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East meets West to give perspective on business

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The Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA (EMBA) programme is a remarkable management programme jointly offered by two outstanding schools: the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in the US and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s (HKUST) School of Business and Management. The partnership spans two continents and draws on exceptional faculty members from around the globe.

The programme has been consistently ranked in the world’s top 10 by the Financial Times since debuting on the newspaper’s annual EMBA rankings in 2003. It was ranked number one in the world for three years in a row from 2009 to 2011.

Professor Vidhan Goyal, academic director of the Kellogg-HKUST EMBA programme, thinks the distinguishing feature of the programme is the global network of partnerships that Kellogg has with premier business schools around the world. “With talented fellow executives and faculty members from every corner of the globe, participants will be able to build profound and dynamic personal networks that will last a lifetime. It is an enriching journey, distinguished by fresh insights and valuable networks,” he says.

The programme provides the unique opportunity to take courses with students from other partner schools during international live-in weeks. “Participants can take up to two optional global electives at Kellogg partner schools in Tel Aviv [Israel], Vallendar [Germany], Toronto [Canada] and Miami [USA],” Goyal says.

“We are witnessing massive disruption in businesses because of rapid technological changes and increasing globalisation. It is critical for business leaders to develop a global understanding of management. The leaders of tomorrow not only require strong and effective functional and managerial skills, they also need a global understanding of issues, and a strong international network they can rely upon.”

The 18-month, part-time programme is tailor-made for senior executives in Asia who have attained positions of leadership in their organisations. Participants come from a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, finance, technology, property, transportation, energy and non-profit organisations. On average they are 37 years old with 14 years’ work experience. “Students’ richly diverse backgrounds and nationalities create the experience and the network that makes up our ‘world class’,” Goyal says.

The programme provides an unparalleled education taught by a world-renowned faculty consisting of internationally acclaimed scholars, researchers, and consultants. “It emphasises teamwork and cross-cultural collaboration, and is built on a solid general-management core which informs strategic decision-making in every aspect of the business. In short, the programme is grounded in academic excellence, team leadership and the power of diversity,” Goyal says.

Participants meet for two weekends each month on the HKUST campus. They are required to complete 28 courses to graduate, with each course requiring 15 contact hours. The application period runs from June 1 to September 30, while classes commence in January.

Methods of assessment, including examinations, individual assignments and group projects, vary according to the needs of individual courses.

Every so often lectures are given by highly successful leaders from a wide array of backgrounds and industries that support the academic theories learnt in practical applications. Honourable guests who have been invited in recent years to speak include Anson Chan, the former chief secretary for administration, and William Fung, executive deputy chairman of Li & Fung.

Applicants need to have a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university or approved institution and at least 10 years of work experience. In addition, candidates should be able to demonstrate that their sponsor organisations consider them to have outstanding potential and that they are holding, or will soon hold, positions of executive responsibility that make the programme of value in furthering their career. They also need to show they have both the time and the motivation to make the commitment to attend classes and prepare assignments.

Evangeline Wu, global account manager, Cisco Systems, who graduated from the programme this year, decided to take an EMBA to widen her horizons. “Before I took up the course, I had been working on my supply-chain job for 12 years and I felt a little lost with my career. I wanted to look for new directions and widen my network,” she says.

She explains that the programme has given her a whole new view on business operations. “I was taught about game theory and competitive strategies. These led me to think about problems in business operations from various new angles. I am now able to think deeper about problems and this is helping me achieve my career goal of being in general management,” she says.

During the course, Wu was able to meet students from around the world and learn a lot from them. “I got to know people from other industries who I now really cherish. I advise students to stay open-minded and try to learn from classmates who come from diverse backgrounds,” she says.

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