The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has launched a scheme to help local people impacted by Covid-19 reshape their careers through studying for an MBA.
Under the university’s ‘Fuel for Hong Kong’ Study Allowance Scheme, five residents will be given HK$250,000 each towards the cost of enrolling on its Full-time MBA programme, with exceptional candidates awarded full tuition coverage.
Professor Tai-Yuan Chen, Associate Dean of the School of Business and Management and MBA Program Director, explains: “As a higher education institution, we have a social responsibility to help the community. We want to support Hong Kong residents working in industries impacted by Covid-19 who want to reposition their careers.”
The scheme is open to people with a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of full-time work experience, who have been made redundant or been redeployed due to company reorganisation.
HKUST’s MBA is consistently the highest ranked in Asia, making it into the top 20 in the Financial Times Global MBA Rankings for 13 consecutive years and it is a great launch pad for people looking to reshape their careers
Professor Chen points out that one aspect that sets the university’s programme apart from other MBAs is that it not only teaches conventional business knowledge, but its curriculum also includes a significant technology component to help give graduates an edge when they search for jobs.
He explains that with data playing an increasingly important role in decision-making, future business leaders will need to be up to speed with developments in data analytics.
As a result, the programme kicks off with three accelerator courses in accounting, data analysis and Python programming.
Professor Chen says: “Our philosophy is that we want to provide the best quality and most relevant education to enable our students to become future business leaders.”
Another factor distinguishing HKUST’s MBA is that it is designed to enable students to customise their learning according to their individual career aspirations, making it one of the most flexible programmes in Asia. As a result, students looking to make a career change can ensure they acquire the exact skills and knowledge they need for their chosen path.
After taking seven core subjects, which include financial accounting, corporate finance and operations management, to provide them with a foundation of business knowledge, students are able to select six flexible core subjects and up to nine electives from more than 60 options.
The flexible cores and options are designed to offers five distinct career paths in the areas of business technology and analytics, consulting and strategic management, finance, general management, and marketing.
“We chose these because they represent the most popular career tracks in Hong Kong. Our data also show that most of our graduates find jobs in these areas, and we want to meet the industry’s needs, both in Hong Kong and outside of it,” Professor Chen says.
The focus on customisation does not end with the course options, and the Business School also assigns each MBA student both a dedicated academic advisor to help them individualise their study plan, and a dedicated career advisor. These advisors really come into their own for students who are reshaping their careers after being impacted by Covid-19, as they not only assist them in identifying the skills they need to acquire to pursue their target career, but they also help them find a job when they graduate.
Students are also connected with external career coaches and industry experts from consultancy companies and banks to provide them with additional information about getting into their chosen career field.
The extensive support MBA students received in this area is reflected in the fact that they have a 91% placement rate three months after graduation.
Alongside academic teaching, the Business School also puts a high emphasis on practical learning, offering students credit-bearing internships, industry training and workshops run by industry experts in areas such as private equity or venture capital.
In addition, the Business School regularly invites senior MBA alumni to share their industry knowledge with students and provide insights into the skills they will need to work in specific sectors.
“Students who want to be successful business leaders cannot just stay in the classroom. They need to apply what they learn in real life,” Professor Chen says.
This philosophy is also reflected in the Business School’s own faculty, some of whom have academic and research backgrounds, while others have industry experience.
HKUST prides itself on having a global outlook, and the Business School itself is highly international, with around 95% of its Full-time MBA students coming from outside of Hong Kong, with any one in-take typically having 20 different nationalities represented in it, while its faculty come from 25 different countries.
Professor Chen explains that having such a broad international mix of people helps to encourage students to develop a global perspective.
“Hong Kong is an international finance centre. The world is becoming very flat. There are a lot of interconnections between different countries and international trade is growing. We want our students to not only focus on the local market but also have a global perspective,” he says.
The university’s success in developing this global mindset is reflected in the fact that the business school’s 5,000 alumni are currently working in more than 60 different countries around the world.
“We hope they will be global citizens who offer sustainable leadership and care about their social responsibility,” Professor Chen says.