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MBA Alumni Story: Alvin So (MBA 2016)

Building on Experience Alvin So had been building solid technical experience in research and development in the US and China, when five years into his job he decided to quit and do an MBA in Hong Kong. Alvin had a truly international upbringing. Born in the US to a Hong Kong family, he grew up […]

MBA Alumni Story: Alvin So (MBA 2016)
Alvin So (MBA 2016)

Alvin So (MBA 2016)

Building on Experience

Alvin So had been building solid technical experience in research and development in the US and China, when five years into his job he decided to quit and do an MBA in Hong Kong.

Alvin had a truly international upbringing. Born in the US to a Hong Kong family, he grew up in Taiwan, where his father worked for 20 years. He studied in the US, at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor for a degree in chemical engineering and worked for Procter and Gamble in product research before making the leap and coming to Hong Kong.

“It is a unique place to be in, it’s almost like a double edged sword,” he says of his international upbringing. It made him very adaptable, but at the same time he feels he has no roots anywhere.

“Asking ‘where are you from’ is a good way to connect with people, but if you ask me, be prepared for a long answer,” he quips.

Starting out as an intern at Procter & Gamble, he was offered a full time position as a scientist in 2009 and he quickly rose to the senior scientist position. But after five years on the job, he started wondering about what the next five to 10 years would bring. He realized that his passion lay in launching new products, product equity pricing, and marketing. He foresaw a career in consulting and business development, where he could build on his technical experience.

Coming back to Hong Kong was both a practical and emotional decision. With his grandparents and parents living in Hong Kong and Shanghai respectively, he wanted to “live in Asia, where I’d be happier”, he says.

At the same time, the growing importance of the region on the world scene indicated good opportunities for career development. His father Raymond So, who is an alumnus and strong promoter of CUHK MBA, also encouraged him to apply to CUHK Business School.

On the left: Raymond So (MBA 1981); On the right: Alvin So (MBA 2016)

Alvin So’s father, Raymond So (MBA 1981) (left) and Alvin (right)

“I applied to US schools as well, but I knew and felt this was where I wanted to be and develop my career. Hong Kong is the center of Asia when it comes to business and finance and I could spend about a year really close to my grandparents. It was not a hard decision at all,” he says.

Alvin believes that CUHK Business School stands out with the kind of students they attract. His classmates were academically outstanding and had an easy-going combination of intellect and personality. Interaction between them helped both their IQ and EQ development.

He treasures most his memories of preparing for competitions with his classmates, staying up late on numerous nights to develop the project. Communicating with classmates from all over the world has helped him to understand how to shape the communication according to the personality of the target audience.

His interest in marketing led him to become the director of marketing of the CUHK MBA student-organized Corporate Social Responsibility Conference to quickly discover that it was not an easy job.

Alvin So at the CUHK MBA CSR Conference 2016

Alvin So (3rd from left) at the CUHK MBA CSR Conference 2016 with his teammates

“Even communicating with the designer was not easy, but the experience helps me in my current job, where I have to develop research reports and media documents,” he says.

He benefited most from the course on macroeconomics, with theories brought to life by real-life examples, and applied entrepreneurship, where students consult real-life start-ups and redesign them for a fundraising program.

Alvin says the biggest challenge of the MBA is job hunting, which students have to start almost as soon as they begin classes, with practically no achievements to show yet. He was very fortunate as he met his present employer OC&C Strategy Consultants on a career day, and his background was a sector they covered.

But he advises applicants to know from the start what they want, what industry they want to go into and how to get in. “The time frame is very short. Look into the market of your chosen industry even before you start,” he says. His other advice is to take the opportunity to extend the program to a year and a half and join the valuable overseas exchange program.

He feels fortunate for finding employment with a consulting firm and for being based in Shanghai. Although the working hours are long and work involves a lot of traveling, he enjoys the job and feels settled, until it is time for another five-year plan.

