Programmes can help executives boost careers
As Kelly Ye has shown, it is possible to go a long way in one’s chosen career through a combination of natural ability, on-the-job experience and sheer hard work.
But, as she also discovered, at a certain point the idea of a taking a high-quality executive programme starts to make perfect sense, as a way of filling in gaps and preparing to face the testing new challenges bound to materialise in the years ahead.
“Previously, I never received a formal business education, but learned about sales, marketing, finance and management in the various positions I’ve held along the way,” says Ye, who is based in Seoul as Korea area manager of publishing firm Oxford University Press. “But after becoming a country manager, I started to feel the need for a broader range of functional and managerial skills in order to perform better and move forward to the next stage of my career journey.”
She then conducted careful research into the options available in Asia and the United States, consulting programme officers and alumni. However, the Kellogg-HKUST EMBA stood out for a number of reasons.
It presented the chance to study alongside senior executives from around the world and build a network of international contacts. The basic timetable made it possible to balance weekend classes with current job responsibilities. And the choice of electives offered the chance to pick from courses taught on seven different campuses.
“I expect to gain the insights to make better decisions and devise strategies which bring better outcomes,” says Ye, who originally graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. “I’m also looking forward to learning how to lead high-impact teams and manage bigger groups of people.”
She notes too that in any business operation, the “questioning process” is essential. In that respect, the chance to analyse complex case studies from different sectors should prove invaluable.
“It will be exciting to share ideas and compare practices with executives who may have similar issues and agendas in their respective industries,” Ye says. “Over the next 18 months, time management and travelling will certainly be a challenge, but I have the support and understanding of my employer who encourages professional learning and development.”
As this year’s recipient of the EMBA programme’s Scholarship for Women, Ye sees the award as a spur to achieve more and, if possible, to inspire others.
“Unfortunately, it’s still the case that very few women reach top management positions,” she says. “I’d like to be seen as a successful female executive who influences employees through excellent leadership and has an impact on young professionals.”