A Global Classroom

By Nikki Park


As one of the top-ranked business programs in Asia, The Chinese University of Hong

Kong’s (CUHK) EMBA program is leading the transformation in business education. Centered on its vision to meet the needs of Hong Kong, the mainland and the world, the program constantly incorporates new elements and challenges students to imagine, inspire and innovate.

“We follow CUHK’s global mission to combine tradition with modernity, and to bring together China and the West,” says Professor Andrew Chan, Director of the EMBA program. “We keep on being innovative to keep pace with the dynamics of the marketplace and maintain our ability to nurture top-notch management talents.”

Staying current and flexible

As an independently run program, the program boasts high flexibility. It enjoys autonomy in many aspects, for instance, from selection of faculty to offering of new courses to back up the theoretical and practical foundation. Its ability to project and adapt quickly to changes of the world gives the program its competitive edge, enabling students to stay current, project future needs and continue to be innovative.

To maintain its edge, Chan believes students have to be on the frontier. “They have to be constantly thinking and adapting to the new dimensions of the world. That is the reason why we constantly organize global trips, offer international courses at renowned universities, and incorporate the rich range of learning activities.”

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Global Study Trips organized each year as a part of the program aim to expose students to different national environments and business operations so as to develop a global perspective and interact with senior executives in different parts of the world. On past trips, students have visited major companies in Sweden, studied at the University of Oxford and undertaken field studies in Germany, the US and Netherlands.

As the world is gradually forming tighter economic and financial bonds, the director believes the significance of the overseas experience cannot be overemphasized.

“As we are located in Hong Kong, our regional experiences, networks and knowledge about oriental culture may be deep. However, students as potential global leaders have to develop and experience something further.”

Bridging China and the world

As the economic shift from west to east is evident, the EMBA program places no less of an emphasis on Asia. The program is optimized to take advantage of Hong Kong’s fortuitous positioning – situated right on China’s doorstep, the city now serves as a global hub for business markets.

“Location is one of our greatest assets. When we face China, we have the international benefit or background. When we face the global business sectors, on the other hand, we have the whole China as our hinter­land,” Chan explains.

“Each of our students should then act as a linking pin – a great adaptor bridging Hong Kong, the mainland and the world. Our program strives to train their ability to understand and play that role successfully.”

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The educational partnership with Beijing University and National Taiwan University is one of the emphases that cultivate such regional understanding. In the “Greater China EMBA Elite Study Week” program, the three top EMBA programs take turn to organize a study week in their home regions. Students are then required to complete their projects in teams and develop an understanding of differences in culture and business styles.

The program strategically provides a platform for students to immerse themselves in different business settings and utilize the opportunity to build networks in that location. It places its emphasis on real contacts as each region has different experiences and approaches in the development of history, culture and businesses.

“Our partnership will train students to directly experience such differences and prepare them to catch the future pulsation. We expect them to build joint ventures or facilitate trade and cooperation all around the globe,” Chan says.

Theories and practices

In developing innovative courses, the program will continue to place strong emphasis on integrating theory with practice and building up its competitive EMBA network, both internal and external. In such attempt, the program aims to enrich its syllabus considerably by providing more opportunities for students and alumni to share insights from business leaders.

“Theories without practicality are of no use. Big data, social enterprise, innovation, leadership, investment – all of these words would not be fully consumed if only taught inside a classroom,”

Chan stresses. “We have to provide students with opportunities to do research, develop forums, take questions, argue and talk to key people.”

The EMBA program has co-organized with RTHK the “Talking to CEOs” and the “New Thinking in Management” series. Distinguished leaders, academics and government officials are invited to these programs to share their experience and insights with the alumni and students. The most recent series of “Talking to CEOs” featured Michael Tien, Chairman of clothing chain G2000 Group and Coils Lam, Chairman and Managing Director of CEC International Holdings which operates the popular 759 shops all over Hong Kong amongst others.

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Case study development is another focus the program offers. To enhance relevancy and practicality for quality teaching, the program partners with its faculty members to develop advanced case studies on different business management and strategies.

Programs like those help equip the EMBA students with a competitive and solid foundation in the field. The school looks for students who can exploit such opportunities to the fullest.

“That is why we want students with potential: potential to catch the opportunities we offer, to be engaged and eventually to thrive as full-fledged leaders not only in multi-business settings but also in NGOs, social enterprises and world governments,” stresses Chan.

“In the end, we want them to add value to our society. We want people to benefit from their existence in the world.”

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