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International minds need cultural insights

MA in Global Business Management

Hong Kong’s economy relies heavily on international business. To prepare local students with relevant knowledge of the global economy, the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) offers a Master of Arts in Global Business Management degree, which specialises in providing a solid grounding in global business management and multinational strategies.

According to programme director Dr Reuben Mondejar, the course aims to equip students with the skills needed to keep up to date with trends in global trade and commerce.

“Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be competent in the global dimensions of key business functions, especially in having an integrated understanding of finance, economics, geopolitics and, most importantly, their roles as managers across cultural boundaries,” he says.

The course is suitable for professionals looking to take their careers in new directions. It helps students learn the skills required to conduct business successfully across political, economic and cultural boundaries, and become highly competent in integrating the global dimensions of key business functions.

“In order to achieve a high level of student-staff interaction, we admit only about 40 students each year. We attract high-quality students, most of whom have full-time jobs in reputable commercial, industrial and governmental organisations, with some holding senior and executive-level positions,” Mondejar says.

“We have students who are looking to expand their business in an existing field, or trying to venture into a new field. There are also students who want to prepare for high-level jobs in their companies. Some are responsible for handling international business, but have not received formal training. They want to consolidate their business experience with academic theories.”

Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree with second-class honours and at least two years of work experience. Those with more than three years of managerial experience in international business, or with two years of managerial experience and a first-class degree in business or a related discipline, will have an advantage.

Philipp Spenger has a master’s degree in law from the University of Vienna in Austria and has worked for business law firms in Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York. He is now studying the MA programme full time.

“I have a legal background and I was working in the banking sector, which I greatly enjoyed. I sought to enhance my practical experience with a profound business education so that I could excel in the sector. Hong Kong was my first choice for pursuing postgraduate education given my previous experience here and the rising status of Asia,” he says.

“The MA programme is actually quite unique in Hong Kong because it is very close to an MBA course and covers all the topics one needs to consider when working in a multinational company.”

Spenger gained detailed knowledge about finance, accounting and different business cultures. “The programme focuses on cultural differences and how to manage and negotiate with people from other cultures. We can then apply that theoretical knowledge to the many group projects we do straight away. Now, when examining business issues, I do not just consider legal and business-related aspects, as I have become more aware of the ways that people from different cultures are doing business.”

Spenger says that the MA is equipping him with all the knowledge he needs to pursue an international career. “Looking back at the first semester, accounting was definitely the most useful course, since it was a totally new subject for me and is relevant to almost every business area. I am also greatly enjoying courses on financial management and accounting because the course instructors present their topics in an interesting manner that encourages participation,” he says.

In classes on international organisational behaviour, Spenger was able to learn theories on cultural differences and put them into practice. “The professor encouraged us to apply our knowledge to an international group project with students from all over the world,” he says.

Spenger advises those who are considering studying the programme to think carefully before applying. “No matter if you are a full-time or a part-time student, the programme will be intense and the learning curve is steep. I want to recommend this programme to everyone who has a non-business degree, but who do not yet have enough work experience to be eligible for an MBA course,” he says.