Flying in to Hong Kong to attend programme sessions is nothing new. Ever since the EMBA programme was launched, many participants have jetted in from the mainland and elsewhere in the region. About 30 per cent of those in today's graduating class fly in to attend sessions twice a month. But Steve Cox, managing director of global programme man agement, Federal Express, is special. Mr Cox used to fly in from his base in Singapore, but halfway through the programme he was transferred back to the United States. So for the last several months, he has had to fly all the way from his Memphis, Tennessee base to complete the course. 'I have always wanted an MBA,' Mr Cox said. Owing to changes at FedEx - he has been with the company since 1983 - he had never been able to find the time to do it. 'When the opportunity came along to attend the HKUST programme, the timing was right. My job was stable, which allowed me to devote time to the programme,' Mr Cox said. After reaching the halfway point in the programme, Mr Cox learned he was being transferred back to the US. 'I did contact Northwestern University about transferring when the decision was made for me to relocate back to Memphis,' he said. 'But the timing was not right. We were already beyond the halfway point in both programmes, a little too late for the swap.' But he has no regrets. 'I am glad I stuck with the programme,' Mr Cox said. 'The class of 40 is a good size for interaction, participation and learning from one another's perspectives. Also, the Hong Kong programme was more focused on international views, although Asia-Pacific-centred, than the Northwestern programme would have been.' Balancing professional, familial and academic commitments has been a challenge, he said. 'The expectation from the professional side was to stay focused on our jobs and ensure that business continued without any negative impact,' Mr Cox said. 'At the same time, the commitment to my family was important. Juggling those two balls, and giving the necessary attention to the course work, was demanding and trying at times.' But it has all been worthwhile, Mr Cox said. 'Having an engineering degree and background, the learning and experience gained from the course work and instruction have been invaluable. This was especially so in my last position in Asia and with my current job responsibilities in the States, where my focus is on business development and expansion, rather than engineering.'