Career Advice 進修新知

Qualification no use if real skills are lacking

At this time of year, many people ponder their next career move. For enrollees on MBA courses, career advancement is naturally a key motivation. Not all MBA qualifications are marketable, however. One recent report states that only a small fraction of India’s management graduates are “employable” and possess the basic skills necessary to work in sectors such as marketing or finance.

Statistics in Hong Kong, thankfully, are far more reassuring. At the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), 95 per cent of those in its 2012 MBA graduating class seeking employment accepted job offers within three months of graduation. Around 50 per cent of its graduates were employed in Hong Kong, and 88 per cent in Asia-Pacific.

Employment is also not so much of an issue for graduates of the Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA programme – which has been ranked number one in the world for the last three consecutive years by the Financial Times – since the programme requires company sponsorship. Last year’s data showed a 42 per cent increase in the average salary of its graduates from before their enrolment on the course.

A number of graduates benefit from career counselling and recruitment services offered by their course providers. The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), for example, offers training to develop business students’ soft skills. Of its MBA graduating class last year, 95 per cent of those in search of jobs were employed by autumn, with 87 per cent of that group receiving job offers within three months of graduation. Half of its most recent graduating class reported a more than 50 per cent increase in salary compared to before their MBAs, despite the gloomy economic situation worldwide.

The focus that CUHK places on Asia, as is the current trend among business schools, also puts students at an advantage when it comes to securing posts in the region’s burgeoning sectors.

Graduates of the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) MBA programme, which ranked 37th in the Financial Times’ MBA global rankings last year, saw their salaries increase by 121 per cent on average after graduation. More than 90 per cent found employment within three months of graduating. The training that the university offers in the form of company visits, mock interviews, and CV and cover-letter writing is likely to have been of great help.

“Career management services within an MBA are very important as they represent the link back to the real world of employment,” says Mike Hall, acting director of the Career Development Centre at HKU’s Faculty of Business and Economics.

Let’s hope such help and support is not the preserve of those in business training.

Linda Yeung is the Post’s education editor, a veteran journalist who studied in Hong Kong and abroad.