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Top of the world

In 2013, the Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA (EMBA) Program beat some of the world’s biggest players in business education to be named the top-performing EMBA programme in the world by the Financial Times for the fifth consecutive year. It was also the sixth time that the programme had received the accolade since it was launched 17 years ago.

Professor Kalok Chan, acting dean at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Business School, attributes the programme’s strong showing to two reasons.

Firstly, he says that it combines the best of two of the world’s leading business schools – HKUST Business School in Hong Kong and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in the US. The combined faculty represents some of the top thinkers and business educators in the modern world, providing the best possible executive education that the two regions have to offer.

The programme is also tailored to help senior executives meet the challenges of today’s highly competitive and globalised business world, and provides opportunities for stimulating class discussion and cross-cultural exchange. The senior business leaders who will begin their studies in January as part of the class of 2014 will each have an average of 15 years of work experience, and 60 per cent will hail from outside Hong Kong, Chan says.

This year’s programme will include participants from 22 nationalities, coming from 22 office locations around the world – from New York and Paris to Novosibirsk in Russia and Sulaymaniyah, a city in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. This will provide participants with ample opportunities to share differing perspectives on the challenges facing businesses today.

“Our programme brings together a diverse body of students from around the world to provide an environment that is conducive to cross-cultural exchange and that allows them to better understand the different issues and challenges facing businesses around the world today,” Chan says. “It’s no longer enough for senior executives to just understand the issues that impact the immediate local business environment. In today’s globalised economy, it is essential for them to be aware of global issues.”

The 18-month EMBA is organised into short, but intensive, modules. It incorporates both “live-in” study weeks and weekends on campus to provide maximum flexibility for career-minded professionals seeking to balance academic and work demands.

A victim of its own success, the school has worked continuously to raise the bar in business education for senior executives in Asia and around the world to meet ever-higher expectations, Chan says. To provide an enhanced knowledge foundation, new programme elements this year include a “capstone course” that aims at equipping participants with the analytical tools needed to make CEO-level strategic decisions, as well as new core courses in economics and finance.

This will also be the first year that students will be required to take a global elective to complete their EMBA. These one-week exchange courses – taught at Kellogg School’s other partner institutions in Toronto, Chicago, Miami, Tel Aviv and Vallendar in Germany – provide additional exposure opportunities for programme participants, Chan says.

To encourage even greater diversity, this year the school began offering scholarships to one participant from each of four categories: nongovernmental organisations, emerging markets, entrepreneurs and women. Successful applicants will receive up to 25 per cent of their total tuition fee, Chan says.

Finally, the class of 2014 will also benefit from a new state-ofthe- art learning and research environment in the form of the newly minted Lee Shau Kee Business Building at the HKUST campus in Sai Kung. This will provide enhanced facilities, including lecture theatres with seating for 200 people, multifunctional conference rooms and seminar rooms.

“The best part is that it’s going to provide more space for students to interact and to conduct networking,” Chan says. “It’s also going to make the learning experience that much more convenient now that we have all the programmes and faculties for the HKUST Business School under a single roof.”