Past and present students of the Chinese University (CUHK) say they believe studying for an MBA is key to developing their careers. Carolynn Meeker, who joined the MBA programme last year, says that given the mainland's increasing economic importance, she felt a school with a focus on China was a must. 'Business leaders need a global framework and the ability to work cross-culturally,' says Meeker, who is due to graduate this summer. 'For these reasons I wanted to pursue my MBA at an institution that focuses on China business and research.' The quality of the mentorship programme, where students are matched to an elite alumni based on their career goals and field of interest, is particularly helpful to Meeker who wants to return to the United States after graduation and conduct business internationally. 'My mentor's company has manufacturing operations in China and throughout Asia, and partners with global brands primarily based in the US,' she says. 'This sort of personal connection and opportunity to learn from a business leader is the great strength of the programme.' Morden Chen, who graduated in January 2008, says it helped to broaden his marketing horizons. 'CUMBA has lots of connections with China-based higher education institutions, such as Tsinghua University, and lots of courses are taught by mainland teachers who understand the country best,' he says. 'Also, some of the professors' research interests are focused on China. We learned a lot that we couldn't from professors without that expertise.' While the MBA's international perspective and rigorous instruction lived up to Chen's expectations, the friendships he made with other students also proved important. 'I was exposed to a group of talented people in my class, as well as students from other schools in Hong Kong,' Chen says. 'This network has given me a good source of information and an insider's view when choosing a job or making a career switch. I also found that there's a great alumni base in the venture capital/private equity industries [mostly based in Beijing].' Meeker agrees that the diverse student body is a plus. 'There are students from 18 countries in the class of 2011,' she says. 'Working in culturally diverse groups provides opportunities to learn about other cultures and to develop our communication skills.' After he finished, Chen found the career centre had some perfect connections. 'I was offered the opportunity to interview with Google China and Microsoft China, my dream companies to work for.'