Hubert Chan Chung-yee, chairman of HKC International Holdings, is well aware of the need to keep abreast of the latest business trends. Three years ago Dr Chan, who is also chairman of the Communications Association of Hong Kong, enrolled in PolyU's Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programme to better equip himself for the challenges to come. 'I wanted to continue the momentum I had built up after I received my EMBA and I also wanted to enhance my theoretical knowledge and abilities. PolyU's DBA programme was already famous and, after speaking to several references, it was clear the programme was one of high standards,' said Dr Chan, whose listed company is involved in the personal communications field, business phone systems and radio frequency identification systems for logistics and libraries. 'It proved to be a good move as I found the curriculum to be deeply inspiring and challenging, particularly on the thesis requirements.' As a 'scholar-practitioner', he found that the programme exceeded his expectations. Citing the research portion of the course to be of the utmost interest and importance, he found the programme's approach to be creative and meticulous. Whenever an industrial, commercial or social phenomenon was encountered anywhere in the world, the students were encouraged to theorise, undergo empirical validation and forecast future trends. 'This might sound strange, but you actually learn more than enough,' he said. 'The research processes are training tools which teach you how to analyse issues from various perspectives and then how to effectively apply solutions. 'I can tell you from experience that you always end up meeting your objectives and, more often than not, exceed them.' He found PolyU's extensive resources to be updated and relevant to today's business environment. During his thesis research in the field of information and communication technology, he found the topics to be comprehensive, often covering aspects he had not previously considered, such as cost disciplines, psychology and alternate marketing strategies. In-depth study was also essential, especially in reference to research gaps. It was not uncommon for him to spend time researching a new theory or concept before stumbling on similar work being done by someone else around the world, which meant he had to start over again. While laborious and at times frustrating, it was an exercise in patience and perseverance. 'You are asked upfront if you have the time to commit yourself wholeheartedly to the programme. Discipline is an absolute necessity, as is a sincere comprehension of your own motivation for wanting to pursue a DBA.' Dr Chan said understanding if your drive was extrinsic or intrinsic was a vital part in ascertaining how far you would devote yourself to the programme, which would subsequently determine what you got out of it. 'But for those ready to embrace the programme enthusiastically, you will find that, ultimately, you learn how to create and validate knowledge, which will make you a true leader and pioneer, regardless of your field,' he said.