High standards help business schools thrive
Hong Kong's high level of professionalism and ethical standards are a draw for business students from the region, according to many experts in the field.
The city gained an edge as a business education provider because of the various scandals - from tainted milk formula to business fraud cases - on the mainland, said Professor Wong Tak-jun, head of Chinese University's business school.
'There is a gap ... between the two places [the mainland and Hong Kong], and it may take a number of years for this gap to be bridged. Professional and ethical standards are areas in which we can help [mainland] China to develop.'
Mainland students in Hong Kong were exposed to high ethical standards, the accountancy professor said. 'We believe in gradual changes through exposure. When students see the examples of business leaders, they will say 'I'd like to be like them' - that's education. We emphasise professionalism.'
Wong (pictured) said his school had the potential to become a global business institution, attracting students from the mainland and elsewhere. 'We want to be an institution that bridges East and West,' he said.
The school is to put much of its knowledge on business in China online, offering executive summaries of its research and providing a connection to its 20,000 alumni in the region.
Its freedom of speech gave Hong Kong great potential as a hub for liberal arts, social sciences and business education, Wong said.
A large market existed not far from the city for high-quality business training, he said. 'Business education in southern China is underdeveloped. Shanghai has 20 top business schools, Beijing has three top ones, but across southern China, there are just one or two,' Wong said.
While Chinese University will open a branch campus in Shenzhen's Longgang district in 2013, consisting of business, science and engineering faculties, its business school plans to offer executive MBA (EMBA) and MBA courses at its new research institute at the Shenzhen Virtual University National Science Park.
For 10 years, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology business school has been running a part-time MBA course in Shenzhen. It is also running a bilingual EMBA course for mainland entrepreneurs, with classes held in Hong Kong and various mainland cities including Shanghai, Beijing and Sanya , Hainan province.
Hong Kong was already ahead of Singapore as the number one destination in Asia for business education, said Professor Leonard Cheng Kwok-hon, dean of the HKUST business school. The city's key attractions were an international faculty and students, and exposure to eastern and western cultures, he said.
His university sets stringent criteria for student performance, he said. 'Employers want their staff to have high ethical standards. Our programmes are run in a stringent manner and we want our students to be willing to work hard, to share and set high goals in life.'