Mastering financial skills
The Graduate School of Business (GSB) at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has tailored its finance-focused part-time taught postgraduate degree programmes to meet the specific needs of current finance executives or individuals aspiring to enter the sector.
The main objective of the master of corporate finance (MCF) programme is to help corporate finance practitioners further enhance their professionalism, upgrade their industry-specific knowledge and elevate their intellectual capacity in corporate finance, corporate risk management and other related areas, according to Dr Allen Ng, deputy programme director at PolyU's GSB.
This programme has an emphasis on local applications because putting the theories into practice, and the resultant know-how, are applicable in various financial markets, says Ng.
The programme was designed to augment the capabilities of current and prospective investment management professionals with a combination of solid finance concepts and up-to-date industry know-how. Incorporated in its Master of Finance (Investment Management) (MoF-IMM) specialisation programme are leading-edge knowledge and skills in asset, portfolio and fund management. 'The MoF-IMM carries an emphasis on risk assessment. This will properly equip the students working in the brokerage and fund management sub-sectors. It also prepares students for the Chartered Financial Analyst exam,' Ng says.
Risk assessment features prominently in the MoF-IMM programme because of the reliance on professionals in the financial market in considering risk-adjusted return and making investment decisions based on the risk-reward profiles of each scenario, he adds.
On finishing either the MCF or MoF-IMM programme, students must deepen their understanding of conceptual frameworks drawn from accounting, risk management, economics, quantitative method and law to the analysis of investment and corporate finance issues. They are likely to be able to effectively solve problems in asset management and corporate finance in genuine work environments and to formulate financial strategies and policies. In addition, the programmes will enhance their capability in envisioning possible outcomes on financial and strategic recommendations and evaluating the performance in a relevant and effective way.
Both schemes are listed as reimbursable for Continuing Education Fund purposes.
As a regional hub, Hong Kong's financial sector has been thriving but its developments are affected by volatility in the global market and its professionals are faced with increasingly frequent changes. This global trend of market internationalisation demands that professionals constantly equip themselves with the most up-to-date knowledge and skills to be competitive in the financial market, Ng says. 'To develop an edge, more front-line as well as back-office staff in [the] banking and finance industries seek to acquire more knowledge to handle more sophisticated customers and advance their careers in different departments,' he adds.
To ensure that its programmes are in step with the latest developments in the business sector, PolyU's GSB conducts exit surveys of students. Meanwhile, the programme committee includes student representatives who share with the faculty their needs and concerns regarding the developments of individual programmes, Ng notes. For instance, the programmes have recently introduced a course on game theory and business strategy. 'It provides more practical insights and perspective in corporate and financial investment decision-making process,' he says.
Many industry practitioners teach in the programmes, sharing their cutting-edge knowledge with students. Acclaimed academics, including Professor Wilson Tong, and specialised professionals, teach the year-one basic theory and foundation courses.
In the Professional Development Lectures series, prominent practitioners interact with students and inspire them with the latest industry information and their unique insights. Practitioners and lecturers who can boast rich industry experience teach practical elective subjects.
Designed to let busy students complete the programmes in an efficient and fulfilling manner, all subjects are delivered in an executive teaching mode, in which students are required to complete only one subject at a time over a seven-week period, Ng explains.