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Short-term training aids globe-trotting executives

Published on Friday, 15 Jun 2012
Linda Yeung

MBA or EMBA courses have long been the choice of aspiring professionals eager for management training. Increasingly, top-tier executives too are feeling the need for training, to tackle today's ever-challenging global economic environment. But their way of learning is more flexible and, perhaps at times, impromptu.

Xiang Bing, a founding dean of the Beijing-based Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), calls CEOs and VPs of top multinationals the under-served segment of the business education market. These people often cannot afford extensive programmes. The school responds to their need for China knowledge by offering customised training, some as short as half a day.

The focus of such training is often the global implications of China's rise, which of course encompass a host of issues and can lie behind a company's re-positioning. "China is the largest market for many sectors. For many companies, opportunities in the country represent half of their global growth," says Xiang.

The upcoming CKGSB Global Business Strategy Programme, scheduled for November in London, is an occasion for sharing of key insights. Participants include founders of longstanding companies and the venue is Cambridge Judge Business School.

In all, this underlies a growing trend of training for globe-trotting top executives short of time. They help generate wide-ranging insights vital to business operations, from the impact of China's rise on commodity prices, to the future Brazilian economy, whose growth, as Xiang says, is driven by investment in, and trade with, China.

While most business schools take pride in the study of past business cases, the fresh meetings of top business figures provide an opportunity for generating potentially deep insights. Lessons can always be learned from the past, but an awareness of the latest reality can often help with making the right decisions.

That is what CKGSB - set up a decade ago with the support of the Li Ka-shing Foundation - is seeking to do: bring business figures, some of whom have little understanding of the mainland environment, into contact with Chinese movers and shakers.

CEOs planning to go to China for board meetings sometimes knock on CKGSB's door asking for one-day training, while law, asset management and other business firms have attended its short-term executive education programmes. Xiang describes their offerings as unique, but other business schools must be prepared to do the same for the heads of the many struggling enterprises out there.

Linda Yeung is the Post’s Education Editor, a veteran journalist who studied in Hong Kong and abroad

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