THE MULTICULTURAL environment in Singapore gave Alfred Leung Sai-kit an extra incentive to pursue an EMBA degree at the Asia campus of the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business. For 20 months he flew to the Lion City every five weeks for one week of intensive classes taught by senior faculty flown out from the business school. The fact that more than 20 nationalities were represented in his class made his trips all the more worthwhile, the private equity specialist said. The one-week stay each time, as opposed to lessons held over weekends like in some part-time programmes, helped him to develop strong professional and personal bonds with his fellow classmates, half of whom also flew in from diverse places such as Australia, Dubai, India, Japan and South Korea. The bonding, strengthened by intense discussions on project work and nights out in the city, was an important part of his MBA experience, he said. Mr Leung, who shared a flat with a German expatriate during his stays in Singapore, was able to fit in his work with his travel schedule. 'Depending on their line of work, [a person's] schedule will easily decide whether they can match the course structure. In general, I have found employers, especially those at respectable and forward-looking firms, tend to be supportive of their colleagues on personal development at the appropriate time. I considered travelling a blessing as it freed me psychologically and physically to become a full-time student for the week as I would have already arranged my work before flying.' The long-distance training also prepared Mr Leung for expanding his clientele. Shortly after he finished the programme in March, he landed a job as associate director at GE Equity, responsible for Asia Pacific, a wider market than in his previous position, which focused on southern China. Another reason the graduate of the University of California at Berkeley opted to take the course was to get an MBA from one of the world's top universities. 'My goal for getting an MBA is to gain arbitrage value across cultural and geographical boundaries. I wanted to broaden my horizons through exchanges of business ideas and discussions with people from around the world.'