Click here to view Alvin’s story on CUHK MBA Programs Youtube Channel

Fri
28
April
2017
Category
Alumni, News
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CUHK MBA Annual HR Leaders Lunch Forum

Our 2nd Annual HR Leaders Lunch Forum could be the talk of the town this month, with speakers, moderators, guests as well as our MBA students participated in the discussion on one of the hottest topics in HR arena – Gamification. Co-hosted with HR Magazine, this year’s forum was held at The Langham Hotel and […]

CUHK MBA Annual HR Leaders Lunch Forum

Our 2nd Annual HR Leaders Lunch Forum could be the talk of the town this month, with speakers, moderators, guests as well as our MBA students participated in the discussion on one of the hottest topics in HR arena – Gamification. Co-hosted with HR Magazine, this year’s forum was held at The Langham Hotel and received overwhelming interest from senior HR leaders and professionals across industries. Emceed by Michael Au, Professor David Ahlstrom gave us the welcome address, followed by excellent sharing from our guest speakers Van Can Quach, Regional HR Manager, Talent Attraction and Strategic Initiatives at AXA Asia and Sunny Yip, Director at Deloitte Consulting. Their appreciative sharing of relevant experiences and real life cases surely provoked many constructive discussions among the audiences. Special thanks to the guest moderators from Deloitte Consulting, EY, Hutchison E-Commerce, Infosys Consulting, Knorr-Bremse, Mandarin Oriental and our very own CUHK MBA Programs. The facilitation of the table discussions and presentation of findings left everybody wanting even more.

We sincerely thank everybody who joined us and made this forum a success. Your participation gives us encouragement and aspiration to continue being one of the top MBA programs in the world.

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Fri
28
April
2017
Category
Career, News
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I Chose Hong Kong Over The USA For My MBA – Then I Got A Job At Amazon

Media Coverage by BusinessBecause: Eliza Swedberg’s MBA experience at Hong Kong’s CUHK Business School changed her life in more ways than one. After several years working in retail in San Diego, she snubbed top-ranked US business schools and decided to relocate thousands of miles for an MBA in Asia. The CUHK MBA – Asia’s longest-established MBA […]

I Chose Hong Kong Over The USA For My MBA – Then I Got A Job At Amazon
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Eliza graduated with an MBA from CUHK Business School in 2012

Media Coverage by BusinessBecause:

Eliza Swedberg’s MBA experience at Hong Kong’s CUHK Business School changed her life in more ways than one.

After several years working in retail in San Diego, she snubbed top-ranked US business schools and decided to relocate thousands of miles for an MBA in Asia.

The CUHK MBA – Asia’s longest-established MBA program – is ranked among the top 40 best MBA programs in the world by the Financial Times. It offers 12-month and 16-month flexible formats with the opportunity for international exchange.

Eliza chose Melbourne, Australia for her MBA exchange. There, she interned at a leading retail services group, and met her future husband.

After graduation, Eliza returned stateside and landed a top job at Gap in San Francisco. Now, she’s driving customer experience strategy at Amazon.

Would she be where she is today without the CUHK MBA? “No!”

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at CUHK?

I wanted to move to Hong Kong. I’d explored the area a few years earlier and wanted to spend time calling it home. I received an offer from another school in Hong Kong as well, but ultimately went with CUHK because I liked their open application process for international exchange programs.

CUHK is a great school in the Asia-Pacific. It offers a curriculum that I was interested in and an interesting involvement with social responsibility. The school gave me a scholarship and accepted the US financial aid which I needed to fund my education.

Why did you decide against pursuing an MBA program in the US?

I wanted to live abroad. I felt the impact of a fully global experience via study, internships, network and travel would serve me better for my career and personal growth. I would absolutely recommend this approach to anyone interested in an MBA. Living abroad and earning a degree abroad changes your perspective.

How have you profited from the CUHK MBA?

