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Open to anyone keen on finance

Master of Financial Services
Open University of Hong Kong

For students who are busy with work but want to upgrade their skills, the distant learning programmes of the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) - which allow you to work at your own pace - may be a solution.

The master of financial services provides broad, intensive and practical knowledge for business or business-related degree holders who wish to pursue careers or advance their development in the financial services industry.

Programme leader Dr Nigel Leung says that most students on the course are middle to upper managers with at least three to five years of work experience. "They do not necessarily come from a finance working background. Some study out of personal interest - their studying may not be related to work," he says.

The programme is suited to students who are completely new to finance. They needn't have any work experience in the sector.

Key areas of finance - such as corporate finance, investment management, financial innovations and financial planning - are covered. Students also have the opportunity to learn from financial services-related business courses to develop a capacity for critical analysis in issues related to the financial services industry.

"Time management can be tough. You have to be self-disciplined and make sure you have the time to study before applying," says Leung.

The programme is imparted mainly through self-learning (above). "Mostly the learning is via reading and activities such as self-testing. There is a proposed schedule for students to follow, so they have an idea of how they should be progressing," Leung says.

Reading material plays a key role. If students are unsure whether the mode is suited to them, they can preview the material before applying. Course texts are available from public libraries in Hong Kong.

Leung notes that the course stresses a balance between theory and practice - meaning that, for every course, there are sessions where tutors and students meet to discuss case studies as a group.

"We stress the practical application of knowledge and encourage students to apply the theories they have learned to real life scenarios," he says.

As this is a distant-learning programme and tutors and students spend little time together, there's an online platform through which students can submit assignments and communicate with their tutors.

Applicants should hold a degree in business or a business-related area from a recognised university. Degree holders from non-business related areas, with at least three years of managerial experience, are also welcomed.