Intensive learning puts executives on career fast track

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 July, 2005, 12:00am

Leading Australian management school scores points with its highly-focused schedule and face-to-face lectures

KAREN ELIZABETH Robertson is one of dozens of students who have received degrees from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM). Co-founder of Out of the Box Thinking, she is a certified Edward de Bono trainer, teaching effective thinking skills to students from the age of seven to university level.

'When I decided to further my education I was a human resources manager for start-up software company NetDimensions,' Ms Robertson said. 'Although I had extensive experience in managing people and office administration, I realised that I lacked some of the knowledge and, therefore, confidence required to write and implement HR policy and successfully hire and manage staff.'

Ms Robertson considered several courses before settling on MGSM's Master of Management (MM).

'I chose MGSM because of its reputation as being a top graduate programme and the fact that all the lectures were face to face with the professors based in Sydney,' she said. 'I really liked the intensive schedule because I think it is easier to block book an entire weekend rather than having to attend classes several times a week. Also I believe the intensive learning - 40 hours over two consecutive weekends - is more effective.'

Another benefit for Ms Robertson was being able to put things learned in class into immediate practice at work. 'I used Out of the Box Thinking in several of my assignments and was able to apply those assignments back into the business,' she said.

'For example, the group assignment in strategic management - for which I have an award - was to conduct a strategic analysis focusing on special competencies and processes of development. Many of the recommendations from the assignment I proposed to my business partner [and father] were implemented into the business.'

Andrew Sung, who has also graduated with a Master of Management, worked as an architect in the private sector before joining the Hong Kong government's Architectural Service Department five years ago. He has architecture degrees from the University of Hong Kong and a law degree from the University of London.

'I enjoy studying and learning new things,' he said. 'That's one of the reasons why I decided to enrol at Macquarie.?

But there were more practical considerations as well, such as the evolving professional duties of architects. 'The role of the architect is changing,' Mr Sung said. 'Apart from design, architects are increasingly involved in management.?

One of the reasons Mr Sung joined the programme was that it offered a chance to meet people from a variety of sectors. Another was the school's reputation.

'Macquarie is a good management school with a good reputation in Hong Kong. Before I joined the course I spoke to some friends in Sydney and found out that it has a good reputation in Australia, too,' he said.

Another attraction was the flexible schedule. 'Classes meet on weekends and you finish them one by one so there is no overlap,' Mr Sung said. 'Also, after finishing the MM you can continue on to do an MBA.'

Stones Tse, managing director and chief executive of RK Properties Holdings, is receiving a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). 'The principal objective for me to undertake the MGSM DBA was to develop a more solid intellectual foundation and capability for effective business analysis and making management decisions,' Mr Tse said. 'Also, I would like to integrate the highest academic qualification - a doctoral degree - and my management experience in a way to enhance my career development.'

Doing a DBA while running his mainland property development business required skilful time management.

'The most difficult time I experienced in the programme was during the dissertation stage,' Mr Tse said. 'Because of the daytime workload and family commitments, it was a long-lasting pain to squeeze available time for the research study. Although the survey data was already in hand during the early stages of my research, I hardly found time to move on the research process in a significant way. At one point, I intended to drop out.'

He praised his supervisor, Yiming Tang, for helping him complete the course with his patience, guidance and support.