[Sponsored Article] The part-time MBA offered by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is designed to be generalist in nature and, as such, applicants tend to fall into two broad categories. So far, some have specialised - perhaps in IT, finance or engineering – but have reached a point in their careers where, in order to advance, they need the all-round know-how to run a department or standalone operation. Others may already have management experience, but want to expand their horizons and keep moving higher. As a result, they see the value of a qualification which develops leaders with the skills, insight and pragmatism to deal with new issues and changing demands. “We strike a good balance between the academic and practical aspects,” says Pamsy Hui, MBA Programme Director and a Senior Teaching Fellow in PolyU’s Department of Management and Marketing. “The aim is to make working professionals aware of global challenges and local concerns, to ensure they understand what people are talking about in the boardroom, and let them make informed decisions.” To that end, the programme begins with a number of core subjects which include accounting, business analytics, the global economy, financial management, ethics, and organisational behaviour & leadership, etc. In the classroom – and outside - students are actively encouraged to share knowledge and experience from their own industries. In this way, they learn from each other, not just from the professors and case studies, and see the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Based on their interests and career needs, they can then pick one of three streams: international business, fashion, or business research. Each includes a choice of relevant electives – for example on investments, omni-channel retailing or research methods – plus elements like a group project or an investigative report on a specific topic or industry. Alternatively, students can mix and match, taking electives from each of the study streams or from another list which includes e-commerce, entrepreneurial finance, risk management, marketing strategy, and supply chain management. One popular option is the overseas field study, of which there are usually two a year. These trips look at business on the ground in other countries and see how companies are capturing new opportunities in different sectors. For instance, a recent trip to Amsterdam focused on sustainable development, an area where the Dutch are ahead of the game. “It was a chance to learn from experts in the field and understand the challenges they face,” Hui says. “Our students saw that it is not all rosy when trying to build a business and make sense of the current situation.” An upcoming tour is planned for Dublin, with a view to learning more about the day-to-day implications of Brexit. “We usually pick locations that are near the centre of big trends or events,” Hui says. “We keep a finger on the pulse and move with the times.” In Hong Kong, students can also attend regular forums and open lectures by leading figures in the business community. These talks cover everything from Asian brands and the digital revolution to workplace well-being and the retail eco-system. And, in doing so, they highlight the range of opportunities now available for professionals who are forward-looking and well prepared. “The MBA programme definitely forced me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to challenge myself continuously,” says 2015 graduate Jessie Tsang, who is Marketing Director of ParticleX, which backs tech-based start-ups. “Seeing how everything comes together in the capstone course gave me a new outlook and transformed my career.” In her second year, she particularly enjoyed the courses on entrepreneurship and leadership. The former involved developing an original idea into a viable business model and pitching it, as if to potential investor. The latter used examples of inspirational speeches from leaders around the world, showing how the power of words and communication techniques in projecting charisma and authority. “You have to understand stakeholders’ feelings if you want to influence audiences and build trust,” Tsang says. For Max Ip, who graduated in 2017, the elective on System Dynamics really stood out. It introduced an approach that considers business systems as relationships rather than independent events, and dealt with archetypes found throughout the business world, such as “lose-lose” price wars, and ways to handle them. “The course provided a framework to help me think differently and see other angles,” says Ip, the Vice-President of Procurement and Administration for Macau-based casino-resort company Pier 16 Management Limited. “Rather than focusing on price, you can add value for customers or, in other situations, avoid direct competition for limited resources.” His general advice for potential PolyU MBA candidates is succinct. “Just get on with it,” he says. “I was worried about the finance courses, but my study group helped me through.” Students usually complete within the standard two years, but can take up to four if necessary. Classes for compulsory subjects generally take place at weekends, while most electives are taught on weekday evenings. The annual intake is 90 students, and learning and networking opportunities for alumni stretch well beyond graduation. Further details about PolyU MBA can found at Website: www.fb.polyu.edu.hk/r/mba Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBofmXYP_fA MBA Forum Tech Innovation for Well-Being: MedTech With an ageing population, increasing attention toward health and well-being, and profound disruption triggered by artificial intelligence, there are many challenges but also opportunities in the healthcare sector. Nevertheless, we are now seeing a phenomenal rise of the MedTech ecosystem. In this MBA Forum, two MedTech entrepreneurs will share their journeys of inspiration and perspiration, and their visions for their organizations and the collective future of the field. Date: 8 March 2019 (Friday) Time: 7:00-8:40 p.m. Venue: M1603, 16/F, Li Ka Shing Tower, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Guest speakers: Mr Reny Ng, Founder & CEO, Visiona MedTech Mr Kow Ping, Director and Founder, Well Being Digital Limited Register online now!