The MBA definitely helped my application for my post-MBA job at Gap, as well as my performance while actually on the job. The leadership, critical thinking and strategic perspective skills I learned continue to impact my personal and professional life. I’ve been able to take on roles where I lead teams and build strategies that impact the company and ultimately our customers.

Now, I’m a manager on a global team for a company that has a vision to change the world. The MBA created a great platform for continued growth.

Would you be where you are today without it?

No! In so many aspects of my life, no! I wouldn’t have had the same career path. I likely wouldn’t have lived in the same cities since then. I wouldn’t have travelled to over 40 counties – or have made so many friends from around the world. I wouldn’t have met my now husband while on my MBA exchange.

Media: BusinessBecause
Section: News/ MBA Hong Kong
Date published: April 20, 2017
Written by Marco De Novellis

Original Post >>

Fri
21
April
2017
Category
Alumni, News
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CUHK MBA Students Prove Their Mettle in International Competition

The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s full-time MBA students took the laurels in the 3rd International Finance Competition.

CUHK MBA Students Prove Their Mettle in International Competition

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The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s full-time MBA students took the laurels in the 3rd International Finance Competition, ahead of 19 other teams of internationally recognized business schools, such as London Business School, Judge (Cambridge), INSEAD, HEC, Saïd (Oxford) and others.

The team of five, including Amy Li, Frankie Wong, Ishan Bhatla, Mukul Phatak and Vedant Chowdhary, was presented with a cheque of € 5,000 after the tough competition, which demanded knowledge, teamwork and stamina.

“It was a great experience and an opportunity for us to learn and network with other participating schools. We were very pleased with our teamwork, as we had to deal with much pressure. We believe that it was a shared goal and our determination that helped us achieve the result that all of us had aimed for,” said Ishan.

Held in Milan, Italy, on March 31 and April 1, 2017, the competition was organized by SDA Bocconi School of Management Finance Club and sponsored by Bain & Company, Edison and UniCredit, to provide outstanding students with an opportunity to build their finance and presentation skills and network with international professionals.

The competition consisted of a finance case study, which required participants to conduct a valuation of an innovative mobility company. The teams were given 3.5 hours to do their analysis and present it to a panel of judges. Four winning teams entered the final round and made a presentation in front of an audience. The organizers wrapped up the competition with a networking event in the evening for all MBA students and professionals.

Wed
19
April
2017
Category
News, Student Life
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Pre-trip Activities for “Spring Special Trip to Osaka”

In April 2017, MBA Office is going to organize “Spring Special Trip to Osaka April 2017”. The aim of this tour is to let students experience Japanese business environment and local traditions with company visits, appreciation of Cherry Blossom, cultural activities and so on. Before the amazing trip, we prepared following pre-trip activities for those […]

Pre-trip Activities for “Spring Special Trip to Osaka”

In April 2017, MBA Office is going to organize “Spring Special Trip to Osaka April 2017”. The aim of this tour is to let students experience Japanese business environment and local traditions with company visits, appreciation of Cherry Blossom, cultural activities and so on.

Before the amazing trip, we prepared following pre-trip activities for those participants to better understand Japanese cultures:

 

Peach Aviation Talk (March  27)

We are honored to have Mr. Victor Chu, Chairman of First Eastern Investment Group, a leading Hong Kong-based international investment firm and a pioneer of private equity investments in China to share about “Peach Aviation – A Story of Contrarian Disruption” with our MBA students. Through his excellent connection, Mr. Chu has kindly arranged a visit to Osaka’s Peach Aviation Head Office for our students cum a sharing session with senior executives to discuss about the company’s management vision and global expansion strategy in our forthcoming trip.

Mr. Chu gave students a very inspiring and interesting history and background leading to the creation of Peach Aviation by First Eastern and ANA. Our students were amused with the insightful sharing by Mr. Chu.

