Career Advice Higher Learning

Net gains for HKU's MSc students

All executives face the same fundamental challenge: how to deal with the changes and capitalise on the opportunities brought by the internet and all it entails. The impact is immense, involving everything from network security and social media marketing to e-business platforms, digital innovation and cloud computing.

With so much happening, keeping up can be difficult. Not doing so is just not an option.

"Basically, the whole world has changed quite dramatically," says Paul Cheung, professor in electrical and electronic engineering at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). "Executives accept the need to adapt their businesses to the advance of technology. What they don't know is how to do it."

That probably explains the popularity of HKU's Master of Science (MSc) in Electronic Commerce and Internet Computing. Introduced in 1999 as the first of its kind in Asia, the programme is designed to meet the needs of businesses operating in a fast-evolving environment.

Modules are reviewed, updated and, if needed, replaced every year. This ensures students gain an understanding of core technologies, trends, concepts, risks and key ethical issues. The courses are taught by academics, practitioners and consultants.

"The internet - and all the technology around it - is changing the way everyone does business," Cheung says. "You have to understand how the world is moving, what is happening in your sector, and what your competitors are doing."

The MSc typically attracts investment bankers, marketers, telecom executives, lawyers, media professionals, and even doctors who can see the relevance of core topics such as website engineering, e-commerce technologies, and the legal aspects of IT. Students can choose from electives such as electronic payment systems, Web 2.0 strategy, e-financial services, digital forensics, technology convergence and e-marketing.

It can be finished in one year full time and two years part time.

"We want to equip people with an understanding of the necessary technology and the insight for its appropriate use, so they can channel or steer their businesses in the right direction," Cheung says.