Business programme takes graduates away from the classroom to real-life situations Graduates of Henley Management College may work in many industries, but one thing that draws them together is the value of Henley's master of business administration (MBA) programme which places practicality over theory, and allows executives to easily translate what they have learned in the classroom into a real-life context. From the structure of the course to its assessment methods and the modules it covers, every component of the Henley MBA is grounded in the practical; a key distinction separating the programme from many other MBAs on the market. The approach, heavy on case studies and practical projects, requires students to apply theoretical understanding to live situations, including corporate scenarios they have encountered in their own companies. This way of learning, said Gina Lai Wai-man, DHL Express financial management manager who graduated in 2006, made the course more demanding than traditional business education, but tremendously useful. 'The exam style focuses on the use of case studies where you have to conduct critical analysis and come up with recommendations. This means familiarity with just theory is not enough,' she said. In the competitive business environment where MBA education is becoming increasingly common, taking such a down-to-earth approach towards honing management skills and business concepts has never been more pertinent. Connie Tang Fung-ming, general manager of DHL Express in Hong Kong who finished her Henley MBA in 2004, said: 'The Henley MBA can give people a broader management perspective by exposing them to different areas of management outside of their area of expertise.' Ms Tang said she was often able to immediately put into practise what she had learned. In one instance, Ms Tang organised a strategic planning workshop for her company's senior management team after she studied strategic analysis. The programme's flexibility is also a huge advantage as it allows busy professionals to adjust the pace of study to their own schedules. 'With our work environment's peaks and troughs, this flexibility really helps as the speed at which you progress is entirely your own,' she said. Ms Tang, who has been promoted twice since the completion of her MBA, believes the programme has also helped with her career progression. Flora Lau Yuk-yin, DHL Express' customer service director who oversees 260 staff in Hong Kong, said that her Henley MBA had an indirect impact on her mobility up the corporate food chain. 'I don't think I would necessarily have been promoted without the MBA,' she said. In today's competitive corporate environment, further education and upgrading your skills were all part and parcel of getting ahead, added Ms Lau, who took up her role in 2006. 'I was able to make better business decisions because I learned to take a more holistic view of business. This I think indirectly contributed to my job promotion,' said Ms Lau, who used to be a customer service manager. She also found the diversity of the student intake refreshing as it gave her the opportunity to learn from a spectrum of people across a wide range of industries.