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Basic Japanese Language Class (March 25)

CUHK MBA Japan Club held a Basic Japanese Language Class for those joining the Osaka trip. The club committee taught the members about some basic Japanese like ‘Where is the hotel’, ‘How can I go to the shop’, ‘Where is the restaurant’ and ‘I want to go to the airport’, etc. After the class, students enjoyed the sushi gathering and also communicated with each other in Japanese learned from the class.

Basic-Japanese-Class

Wed
5
April
2017
Category
Career, News
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MBA Alumni Story: Raymond So (MBA 1981)

Strength and Respect Form the Foundations of Leadership To name the most influential Chinese advertising executives in Asia, one should mention Raymond So (MBA 1981). Raymond is an advertising veteran with three decades of experience. He was the Executive Vice President International of J. Walter Thompson and the only Chinese person on its global board […]

MBA Alumni Story: Raymond So (MBA 1981)
Raymond So (MBA 1981)

Raymond So (MBA 1981)

Strength and Respect Form the Foundations of Leadership

To name the most influential Chinese advertising executives in Asia, one should mention Raymond So (MBA 1981). Raymond is an advertising veteran with three decades of experience. He was the Executive Vice President International of J. Walter Thompson and the only Chinese person on its global board of directors. Before retirement, he was the Chairman, Asia Pacific for the fellow multinational industry giant, BBDO Advertising. Besides striving for professional excellence, he tirelessly gives back to the industry by getting involved in numerous industry bodies. This leadership was acknowledged when he was appointed as World Vice Chairman International of the International Advertising Association, the first Chinese person to assume the role. His motto in life, ‘the best gain is to lose’, gives away his secret to success.

Life is Like a Game of Chess: An MBA Takes Raymond off the Beaten Track

With a bachelor’s degree in Social Science, Raymond initially had his heart set on entering the government to change society. Thanks to his teacher’s advice, he applied for a CUHK MBA, which became a turning point of his life. Raymond’s active participation in extra-curricular activities, including being the captain of the debate team and valedictorian of Chung Chi College, made an impression on then MBA Program Director Prof. John Espy. Eventually Raymond was accepted to the city’s sole MBA program at that time after his outstanding interview performance.

Raymond calls the two years of MBA study the most hard-working time of his school life because the content was so novel and eye-opening that it changed his pre-existing mindset and learning style. Tutoring part-time at the university also upped the challenge as he had to juggle between teaching and studying. Raymond remembers there were about 30 students in the MBA class with seven cars. The group made precious memories together as they often explored different places and drove to Shatin for chicken congee.

Decades in Advertising All Starts from a Summer Job

No CUHK MBA student had ever entered advertising before Raymond. And this advertising career fatefully began with a summer job. “In my first MBA summer holiday, I picked up a holiday job left by a senior student. I did data collection at DDB. Perhaps I did quite well. After graduation I received a call from my boss to invite me to join the company full-time. Little did I know it would turn into three decades in advertising.”

Not long after starting out, Raymond knew he would build a life-long career in advertising. The discipline is about understanding the market, which allowed him to put his MBA knowledge into practice. In addition to this, advertising executives need to pitch creative ideas to their clients. Good communication skills are imperative when dealing with both clients and colleagues. For a socialiser like Raymond, it comes as second nature. He started as account executive at DDB. Just four years later he was promoted to Account Director. By his seventh year in the business he was already the Managing Director of J. Walter Thompson Taiwan. His career soared like a rocket.

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Media: Alumni and Corporate Affairs Office, CUHK Business School
Section: Alumni Stories
Date published: Mar 29, 2017

Fri
31
March
2017
Category
Alumni, News
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Artificial Intelligence: This MBA’s Startup Builds Facebook Messenger Chatbots

Gerardo Salandra(MBA 2015) turned down multiple job offers after his graduation and co-founded his own artificial intelligence startup.

