Breaking Boundaries: We attract international students from more than 25 countries that everyone in CityU MBA can learn from each other of various cultures, work backgrounds and ages.

CityU MBA programme utilises experiential learning experiences to break new boundaries

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In a world defined by rapid changes and uncertainty, the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) MBA programme —which places a strong focus on experiential learning experiences — is designed to equip students with the understanding and insightful business nimbleness to lead, inspire and solve complex challenges in the global arena.

Professor Kevin Chiang, Director of the CityU MBA Programme
"We break boundaries," says Professor Kevin Chiang, director of the CityU MBA programme. "Our curriculum stresses practical cutting-edge knowledge with an international perspective," adds Chiang who has led the programme since 2013. Through a broad spectrum of experiential learning courses, Chiang explains how the MBA programme is designed to break boundaries between local and global learning, and between theoretical and practical knowledge.  "Given the complex nature of the global business environment and the needs of today’s business practices, experiential learning or 'learning by doing' enables our students to gain practical experience which they can then apply in real-world situations," he says.  

In contrast to traditional  MBA case studies which have well-defined problems and measurable factors,  the CityU's MBA global experiential learning courses expose students to real-life and real-time decision making, which include a relevant level of built-in uncertainty.  For example, multifaceted experiences cultivate students’ cross-functional and cross-regional problem-solving skills, which are crucial to thrive in a global business environment increasingly under pressure from geopolitical risk, digitalisation and future of work disruption.

To enable students to gain first-hand experiential-based learning experiences, the CityU MBA programme has established a number of collaborative initiatives with pioneering international institutions. These include an Entrepreneurship Workshop in the US, a Global Brand Management Workshop in the UK and an Enterprise Diagnostic Residential Trip in Asia. In collaboration with the Imperial College London — a top 10 globally ranked university — students join a global brand management workshop. Over the past few years, students have worked on projects for iconic brands including luxury car maker Bentley, supermarket chain Tesco, and Edwardian Hotels, where they developed branding strategies for the Asian market.  "Students take part in experimental methods and laboratory-based discoveries to test and transform original ideas into real business propositions," explains Chiang. 

The company projects in UK workshop offer students the opportunities to work with global iconic brands, which helps widen their horizons and perspective.
Meanwhile, a workshop offered in partnership with University of California, Berkeley, in the US, focuses on fostering entrepreneurship. Through seminars and visits to innovative companies such as Autodesk, Ford, Google, Intel, and Salesforce, the workshop enables students to learn from Berkeley faculty and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Students put what they learn into practice by developing comprehensive business plans which they present to venture capitalists for genuine evaluation.  Through the process, they learn the important lesson of how to formulate an idea and communicate the proposal in a succinct way that makes it a viable project for potential investors.

In Asia, meanwhile, students have the chance to take part in a diagnostic residential trip, which provides the opportunity to work as part of a consulting team that helps partnering companies seeking to address business challenges. Depending on the learning need, the hosting companies and the topics of industry-sponsored projects vary from year to year. Working in small groups with their assigned supervisors, students analyse problems, develop solutions and produce a report for the senior management of the host enterprise.  Originally focused on mainland China, as business in the Asia region has become more inter-regional, recent consultative assignments visits have taken place in South Korea, Cambodia and Malaysia.  

Networking and face-to-face meetings with influential business leaders is also a core part of the CityU MBA programme. Along with many senior executives from Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, HSBC, Huawei and Tencent, since its launch in 2016, over 100 notable speakers along with 5000 business professionals have participated in the SHARP Forum (The acronym denotes world-class Software, state-of-the-art Hardware, and well-connected Alumni, global talents Recruitment and career advancing Placement). Highlighting the value of the SHARP Forum, a number of speakers have become the business partners of students who started their own business after graduation from CityU MBA.

Speakers in SHARP Forum: “The Arrival of 5G – A Critical Step towards Smart City Realization” held in April 2019 shared insights on the 5G and IoT Businesses.
As a result of world-wide promotion in recent years, which attracts international students from more than 25 countries, the cohort size ensures a good range of student diversity. "With faculty and students from various cultures, work backgrounds and ages, everyone can learn from each other and network in a way that sets the stage for a successful career," notes Chiang.  Importantly, he adds, the CityU MBA career team works closely with local and international companies to identify career opportunities for students.  

Encouragingly, recent students seeking employment have secured positions within three months of graduation. First and foremost, Chiang emphasises the essential indicator of a successful MBA programme is the career advancement of its graduates.  "Our job is to prepare students for success," says Chiang who stresses the career advancement of graduates not rankings is the primary indicator of a successful MBA programme. However, Chiang believes it is noteworthy as one of the youngest international MBA programmes — propelled by salary uplift and graduate's career progress, — for the first time, the CityU MBA entered the FT’s MBA top-100 in 2020.  According to the FT survey, CityU MBA posted the 7th highest salary increase for graduates in the world (+159%).