The growth and development of MBA programmes in Hong Kong in recent years serves as evidence of their value in meeting business organisations' hunger for leadership development in Asia. As economic and manufacturing trends continue to swing from West to East, MBA providers say Hong Kong has become an increasingly attractive location for MBA study. Also, with better career opportunities within the region, Hong Kong-based programmes have attracted more talent from around the world.
For instance, the business education programme at the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has firmly established itself in the marketplace as a China-focused MBA programme. The HKBU MBA is designed with a theme of international business, balanced by a focus on China business.
According to the programme director, the university constantly enhances the curriculum which is taught by well-qualified teaching staff and consultants.
The school's strong network of mainland business leaders, students, graduates and academics enables students to interact with, and learn from, business leaders in Greater China.
The international exchange programme also provides an opportunity for students to enrich their international exposure, and to enhance cross-cultural communication skills.
The HKBU business school also organises seminars to expose students to the forefront of business knowledge. Over the years, their programmes, graduates, research and consulting activities have been widely recognised by both local and international communities.
Jean Baptiste Deal, a sourcing manager in the retail industry and a current Year Two part-time MBA student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Business School, says that doing an MBA has allowed him to learn new skills and be more open to the world around him. 'The combination of hard skills and soft skills that I learned in the programme gave me a new understanding of business, and allowed me to see business as I had never seen it before,' he says.
Deal has also gained in confidence, which helped him to develop networking skills. '[They have] empowered me to approach people in an easier way within and outside my organisation, from top management to suppliers,' he says.
Professor Howard Davies, MBA programme director and associate dean for programmes, teaching and learning at the faculty of business at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), says their MBA programme qualifies its students for positions in management.
'Our MBA students have an average of more than 12 years' rich work experience,' he says, adding that the PolyU faculty of business has made remarkable progress in the past few years.
He says there is a common 'One China MBA' structure between the PolyU MBA in Hong Kong, Xi'an and Shenzhen, allowing students to study for a subject in a different location and a different language, if they so choose.
'Our research, which is the primary indicator of a business school's reputation, is now rated number two in Hong Kong, number three in the whole of Asia and number 61 in the world,' he says.
Responding to growing interest and business interaction with emerging markets, Lawrence Chan, administrative director of MBA programmes at the CUHK, says the CUHK OneMBA Global Executive MBA programme integrates perspectives and best business practices from many cultures and environments, including developed and emerging economies.
'Team projects develop leadership and teaming skills vital to global managers, such as managing cultural differences and working across multiple time zones,' he says.
The programme involves five premier universities representing four continents. These include the faculty of business administration at CUHK, Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University, Tecnol?gico de Monterrey Graduate School of Business Administration and Leadership in Mexico, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School, and the Escola de Administra??o de Empresas de S?o Paulo da Funda??o Getulio Vargas in Brazil.
Taught in English, graduates earn an MBA from their home university, plus the OneMBA issued by the five partner schools.
CUHK OneMBA graduate Stephan Trieb - lead business analyst with HSBC - says the programme provides many noteworthy experiences.
'To fully understand the integration of business functions - and how they influence each other and are influenced by competitive forces - is the most valuable lesson of all,' he says.
Structured with a wide degree of flexibility, the AGSM MBA - offered in Hong Kong by the Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales - is designed to keep pace with changing industry, management development and students' needs.
According to Professor Chris Styles, deputy dean and director at AGSM, the flexible curriculum is especially designed for busy working Hong Kong and regional-based executives, with regional business career leadership ambitions in mind. Students have the flexibility to complete their MBA in between 1.5 and seven years.
'The programme has been designed to support career advancement and provide participants with recognised business insights and strategic leadership skills so they can adapt to change and transition,' says Styles.
He adds that the programme includes the best features of the AGSM MBA full- and part-time programmes in Australia.
At the same time, Styles says industry connectivity and relevance drive the review process to ensure that the MBA delivered in Hong Kong incorporates the latest cutting-edge management thinking.
Believing a successful career demands a solid foundation of business knowledge, the Richard Ivey MBA programme in Hong Kong consists of 15 courses and covers 15 module themes tackling a 'cross-enterprise leadership' challenge.
A new theme is covered each month and is deliberately sequenced to take participants through a progression of business issues, beginning with 'Decision Making' and ending with 'Looking Ahead Globally'.
Faculty members co-ordinate their materials and approaches around each of these varying module themes.
The Ivey school says the careful sequencing of the individual classes, courses and themes are designed to build on one another throughout the programme's three terms to provide students with a powerful and unique learning experience.