Artificial Intelligence: This MBA’s Startup Builds Facebook Messenger Chatbots
Gerardo turned down a job at Google to pursue a career in marketing technology

Gerardo turned down a job at Google to pursue a career in marketing technology

Media Coverage by BusinessBecause:

Gerardo Salandra launched his high-tech startup after an MBA at Hong Kong’s CUHK Business School

Gerardo Salandra is an avid fan of artificial intelligence (AI). He worked at IBM and interned at Google prior to an MBA at Hong Kong’s CUHK Business School. He first spoke to IBM’s supercomputer Watson in 2014.

Now, fresh from his MBA, he’s co-founded his own artificial intelligence startup in Hong Kong. Launched in November 2016, RocketBots develops chatbots for companies so they can automate customer support, sales, and even marketing.

Hong Kong has the highest rate of mobile usage in Asia. Over 50% of its population use Facebook. Crucially, RocketBots’ bots utilize Facebook Messenger as a channel, so people can interact with the bots in the same way that they’d talk to their friends.

Gerardo started pitching his product even before the company had been created. He visited one of Hong Kong’s biggest banks and demoed a voice-enabled bot in front of the entire c-suite. That bank became his first client.

Previously, El Salvador-born Gerardo turned down a full-time job at Google to pursue his passion for marketing technology. He joined fitness app Runtastic in Austria before relocating to Hong Kong for his MBA

While still an MBA student at CUHK, Gerardo’s resume was picked out by one of the school’s elite alumni. Gerardo went on to work for his marketing technology firm. Now, they’re business partners.

How did the idea to start up Rocketbots come about?

Last year, Facebook made a massive announcement that they were going to allow chatbots to be connected to Facebook Messenger. In the past, when you developed a chatbot, you’d spend a lot of money, time and effort making an app for it. But no one is downloading new apps anymore. Now, with Facebook Messenger, there’s a channel you can use to get thousands of people to talk using your technology.

We thought, if we could sell this to brands we’d be huge. Imagine the money they could save in customer support. We started pitching the service before the company even existed! One of the biggest banks in Hong Kong said they were interested. So, we said let’s do it!

What do you hope to achieve?

We want to stop focusing on Hong Kong as a market and expand globally. We’re already in talks with a company in Germany who found us through a Google search. They’re very interested in buying a German bot. We have one German in our team, so it was easy to develop a prototype. We’re also experimenting to put chatbots on Skype, WhatsApp, and Slack.

What challenges do you face?

Our number one priority is finding a way to make this scalable. When you build a bot there’s a lot of customization involved for each client. We’re now building a platform that will allow us to deploy a new bot in a couple of clicks, so that when we have a new client we don’t have to spend two months hard coding the new bot. You get the ground work done quickly, and then train the bot for the specific client. If we don’t manage to do this quickly, I see other companies coming out with similar services.

Wouldn’t people rather speak to people instead?

What we’re seeing through our analysis is that it depends on the specific use cases. In healthcare for example, people are more comfortable mentioning sensitive issues to a bot.

Something we have already enabled is that the bot has what we call a curiosity percentage. If you ask the bot something, and it calculates there’s only 80% chance it’ll get the answer right, it’ll immediately send the answer over to customer support, and their answer will then come back through the bot.

Why is Hong Kong a good destination for MBA entrepreneurs?

Hong Kong is an amazing place to start a business. The infrastructure for entrepreneurs is extraordinary, there’s a lot of money here, and it’s easy to meet investors quickly.

It’s also a small community. Everyone who’s an entrepreneur knows each other, enabling you to build strong partnerships. And it’s an amazing market for testing. Hong Kong is a small homogenous region. If your business works here, you can be sure it will work in other places too.

Would you be where you are today without the CUHK MBA?

I don’t think so. The CUHK MBA was a milestone in my life which opened a lot of doors. I actually turned down a lot of job offers after it.

I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without the CUHK network. It’s honestly everything for this business. When you’re talking to investors and they know you have an MBA, they will meet with you, they will answer your emails. All the clients I’ve got, and all the people I’ve spoken to, are somehow connected to someone I met during the MBA.

