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The Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA Program has been ranked no.1 in the world six times during the last nine years

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 August, 2016, 11:43am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 August, 2016, 12:30pm

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Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA program has seen significant changes reshaping the business world since they began the course. Forces like globalisation, new technology, and China’s ever increasing economic power are disrupting established markets and conventional practice. And that has obliged executives in key leadership roles to rethink strategies, redefine marketing models, and review investment priorities on a continuous basis.

“The program must reflect these changes by remaining up to date in terms of electives and offering new courses,” says Professor Tam Kar Yan, dean of the School of Business and Management at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). “We listen to requests from students about topics they want to learn about, such as digital marketing and entrepreneurship, and react accordingly.”  

That is just one reason the Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA program has been ranked no.1 in the world six times during the last nine years, according to the Financial Times. It also explains why each intake attracts a diverse mix of senior executives with an average of 14 years’ work experience. This year’s 55-strong class of graduates included students from 19 nations and 18 office locations; there were employees of multinationals and top regional names, as well as entrepreneurs.   

To meet the demands of this diverse group, the program includes electives in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the North America. To build on essentials like accounting and corporate finance, the various group projects and electives offer scope to explore highly topical areas. These include the move to mobile banking and what it takes to launch a successful start-up.

Future additions will include a new course on big data and business analytics. And any other changes to the curriculum will be designed to be relevant, flexible, and fully in touch with the needs and expectations of the business community and society at large.

“We don’t have a crystal ball, but we can share our insights and understanding,” Dean Tam says. “It is important for senior executives to know about ‘trendy’ topics like e-commerce. The conditions may not exist in their own business yet, but they still need to understand the tech foundations and the economics. That way, they can judge if a trend is just a passing phase, or something that will have a lasting impact.”

Distinguished guest speakers will often add new perspectives to the discussions. But much of the learning comes from talking with classmates about their experiences and hearing different, sometimes conflicting, opinions from peers facing similar challenges in other industries.

“The combined ‘east-meets-west’ strength of the HKUST and Kellogg faculties brings incredible breadth and depth to the classroom,” says Professor Sally Blount, dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in the United States. “Our students enjoy a clear advantage from working collaboratively across continents and schools. From this, they gain experience of global leadership challenges and practices, combined with rich, local expertise.”

Dean Blount notes that the world of business has changed profoundly since the dawn of the new millennium, and traditional forms of economic might, social status, and power no longer hold sway. The rules continue to be rewritten because of forces like globalisation, reduced barriers to market entry, shorter product and idea life cycles, and a seemingly endless flow of data and information.

As a result, senior executives have to contend with an ever-evolving set of challenges and distractions, many of which involve complex problems and brand-new issues. “All of this changes the way we approach management education,” Dean Blount says. “By offering a unique integrated delivery model that gives students the opportunity to study at the best business schools in the world, the Kellogg-HKUST EMBA program has consistently attracted senior executives. It has been a pioneer in the international expansion of management education for close to 20 years.”

During her last visit to Hong Kong, Dean Blount met students from around the world who had come together for a Global Electives Week. The experience illustrated how meaningful peer relationships can be formed very quickly between individuals from different countries, industries, markets, and cultures, with benefits for all concerned.

“In addition, all our graduates can be fully engaged with an alumni network of around 60,000, which now spans the globe,” Dean Blount says.