Perhaps the most important thing for busy executives is the timetabling,” Hall says. “Most of the top EMBAs will deliver similar subjects from very good professors, so it may only be a choice of available electives or other things like class profile that differentiates the programmes.”

Executive MBA 2014

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The trends Photo: May Tse, MCT

Senior executives head back to school to learn the basic tools - Celine Sun

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hen Haifeng is the archetypal self-made Chinese entrepreneur. He founded his own company in 1998 to make automatic control systems used in coal mines and built it into a leading industry player with an annual revenue of 800 million yuan (HK$1 trillion). But two years ago, the chief executive of Shanghai Ousheng Technology decided to go back to school at the age of 40. He joined the executive MBA programme run by Shanghai Fudan University and the National Taiwan University to learn how to do business. The reason: “Some trivial things,” he said. “For example, in the past, I could easily tell how the company was doing by looking at the financial figures. But as the company grows bigger, I am not that sure anymore,” said Chen. He was one of 60 students in his class. They paid 418,000 yuan for the two-year course, attending lessons given by mainland and Taiwanese professors. Yin Zhiwen, associate dean of the management school of Shanghai Fudan University, said more and more

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senior executives are returning to school to learn the basic tools and find inspiration from systematic management knowledge and theories taught in other countries. “Since China’s economy opened up 30 years ago, a large number of entrepreneurs have made it big with their hard work, capability and sometimes with just smart ideas. “However, today many find they are no longer able to take their companies to a new level after their businesses reach a certain scale,” said Yin, pointing to why Chinese businesspeople are increasingly turning to formal management education. The EMBA courses in mainland China, which was formally started in 2002 when the Ministry of Education approved the first batch of local universities to hold such programmes, has been expanding fast across the nation. In addition to the demand from private business owners, there is huge demand for EMBA education from the government.


The trends HEC, one of the world’s top business schools based in Paris, was approached by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council to bring their EMBA programme to mainland China. HEC started its classes in Beijing in August 2006 and most of its students were the heads of large state-owned companies. In 2008, the school started to work with Zhejiang University to run a separate EMBA programme in Shanghai. To present “original” teaching content to Chinese students, all teachers are from HEC’s headquarters and fly from Europe to Beijing to give lessons. Elodie Xu Ying, director of HEC’s executive education on the mainland, said the student profile has changed dramatically in the past few years, reflecting the changes in the profile of the nation’s top business leaders. “In the early years, the majority of our students were in their 50s and 60s. Most of them were involved in manufacturing industry and few knew English well. Now our students are younger. Some have had years of overseas work experience and can speak fluent English,” she said. Another trend Xu notices is the increasing interest among Chinese entrepreneurs for overseas markets and globalisation. “Our students are showing a stronger

interest in issues like how to build overseas headquarters and how to manage foreign employees in overseas markets.” Xu said the school aims to do more case studies on Chinese companies and establish a China business research centre.

find they “ Many are no longer

able to take their companies to a new level after their businesses reach a certain scale

Executive MBA 2014

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Interview Photos: Nora Tam

What an EMBA taught a PhD: create simple strategies and explain them - Vickie Chan

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company’s vice president of marketing for the Asia-Pacific division.

Born in Hong Kong, Yin left to attend college in the United States and at that point, thought he would stay away forever. Later, he found himself unsure which direction to take. “I hate to admit it, but I drifted and changed major five times before settling on sociology, mainly because I could finish it in four years,” he says.

Despite the shift, the principles of sociology still shape Yin’s work and have made him a good quantitative analyst. “Research and analysis are important in private sector business and how you apply statistics is crucial,” he says. “A businesses strategy is similar to a theory in sociology, which teaches the linear structure of thoughts. I use what I learned in my academic career every day.”

any of the key turning points in Peter Yin’s life appear to have happened by chance, rather than careful planning, but he can be more than satisfied with the way things have worked out so far.

However, he came to love academic life and decided to become a professor, which entailed doing a PhD in his chosen subject. “I came to understand it as a social science and liked the scientific approach,” he says. “I was intrigued by how people research and conceptualise the world.” It turned out, though, that being a professor at the University of Memphis was not particularly well paid and offered little recognition. Therefore, Yin decided to change track joining Federal Express - now FedEx - as a market researcher. “I was unsure, but it seemed like a good opportunity,” he says. “It fit my academic background and I found it quite a natural move.” The new role was intellectually challenging and Yin kept moving up to reach his current position as the

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In fact, Yin continues to find new ways to draw on his past experience. As a professor, he didn’t necessarily appreciate the practical applications of studying arts and sciences. Students would complain that what they learned couldn’t be applied in the real world and, at the time, he tended to agree. Now, though, he sees things differently. “If I could go back, I’d do more to point out the relevance to daily life, explaining the applications of sociology in business and the public sector,” Yin says. In the early 90s, another career change came about, more or less unplanned. FedEx asked him to move back to Hong Kong to work at their new Asia headquarters. “After 20 years, this was an exciting opportunity. I was happy to be back,” he says.


