Family support, global rewards
Return on investment is a key metric for any business-related project, so it makes perfect sense for executives taking the Kellogg-HKUST EMBA to analyse payback from the 20-month programme in quite some detail.
Many factors go into the calculation. These include the course's academic standing, plus the new contacts, all-round knowledge and improved career prospects it will bring. But there is also the significant time commitment and extra pressure that go with squeezing many hours of high-powered classes into already busy schedules.
'It is a challenge, but also a very good investment,' says Philip Eyskens, general manager of Bekaert Specialty Wire Products Hong Kong, who is about to graduate. 'You have the chance to learn from top professors about so many areas in such a comparatively short time.'
With three children under 15, Eyskens knew that family support would be crucial. For the duration of the course, this therefore meant rethinking certain priorities, making the odd sacrifice, and becoming an expert in time management.
'One of the most rewarding elements is that you come out stronger professionally and as a family,' says Eyskens, who is also responsible for his group's merger and acquisition (M&A) activities in Asia. 'I've also found you get more satisfaction from the work you do every day. You understand more of what is happening and why and, therefore, can potentially see new synergies for the company.'
As an elective, Eyskens opted for a course in Miami on M&A and organisational change. His choice was guided in large part by the chance to meet and learn from fellow students from around the world, whose experience of the past few years would be markedly different from his own.
Throughout the programme, an important feature for Eyskens was the diversity of the group. That gave opportunities to understand other roles, industries and business imperatives - and how fast some of them are changing in the global economy.
'The mix of nationalities, cultures and personalities is one of the things that makes the programme so rich,' says Eyskens who hails originally from Belgium. 'It means you are learning from the faculty, your peers, and acknowledged leaders in different sectors.'