The University of Science and Technology's joint executive MBA programme has topped the Financial Times' 2013 list of global rankings for the fifth year in a row despite new competition in the city and from the mainland.
The 15-year-old programme, offered in partnership with Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, in the United States, scored top marks for graduates' average salaries, as well as gender and ethnic diversity, the report found.
About 20 per cent of students were from the US, 15 per cent from the mainland, and 8 per cent from Hong Kong.
Behind Kellogg-HKUST was the joint EMBA offered by Tsinghua University in Beijing and Insead; and at No 3 was the Anglo-American joint programme by Columbia University in the US and the London Business School.
The average Kellogg-HKUST graduate earned US$416,806 annually - more than double the world average of US$$173,000 - three years after graduation, said programme academic director Vidhan Goyal. "The rankings reflect the quality of our students and the curriculum, which is constantly innovating … to adapt to the needs of the world."
Chinese University's independent EMBA programme was ranked 13 - four places up from last year. The average CUHK EMBA graduate earned US$278,426 annually three years after graduation - 56 per cent more than they did before the course. HKUST salaries went up 47 per cent from before the course.
Professor Andrew Chan Chi-fai, director of CUHK's EMBA programme, said its appeal was due to its independence from Western-based schools, which gave the university total control over its curriculum. "Our programme is designed to bring the world to China and China to the world."
Chan said Hong Kong had plenty of room for more such programmes and welcomed the expected entry of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. "More EMBA programmes will only attract more talent into the city," he said.
The Financial Times' rankings evaluated 136 programmes on criteria including average salaries, salary increases after completion, gender and ethnic diversity, and the number of doctoral graduates it produces.