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Peer-group learning drives study success

Henley Business School

The University of Reading’s Henley Business School in Hong Kong accepts applicants for its MBA based on their talent and leadership potential, because it wants students to be able to learn from one another.

“The programme is an intense and rewarding experience,” says Neil Logan, international director of Henley. “It is challenging, stimulating and relevant. In many instances it is life changing.”

One of the programme’s distinct features is its international group of students. “The Henley MBA is a global school. At any one time and across the study period we have more than 3,000 people from more than 112 nationalities studying the programme in 13 different countries worldwide,” Logan says.

The MBA demands exceptionally high levels of interaction and peer-group learning from its students. “For this reason, unlike many other business schools, our students are usually experienced managers,” Logan says. “However, younger managers who demonstrate potential and outstanding achievements are also encouraged to apply, as this can create a class experience that is both diverse and energetic. The classroom experience, where students interact with one another, is highly valued.” 

The programme challenges students to think, rather than just giving them the right answer. “Henley’s person-centred learning style will enable students to analyse how to respond in tough situations and how to work with others. Through self-awareness and self-development activities, students will acquire a resilience that empowers them to act decisively and collaboratively,” Logan says.

Students are encouraged to apply what they learn to their businesses. “Our faculty thrives on real-life research questions and many of them have vast experience in the corporate world. They bring specialist insight to business challenges,” Logan says.

“Faculty members spend a lot of time working on the personal development of managers enrolled on the programme. It goes beyond the transfer of management skill sets because we believe it is the character of the manager and his capability that really determines their ability to lead a business.”

The programme consists of 10 modules and takes three years to complete. The modules are delivered through a mixture of taught workshops, peer-group learning activities, online and individual self-study, and group study. “In the first year students will attend workshops in Britain, followed by workshops in Hong Kong. The rest of the learning is carried out online, providing flexibility for students to manage work, study and personal life,” Logan says.

The programme is linked to an extensive alumni network. “As a member of the Henley MBA programme, students will join the Henley family, which is a far-reaching international alumni network that helps to open doors and provide networking opportunities with past and current programme members. There are more than 30,000 alumni based in more than 140 countries who are frequently in influential positions and happy to help a fellow Henley MBA graduate,” Logan says.

Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree and at least three years of management experience. They are required to submit their certified copies of degree certificates, a CV and ideally one business reference and one academic reference.

Roger Ngo, an MBA student with a pharmaceutical background, says the programme’s group-study learning mode has been very beneficial. “I chose this programme because most fellow students are senior executives. It is a great learning experience to take advice from classmates who are veteran business leaders. I am also very impressed with the leadership training that the programme offers,” he says.

Ngo thinks the programme is able to help students become better entrepreneurs and managers with its focus on personal development and student interaction. “Personal development is incorporated throughout the programme, so this helps students reflect and improve upon their own characteristics. This is important because we are all individuals and being aware of our strengths and weakness helps us become better entrepreneurs and managers,” Ngo says.

He says he is learning a lot from his fellow students. “I have picked up soft skills on how to inspire staff from one of my classmates who is an executive director of a financial institute. I have also picked up skills on how to manage workers’ performances and ways to effectively communicate within a company from a classmate who is a general manager in the manufacturing industry. Listening to them sharing their experiences has led me to become a better entrepreneur,” Ngo says.