Interview This changed his approach to strategy and dealing with issues in the workplace. “Economists tend to flip a problem upside down and inside out, to see it totally differently,” he says. “It stops you from defining the problem from just one perspective and then getting stuck. That has helped me go beyond what sociology taught me because, in business, simplifying and defining a key driver is part of every strategy.”

“ Learning to

create simple strategies means I can explain them easily to my staff, who can then add their own tactics

Nowadays, Yin says he makes decisions with a clearer mind and is more articulate in describing the process. This has also helped him become a better manager. “Learning to create simple strategies means I can explain them easily to my staff, who can then add their own tactics,” he says. “But I do thank FedEx for teaching me other management skills. The company is known for valuing people.” Yin may be one of few people who don’t place networking opportunities high on the list of reasons for taking his EMBA. “For me, being interested in the subject matter you’re working on is the most important thing,” he says. “Whether you are in academia, the public or private sectors, it is important to have an intellectual challenge. In terms of career choices, listen to your inner voice. One of my Chicago professors said that not everyone can be successful but that we can all be happy with what we do. So, it is best to do what you love and be happy.”

During a subsequent stint in Singapore, Yin came across Chicago Booth’s campus, which got him thinking about the possibilities of taking a formal business qualification. “I wasn’t thinking about changing company, but I had an intellectual curiosity,” he says, “FedEx agreed it would be a good idea to take an MBA and it has been one of the best experiences of my life, even over my PhD.” Yin’s criteria for choosing the course were quite specific. He felt Chicago Booth’s purpose-built campus offered something unique and because professors and assistants were flown in to teach classes in Singapore, it would be a bona fide experience. In addition, the programme was well structured and, though intense, covered all the main subjects. “Every six weeks, we studied full time for a week. I’d go in at 8:30am and work constantly for 12 hours,” he says. “It was invigorating to be challenged in this way, and to come through it physically and mentally is just exhilarating.” The school’s reputation for economics was of particular benefit to Yin. He learned about economic science and how economists think, new areas for someone more familiar with how sociologists and psychologists think. Indeed, he still feels that one of the lasting gains from the programme was seeing and understanding the key differences between economic and social sciences. Executive MBA 2014

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Benefits Photo: David Wong

A distinctive part of the EMBA: the chance to interact with CEOs - Linda Yeung

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s many people will know, EMBA students are established professionals in their fields, often in their late 30s at least. Many are also sponsored by their companies as a way to groom their potential as leaders. What sets their training apart from other business-related courses? To prepare future leaders, one good component should be the chance to interact with CEOs and develop insights into business success. The Ivey Business School, a leading provider well-known for its rich collection of business cases, took such an approach by launching a recent visit to Silicon Valley for 27 students from its Hong Kong EMBA Class of 2014. The students met the school’s alumni working in the IT hub and learned about the hi-tech area’s unique business environment. Professor Eric Morse, Associate Dean of Ivey, said they had received very positive feedback about this new module for the Hong Kong EMBA programme. “Our students were fascinated to learn how entrepreneurs succeed in this hotbed of innovation and global value creation,” he said. The group’s itinerary included five days in Silicon Valley and four days in San Francisco, where students met representatives from companies including Achievers, Deutsche Bank Financial, Intel, Joyopolis, LinkedIn, Oracle, SAP, Wal-Mart Labs and ZenBanx. The students heard key insights about idea generation, startups, rapid growth, multi-round financing, exiting to IPO, organisation renewal, and ways to manage talent during explosive growth.

