Get that MBA from the USA
Over the past 100 years, the United States has risen to become the world's undisputed economic and political superpower. The country's dominance in the fields of science, technology and medical innovation has been equally stark, bringing us everything from the moon landings to social networks.
This success has been built on a higher education system that boasted eight of the top 10 universities in the 2010 Academic Ranking of World Universities, or Shanghai ranking. Generously funded and with a strong research ethos, US institutions continue to be highly popular with students and teaching staff from around the world - not least among those engaged in business education.
The appeal of American MBA, DBA and EMBA programmes to potential applicants in Hong Kong is reflected in the results of the Institute of International Education's Open Doors 2011 study. This showed that, among overseas students in business and management programmes in the US, the sixth greatest number came from the city.
Following two years spent working for Morgan Stanley's Hong Kong operation, Jimmy Weng, 27, entered the MBA programme at Harvard Business School (HBS). After graduating last year, he returned to Hong Kong and now works as an assistant portfolio manager for ICBC-Credit Suisse Asset Management.
Weng speaks enthusiastically of his time at HBS and cites several reasons why anyone wishing to follow a similar career path should consider pursuing an American MBA programme.
'The first advantage is the strength of the alumni base. There are roughly 900 graduates from HBS each year entering various fields, with some partnering to start their own businesses. That network and those connections become invaluable post-graduation for everything from adjusting to a new city, learning about a new industry, or closing a major deal,' says Weng.
Dr Debra J Ringold, dean of the MBA faculty, and JELD-WEN Endowed Chair in Free Enterprise, at Oregon's Willamette University, offers figures supporting this view.
'In the Willamette MBA, 85 per cent of the graduating class of 2011 received at least one job offer within 90 days after graduation, at an average starting salary of about US$60,000,' she says.
And these offers were shared between both homegrown and overseas graduates.
Angel Lau, of the government-funded body Education USA, says scholarships or subsidies are available to help cover costs. These include fellowships through the MBA programme, need or merit-based scholarships via the business school, private grants from foundations or non-profit organisations, and employer sponsorship or loan-forgiveness programmes.