Rewards of an international learning experience

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 May, 2010, 12:00am

Leo Luo was one of a number of students in the Richard Ivey EMBA who commuted to classes in Hong Kong - in his case, from his home in Beijing.

The chief operating officer of ICD Security Solutions, a company which provides security systems integration, service and support to multinational clients on the mainland, has an engineering degree from Tsinghua University.

For him, embarking on an EMBA programme was an essential step in consolidating his experience and career, and to move forward.

'As an executive, I know what I'm doing at work and how to make things happen,' he explains. 'But from time to time I was asking myself about the decisions I made, if they were the right ones and if I had other options. I sometimes found myself confused and lacking the vision to see the big picture. I realised that continuing my education with a programme like this could really help.'

Luo was educated in the traditional Chinese style, and he says much of his undergraduate education and schooling was done through rote learning and one-way dialogue from professors.

'I wanted to try an international education and to learn about my work, but away from my work. Ivey gave me the opportunity to really think about things and learn through case studies and discussion. It really gave me a totally different learning experience to what I was used to.'

He says it was the knowledge gained from the experiences of other students in the programme that impressed him the most. 'In this kind of learning environment, you can really apply what you are learning in the classroom straight to your work.'

Luo has noticed an increasing number of mainland executives looking to pursue executive education programmes, with many of them looking at schools overseas that can offer a truly international learning environment.

'Ivey is a Canadian school with an international approach. We had a very colourful class, with students from over 13 nationalities. I got the opportunity to see their different styles of expression, thoughts and behaviour and learn from all their different backgrounds,' Luo says.

He suggests that fellow mainlanders looking to take an EMBA should focus on finding a school that fits them well, as opposed to simply looking at which school is doing best in the rankings. 'The important thing is to know what you want to achieve from the course and then go from there.'