Praise for joint programme
Commercial and financial realities ensure Hong Kong and Shanghai institutions gain advantage
Two recent graduates of the IMBA jointly offered by the University of Hong Kong and Fudan University in Shanghai have praised the programme and offered suggestions for its future success.
Graduate Victor So Chi-ming is international sales director for Mainsource China, a trading company specialising in air conditioning and refrigeration. He was among last month's graduates of the programme.
Mr So said the joint programme - organised by HKU's faculty of business and economics and Fudan University's school of management - had an inherent competitive advantage because both cities were focal points for commercial and financial development in China.
'The rapid growth of Shanghai in recent years is incredible and the well-developed position of Hong Kong as one of the most important financial centres in the world is undoubted,' he said.
'I believe that this is a creditable IMBA programme for top talents in the mainland to gain exposure to western business theory and experience.'
Mr So said the programme's strengths were a well-designed curriculum, which began with learning soft skills such as communication skills, human behaviour and the application of information technology in the business world.
Compulsory subjects included basic accounting, economics and marketing, which provided fundamental and necessary knowledge for management in international business.
Mr So said elective subjects covering in-depth knowledge in areas such as finance, supply chain and project management were also useful to students from specific fields of business.
'Most of the subjects were taught in English, which is the common language for the global business world. Teachers from HKU provided their experience, and business cases from Hong Kong and other countries enabled students to have a better understanding of the international business world,' Mr So said.
'Teachers from Fudan brought China cases and practices to the class, which were also constructive for students in understanding the environment of modern China.'
Mr So said graduates from the programme became alumni of HKU and could access the extensive alumni network in Hong Kong and around the world. He said one area he could see for improvement of the programme would be more time in Hong Kong for mainland students to enable communication with people and companies, and a greater diversity of students.
'The majority of students were mainlanders and there were only a few classmates from Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea,' he said.
He said a key benefit from the IMBA was the confidence of applying what he had learned directly, on the job. 'I believe that what we learned in the programme will be helpful for us in solving problems we encounter in the future.'
Xu Xiaohua is Alcatel Shanghai Bell's deputy director, Asia-Pacific west region who also graduated this month. Alcatel Shanghai Bell is the flagship of Alcatel-Lucent group in Asia-Pacific and a comprehensive end-to-end telecoms solutions provider.
Mr Xu was involved initially in his career in domestic research and development, and pre-sales. Eventually, he was exposed to overseas markets, particularly in Africa and India.
'I began to be responsible for overseas business and found that this was very attractive to me, so I transferred to the overseas department of the company, responsible for pre-sales,' he said. 'It became important for me to get more information and knowledge, especially in business communication, business law and international best practice.
'Through this IMBA, I systematically gained this knowledge. It also helped with good contacts, through students in other regions and business sectors.
'Because the teaching is mainly done in English, and with these top two institutions, it's a good learning experience. Also some of the lecturers were members of boards of companies, and their shared experiences were practical and helpful for my own work.'
Mr Xu said the programme could try to reduce class size in future. There were up to 60 students in his class, perhaps reflecting the popularity of the programme.
He also said, like Mr So, there should be more time and access for the mainland students to HKU resources and Hong Kong. 'The study tour to Hong Kong was important for me,' he said.
'The course has definitely been a great help. My career path before was with the domestic market, but now has become focused overseas.
'This year, Shanghai has become the regional headquarters for the company. More people are needed in overseas centres and I've been selected to go to Vietnam to work with the company's office there.'