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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Hong Kong Polytechnic University addresses the challenge for today’s MBA programmes

PolyU has worked to benchmark its MBA structure, content, and teaching approaches against other programmes to avoid being stagnant.

A master’s degree in business administration or an MBA has been increasingly valuable in international business and financial hubs such as Hong Kong. MBA programmes aren’t necessarily the same however, with certain universities such as The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) standing out due to its unique and practical curriculum. According to Dr Mak Wai-ming, MBA Programme Director at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, PolyU’s MBA programme is one-of-a-kind as it is aimed at nurturing leaders with practical wisdom.

Dr Mak says the university not only equips its students with theories and facts about business management, but it also produces graduates with high-level and all-around management and leadership skills that are applicable to organisations and operations of different natures. Dr Mak adds PolyU regularly reviews and improves its MBA curriculum to allow students to gain fresh and relevant management techniques and knowledge. “For example, our programme incorporates system dynamics that train students to tackle a challenge by viewing it as an element within an overall system,” Dr Mak says.

Extensive networking programme
Field Study is one subject popular with students of PolyU’s MBA programme, where the university arranges two field trips each year. “In 2016, we’ve been to Frankfurt and Perth. Our students visited renowned corporations and gained management insights from different parts of the world,” says Dr Mak. Additionally, Dr Mak stresses that networking also constitutes an important part of PolyU’s MBA. “Our students and alumni share experience, expertise and ideas with each other, thereby building up friendship through a wide variety of events and activities including dinners, outings, workshops and forums,” Dr Mak says.

Among PolyU’s recent MBA networking activities include its Social Innovation Seminar 2015, MBA Alumni Association Oyster Shucking and Wine Pairing Workshop, its MBAAA hiking team x ORBIS walk for Sight 2015, and its “The Art of War on Leadership” lecture. Meanwhile, PolyU’s networking programme doesn’t end when the student graduates. The university has its PolyU MBA Alumni Association and is set up as a platform for its MBA students and alumni to connect with each other. “The platform is to add to, to compliment and to strengthen our students’ and alumni existing ones in private, social and professional life,” Dr Mak says.

Constantly innovating
The challenge for today’s MBA programmes is avoiding being stagnant, and Dr Mak says PolyU has held this problem in check. Over the past few years, PolyU has worked to further improve its MBA, benchmarking its structure, content, and teaching approaches against the best programmes in the world. “We aim to enhance students’ leadership skills, develop their capacity to bridge theory and practice, and provide them with a strong professional network,” Dr Mak says.

PolyU’s students can also expect a load of innovative and extensive workshops. “From 2016/17 intake, the “MBA Investigative Report” will be changed from a compulsory subject to an elective. By reducing the number of compulsory credits and leave more credits for electives, students may choose the electives according to their needs and interests.” While other MBA programmes only equip students with quantitative skills while producing ‘number-crunchers’ without a real feel for business and people, Dr Mak says PolyU’s graduates are trained as practical thinkers who are ready to contribute to their organisations when they graduate.

Excellence has always been the name of the game for PolyU. For instance, its Faculty of Business has made remarkable progress in the last few years. “QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 show that PolyU’s Business and Management Studies ranks 39th in the world,” Dr Mak says. “Starting from 2015/16 intake, a new Leadership Development Programme delivered by practitioners and DBA alumni was introduced to the MBA programme, it aims to bring cutting-edge leadership skills to the students.”

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