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Executive MBA 2014

According to Professor Morse, following the trip, some participants were inspired to take the startup plans they had developed during the module to create new businesses with their classmates. Seeing with their own eyes how other enterprises operated can prove to be an enriching experience, besides building vital connections. Role models can of course be found locally. The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)’s EMBA programme has produced a “Talking to CEOs” and the “New Thinking in Management" Radio and TV series broadcast on RTHK and a number of paid TV channels. It serves the wider purpose of leveraging the management experiences, insights and personal philosophies of top business leaders to foster creative thinking for the whole Hong Kong community. Students enrolled in the programme, however, will still benefit from coming face to face with the top decision-makers. CUHK and other local business schools have also run seminars featuring these people. Undoubtedly contacts with inspiring professionals can offer valuable lessons. Likewise, it is common for influential or inspiring figures to be featured in assemblies at secondary schools. There is also a strong trend towards schools pairing students up with mentors who are professionals. The adult figures are widely believed to be a key source of guidance and support for youngsters. The same applies to mature EMBA students - they can benefit as much from people with perhaps as much wisdom as them but far more versatile experience.


China Photos: AFP, Reuters

Business school retools executives in China - Celine Sun

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en years ago, China formally introduced the executive MBA programme, offering Western management knowledge to local corporate honchos. The country has since become the largest EMBA market in the world, with more than 10,000 EMBA students graduating from around 60 business schools every year. Boosting the demand is Chinese entrepreneurs’ increasing desire to retool themselves with the most advanced management theories as the nation edges closer to becoming the world's largest economy. EMBA education first emerged in the United States in the 1940s and thrived in the West for decades. Although senior executive education started late in China, it caught on quickly. The latest global EMBA ranking compiled by the Financial Times in October shows seven Chinese business schools made it to the Top 100 around the world. The EMBA programme jointly run by Beijing's Tsinghua University and French business school INSEAD and another managed by the Shanghai-based China Europe

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International Business School (CEIBS) even broke into the top 10, with a ranking of 4th and 7th, respectively. CEIBS, a joint venture of the Chinese government and the European Union set up in 1994, was the first in the nation to start EMBA classes. It was not until July 2002 that the Ministry of Education formally approved 30 mainland universities to start offering EMBA classes and issue degrees. It was extended to another 32 universities in 2009. While the EMBA market grows rapidly in China, some have raised doubts about the programmes’ staggering tuition fees. Critics point out that networking often seems to be the main draw for students to these programmes, rather than knowledge. Charles Chen Jieping, director of the EMBA programme and associate dean at CEIBS, who has seen this market boom and evolve over the years, shared his vision of EMBA education in an interview with the Post. "We don't want to become a 'billionaires' club'," he said. "We want to be a learning platform linking East and West through teaching, research and business practice.


China That's why we cannot simply use European or American EMBA textbooks in our class. We are giving more courses on leadership, strategy setting, merger and acquisition, as well as corporate governance to meet the needs of higher-level executives. What is the profile of EMBA students in your school? Have there been any changes over the past few years? Yes, there have been. Now, nearly 50 per cent of our students are from local private enterprises. Such students accounted for only a third around five years ago. Meanwhile, we have fewer students from multinational companies as these companies have been cutting their staff training budgets since the 2008 financial crisis. CEIBS now runs two EMBA schemes. One is taught in English and the other in Mandarin. We recruit more than 700 people per year. We have over 8,000 alumni as of now. What do Chinese entrepreneurs actually want from EMBA programmes? Many Chinese entrepreneurs have accumulated much work experience but haven't had the opportunity to receive systematic management education. Some of them may have been successful in business or have gone through difficulties. They come to us looking for answers as to why they succeeded or failed. They expect to find the answers here and to be inspired by professors’ analyses of case studies and discussions with classmates. These senior executives can also be very lonely people. The EMBA, for them, is also a place to find and connect with people with similar experiences and to learn from each other. Our goal is to educate responsible leaders versed in 'China depth' and 'global breadth'." Before joining CEIBS in 2008, Chen worked as a tenured faculty member and head of the department of accountancy at the City University of Hong Kong. He worked there for 13 years. He currently teaches financial statement analysis and corporate governance at CEIBS, where he is a professor of accounting. The EMBA programme has been in China for 10 years now. What do you think are the major differences between the EMBA market in China and in Europe or the US? First, our students are different. Chinese EMBA students are older than their peers overseas. They are generally around 40. Most of them are top-level executives in enterprises or government departments. By comparison, the average age of students in foreign countries is around 34, and most of them are mid-level managers, such as directors of human resources or sales. Executive MBA 2014

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China

Tuition fees of China's EMBA programmes have been rising very fast. Why is that?

What's your view about the future development of EMBA education in China?

This year, the tuition fee for our two-year EMBA programme is 568,000 yuan (HK$719,000). Fees rose 10 to 20 per cent annually from 2008 to 2011. They rose only 5 per cent last year due to the weaker economic environment. In other schools, the fees range from 200,000 to 600,000 yuan.

