When Andy Wang Chung-hsing, general manager of Taiwan-based International Bridal Service Corporation, decided he needed to extend his management skills with an IEMBA, he chose a programme with an international outlook. 'There are many IEMBA programmes available, but when I found out about the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) IEMBA, it quickly became obvious this was the programme for me,' Mr Wang said. The executive was looking for a learning environment rich with international experience and taught by experienced academics. 'My main priority was to join a programme based on internationalisation. The professors at HKUST not only come from different cultures and backgrounds, the programme modules consist of the most up-to-date business knowledge sourced from all over the world,' Mr Wang said. The opportunity to study with fellow students from Taiwan, Hong Kong and the mainland provided many useful insights into different working environments and management processes. 'You take something away from every module and every class. The knowledge you acquire is immediately usable and very pragmatic,' Mr Wang said. For example, structural analysis methods had helped him to use better analytical thinking for developing his company's business operations over the next decade. The IEMBA programme also covered subjects, from accounting to marketing, which were quite new to him. 'As an executive, and also a leader, how we think and plan has a direct impact on the performance of our businesses and those we work with. For the last 17 years, most of my responsibilities have [been] focused on an operational level. 'After studying the IEMBA programme, I realised if I only analyse the future of the business in a traditional way, the company could miss out on many opportunities,' Mr Wang said. Hu Hui-min, general manager of Huaxia TV Transmission based in Guangzhou, said what persuaded him to enrol in the HKUST IEMBA programme was also its international focus. 'The mix of learning experiences was as enriching as [it was] challenging,' Mr Hu said. 'Through the HKUST I had access to the most cutting-edge academic concepts in the world, and since the IEMBA participants were from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, I also benefited from learning about different social, economic, business and cultural environments.' He said as the number of joint productions between mainland and overseas television and film production companies increase, mainland companies would need to adopt an international approach to doing business. 'How are we going to deal with the investment and financing channels? And what approach should we take? How are we going to handle the marketing aspects of joint investment with foreign businesses and mergers and acquisitions? These are some of the practical problems we have to face. 'Only through the systematic study of learning concepts such as IEMBA programmes, can we obtain knowledge to apply them to real life practices,' Mr Hu said. He said his IEMBA experience had helped him to change the strategic way of thinking within his company. As a result, a decision was taken to redesign the company's database, to improve the collection of market information, and better determine market demands. As an investment, production and distribution company specialising in television drama series, Huaxia TV had previously operated on a budget basis, competing with other production companies on cost rather than content. Mr Hu oversaw a restructuring of the company turning it into a project focused enterprise instead of a department oriented organisation. Colleagues from different departments now collaborate on a whole project instead of contributing to a particular segment. This has led to a more cohesive operation with better control of finances and schedules. 'The company imposes clear requirements on the investment, milestones, quality, profitability, audience rating and cash flow attributed to each project team,' Mr Hu said. Without the knowledge and experience he gained from his IEMBA studies, Mr Hu said he would not have been able to make the significant changes. Using new strategies, the company's latest 35-episode Three Tear-offs of The Royal Notice, is achieving better audience ratings than its previous programmes and is showing a profit increase of 30 per cent more than its other projects.