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Vital insight on banking world

The Citibank University Banking Course was first introduced in 1998 at National Taiwan University. In Hong Kong, the programme was launched at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) in 2004, with the objectives of introducing students in higher education to the fundamentals of finance and banking, and boosting future leaders' understanding of financial issues.

During the three-month programme, students attend 13 classroom lectures - all delivered by senior bankers from Citi Hong Kong. These lectures provide participants with an inclusive understanding of today's banking operations and practices.

This year, 46 HKU students received certificates for successfully completing the course. Four were presented with the "Outstanding Achievement Award", entitling them to internships this summer.

"One of the objectives of the course is to help students better understand the role and responsibilities of the key business functions at a bank, and what working with these functions entails," says Wayne Fong, head of corporate affairs at Citi Hong Kong. "We believe that with a clearer understanding of the various career options available, students will be able to make better and more informed career decisions, regardless of the bank they are planning to join."

Fong says all the senior bankers who deliver the lectures are business heads who have contributed to the bank's overall performance. "Their track record, and the real case studies that they are able to share with the students, are what make the curriculum relevant," he says.

The University of Hong Kong - Citibank University Banking Course is one of the many enrichment programmes offered at HKU's faculty of business and economics. "The faculty has collaborated with the corporate world on a wide range of initiatives," says Dr Sammy Fung, assistant dean (undergraduate) at the faculty. "We look for companies dedicated to developing students' potential and offering eye-opening and out-of-class learning opportunities.

"Some of the enrichment programmes are bundled with internship offers, like the Citibank University Banking Course. Through this kind of exposure, students gain practical knowledge and experience before entering the real business world."

Content design is primarily based on the bankers' real-life experience and expertise. Case studies are highlights, offering students a chance to come up with ideas and solutions as if they were in the banking world. The programme includes a visit to Citibank's flagship Mong Kok branch, where students receive an overview of key aspects of branch operations.

Students' performance is appraised based on their attendance rates, class participation, a mid-term test and a final group project judged by faculty teachers and Citibank bankers. "I am deeply encouraged by the students' innovative spirit, as evident in their final group presentations," says Weber Lo, Citi country officer and CEO for Hong Kong and Macau. "It is important that they continue to apply that spirit in everything they do."