I think it will become more localised as China's enterprises get more and more sophisticated. We are past the stage of using foreign experience to address local problems. You can see the same thing has happened in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan already. Another trend, I believe, is that Chinese cultural elements, such as Confucianism, will be increasingly a part of EMBAs.

Whether or not the tuition fee is too high depends on the perspective of those attending the programme. Many of our students are chief executives or general managers. They make critical decisions every day and may make or lose millions or tens of millions of dollars for their companies. If they can avoid even one mistake by taking our courses, it would save them and their businesses a lot of money. Besides, our tuition fees are still lower than what schools with similar rankings in the US charge. The most popular management theories in the world are from the West. How does your school adapt them to China's needs in daily teaching? The courses in our programmes are based on those at the Wharton Business School of Pennsylvania University. I have fine-tuned it since 2008 by adding more content on leadership and culture. For example, our students in English-language classes now take a one-week course at West Point, the US military academy. They attend sessions presented by military officers and even receiving military training. We've also started offering classes on Chinese philosophy and literature to our students. Why are universities in China so enthusiastic about EMBA programmes? Compared to MBA programmes, which are for young business executives, EMBA education is considered more effective, because the students are often the decision-makers and can apply management theories in their own companies right away. Another important reason is that EMBA tuition fees are relatively high. They are the major source of revenue for many business schools. What do you think is the major bottleneck for China's EMBA education? Lack of teachers. It's very hard to find capable EMBA professors. There are some successful professors in foreign countries, but they are only familiar with case studies in Europe or the US, with little knowledge about China. Chinese scholars often lack a world view and systematic management research skills. Currently around 70 per cent of our teachers are foreign passport holders. They are either Chinese scholars who have lived and worked overseas for a long time or expatriates who have stayed in China for at least 10 years.

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Executive MBA 2014

“ Whether or not

the tuition fee is too high depends on the perspective of those attending the programme

�


Hong Kong

Top schools make Hong Kong a hub for EMBA education - Ernest Kao

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he University of Science and Technology’s joint executive MBA programme has topped the Financial Times' 2013 list of global rankings for the fifth year in a row despite new competition in the city and from the mainland. The 15-year-old programme, offered in partnership with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, in the United States, scored top marks for graduates’ average salaries, as well as gender and ethnic diversity, the report found. About 20 per cent of students were from the US, 15 per cent from the mainland, and 8 per cent from Hong Kong. Behind Kellogg-HKUST was the joint EMBA offered by Tsinghua University in Beijing and Insead; and at No 3 was the Anglo-American joint programme by Columbia University in the US and the London Business School. The average Kellogg-HKUST graduate earned US$416,806 annually - more than double the world average of US$$173,000 - three years after graduation, said programme academic director Vidhan Goyal. “The rankings reflect the quality of our students and the curriculum, which is constantly innovating... to adapt to the needs of the world.”

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)'s independent EMBA programme was ranked 13 - four places up from last year. The average CUHK EMBA graduate earned US$278,426 annually three years after graduation - 56 per cent more than they did before the course. HKUST salaries went up 47 per cent from before the course. Professor Andrew Chan Chi-fai, director of CUHK's EMBA programme, said its appeal was due to its independence from Western-based schools, which gave the university total control over its curriculum. “Our programme is designed to bring the world to China and China to the world.” Chan said Hong Kong had plenty of room for more such programmes and welcomed the entry of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. “More EMBA programmes will only attract more talent into the city,” he said. The Financial Times’ rankings evaluated 136 programmes on criteria including average salaries, salary increases after completion, gender and ethnic diversity, and the number of doctoral graduates it produces.

Executive MBA 2014

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Kellogg - HKUST (Advertorial)

An EMBA programme which takes high flyers to the next level - John Cremer

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eflecting on his experience of the Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA programme, recent graduate Victor Genuino has no doubt at all that he made the right call. Other options, of course, came under consideration when he started to contemplate how best to broaden his perspectives and acquire the all-round business skills needed to reach the top in his field. But looking back, he has assurance of knowing that the programme he chose in fact surpassed his initial expectations, providing the insights, experience, world view, and network of contacts to help him take the next significant step forward. “I now look at the art and science of management as a set of constantly moving parts,” says Genuino, vice president and head of the corporate business group at Meralco (Manila Electric Company). “I have a much better understanding of how to drive the business proactively and prepare the internal organisation to meet the challenges of an ever changing market environment.” In business, he notes, it is one thing to have a clear vision of how a company or, indeed, a sector could and should work. It is quite another to translate those ideas into a properly financed and smoothly functioning operation which creates jobs, generates profits and meets consumer demand. However, the Kellogg-HKUST EMBA taught invaluable lessons in each respect, and the chance to discuss problems and cases with classmates from a widely diverse mix of other countries and industries added a whole extra dimension. “I am sure that the programme has armed all of us with both the theoretical and practical knowledge to take on

