Investment bank executive says the DBA programme content is more practical and useful for executives, which is why he chose it over a PhD Taking the GSB's Doctor of Business Administration programme was a highly rewarding learning experience for Douglas Cheung Tak-yin, Hong Kong financial controller for Pacific Rim region with Merrill Lynch (Asia-Pacific). Not only did his studies upgrade his business research and analytical capabilities, they also prepared him to take on new career challenges. Unlike distance learning, Mr Cheung said the DBA programme required participants to attend classes, which he believed was essential to an enriching learning experience. 'DBA study calls for a lot of research work. The faculty at PolyU is strong, with experienced academic staff. They facilitate knowledge sharing between professors and programme participants by physically attending the classes,' he said. 'The library support on campus also helps a lot in acquiring academic journals and other materials for our research projects. The faculty's strong accounting and finance department is another solid support to our study.' In line with PolyU's core value of being 'qualified for the real world' in education, the DBA programme combines both academic theories and applications. Mr Cheung said the programme contents were more practical and useful for professional executives, and this was a key reason why he had decided to take the DBA instead of doing a PhD. 'In addition to qualitative research and statistical analysis, I learnt about the latest market development and other knowledge such as IT-related and organisational behaviour from different subjects,' he said. 'The whole learning process involves a firm commitment and intensive study, but it is very rewarding.' Trained as an accountant, Mr Cheung has been with Merrill Lynch for nearly 10 years. His thesis examined the impact of corporate transparency on financial analysts' forecast properties, supported by 10 years of financial data about the United States stock market. His findings showed that financial analysts' forecasts of a company's performance would be more accurate and less biased as a result of higher corporate transparency. Mr Cheung said the findings had implications as to what was happening in the business environment, and what companies could do with corporate transparency to improve financial analysts' earnings forecasts. 'Many people in the industry, including regulators and institutional investors, have expressed concerns about whether financial analysts are often biased in their forecasts. If the analysts' predictions are being over-optimistic, for example, average stock investors could be misled by their forecasts and may suffer losses. 'What company management can do is to be more transparent in the disclosure of information so that the analysts can be more accurate in their forecasts.' In addition, he said the exchanges with other programme participants of different backgrounds from different sectors were valuable experiences. 'This was especially true when we prepared our thesis that required intensive work and dedication for a long period of time. We were able to share experiences in the process and offer moral support to each other,' he said. 'Through the programme, I have made some genuine friends and I expect the friendships to be lifelong relationships.'