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a higher level of responsibilities,” Genuino says. “And having access to the huge alumni network of the two schools will make it easier for us to tap into the advice and wisdom of any number of highly successful individuals.” Initially, getting to grips with the volume of course material, case studies, group work and exams was more than a little daunting for someone who had completed a BA in interdisciplinary studies at Ateneo De Manila University almost 19 years previously. Good time management was also a key factor as Genuino sought the necessary balance between work, study and family commitments. “After a few months of adjustment, the workload became more manageable,” he says. “For me, the most important thing was to learn about all the different aspects of running a major business and to build a stronger personal network in the region. The programme certainly met my expectations and I think the ‘sacrifice’ in terms of cost and time was definitely well worth it.” His advice to potential candidates is to assess carefully what they hope to gain from the programme and whether it is the most suitable for them in light of their current role and ambitions. “I took account of the feedback of alumni who spoke very highly of their experiences and the benefits they derived both during the programme and afterwards,” Genuino says. “The flexible learning structure, part-time schedule, the case method of instruction, and the number one global EMBA ranking also played a part in my own decision.”


Career Photo: AFP

Global minds for a global city - Chris Davis

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n a globally expanding and constantly changing business environment, interaction and discussion with fellow executives through an Executive MBA (EMBA) programme is becoming a popular way for Hong Kong professionals to boost their technical and theoretical skills. One of the defining factors of EMBA programmes, according to their providers, is that they are targeted at experienced managers and professionals. Generally, this means individuals with at least 10 years’ management experience looking to develop their ability to conceptualise the application of new learning rather than improve their functional management skills. Mary Miller, University of Hong Kong (HKU) director of the EMBA Global Asia programme, says they bring together high-calibre executives from various nationalities and industries. “A core strength of the programme is the knowledge and experiences students are able to share, whether seasoned business veterans or budding entrepreneurs,” Miller says.

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The EMBA is jointly offered by HKU, the London Business School (LBS) and New York’s Columbia Business School (CBS). According to Miller, the opportunity to interact with faculties from three different business schools from as many continents makes for a dynamic learning and discussion environment. “Not only do participants join our programme to learn from faculty members and each other, but they also relish the opportunity to explore new ideas,” Miller says. “In some ways, the classroom acts as a safe laboratory where students can explore new ideas.” Miller also believes life is about stretching capabilities, and growing into new and more dynamic roles. “Many of our students have risen to the point where they need more insights and the credentials to support the decisions they are being asked to make,” she says. “Our students are the people in the trenches dealing with challenges on a daily basis. They are being asked


Career

“ In some ways,

the classroom acts as a safe laboratory where students can explore new ideas

leadership qualities and are highly committed to their professional development,” Miller says. Martin Cerullo, managing director at global talent acquisition and management solutions firm Alexander Mann Solutions, says an EMBA can help people improve skills and enhance leadership-management capability. “From a recruitment perspective, an EMBA from the right institution would definitely be seen as a plus by recruiters as some school brands can imply excellence,” Cerullo says. Noting qualification preferences among employers, Marc Burrage, regional director of Hays in Hong Kong, says companies are increasingly requiring a mix of technical and business qualifications to help candidates make that crucial transition to senior management.

by their companies to make projections and decisions, so they need as much information as possible. It is easy to see from the interest level and participation that the knowledge they leverage from the programme is immediate and relevant,” she adds.

For example, Burrage says, top banks typically look for strong academics when they are hiring entrants. “If candidates have an MBA or EMBA and Chinese language skills, they are in particularly high demand,” he says.

Using the programme’s module in China economy and financial systems as an example, Miller says feedback from EMBA students highlighted the depth of interest. “The faculty involved with the China financial systems programme contains consultants and experts who talk directly to the people responsible for making important decisions,” she says. “They are living it, in the thick of it, which adds a lot of relevance.” The part-time programme requires an intensive 20-month commitment, with the option to complete it in 16 months. Graduates are awarded a degree jointly conferred by LBS, CBS and HKU. Applicants are required to have management experience, a satisfactory GMAT score and company support for time commitment. “It is important candidates demonstrate Executive MBA 2014

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