 

Media: BusinessBecause
Section: News/ MBA Entrepreneurs
Date published: March 13, 2017
Written by Marco De Novellis

Original Post >>

Wed
15
March
2017
Category
Alumni, News
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CUHK MBA x FMBA Alumni Cocktail in Shenzhen

Co-hosted by the CUHK MBA Programs and the MBA in Finance Program (FMBA), the Alumni Cocktail was successfully held on the evening of March 1, 2017 at the Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen Hotel.

CUHK MBA x FMBA Alumni Cocktail in Shenzhen

Co-hosted by the CUHK MBA Programs and the MBA in Finance Program (FMBA), the Alumni Cocktail was successfully held on the evening of March 1, 2017 at the Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen Hotel. Around 60 MBA and FMBA students, alumni and guests has joined. We are honoured to have Professor Ma Xufei and Mr. Li Tianshu as our guest speakers to share their insights on entrepreneurship, technology and innovation with us.

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Welcome Note by Ms. Stephanie Villemagne, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Director of MBA Programs of the CUHK Business School

Prof-Ma-Xufei@sz

Guest Speaker: Professor MA Xufei, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship of CUHK and Associate Professor of the Department of Management of the CUHK Business School

FMBA-alumnus_Li_Tianshu@sz

Guest Speaker: Mr. LI Tianshu, Leo, FMBA Alumnus; Managing Partner of the Divine Capital Management

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To view more photos, please click here.

Tue
7
March
2017
Category
Alumni, News
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CUHKMBA x IBM – Business Leaders “Shaping” the Future [Talk 2]

The second talk of the Speaker Series is presented by Mr. Barry Chan, Partner, Financial Services Sector, IBM China/Hong Kong Limited on Feb 22 in our MBA town Centre. Mr. Chan has 20+ years of business strategy and transformation consulting experience. He is responsible for multinational banking project engagement with regional deployment across Asia Pacific […]

CUHKMBA x IBM – Business Leaders “Shaping” the Future [Talk 2]

The second talk of the Speaker Series is presented by Mr. Barry Chan, Partner, Financial Services Sector, IBM China/Hong Kong Limited on Feb 22 in our MBA town Centre. Mr. Chan has 20+ years of business strategy and transformation consulting experience. He is responsible for multinational banking project engagement with regional deployment across Asia Pacific leveraging IBM global delivery capabilities. He also has a proven track record in delivering technology led transformation projects to the financial services sector and have been counselling clients on digital banking, business operation and IT strategy.

On the day, Mr. Chan explained what is meant by Cognitive and Cognitive technology and stressed that by “Becoming a Cognitive Business”, organizations needs to converge digital business with a new level of digital (artificial) intelligence to form a new cognitive business model. He also shared examples on how Business leaders of tomorrow’s world are leveraging cognitive to increase competitiveness or to transform their future business model.

If you missed this talk, remember to register for Premium Highlights on: mba.cuhk.edu.hk/IBM

Mr. Barry Chan, Partner, Financial Services Sector, IBM China/Hong Kong Limited

Mr. Barry Chan, Partner, Financial Services Sector, IBM China/Hong Kong Limited

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“Business Leaders Shaping the Future” is a series of speaker events in collaboration with IBM, which will be held throughout the first half of 2017. There will be a total of four talks organized monthly from January onwards. This Speaker Series features distinguished Business and Technology Executives from IBM to share about the most impacting and disrupting technologies that are re-shaping the world, the industries, and how people-device-business interact.

Tue
28
February
2017
Category
News, Student Life
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Harvesting the Ingredients for Success

In an interview with biz.hk, journal of AmCham, Stephanie Villemagne says that business education, l…

Harvesting the Ingredients for Success

biz.hk-interview_2000x1419

Media Coverage by biz.hk, journal of AmCham:

In 2016, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School celebrated the 50th anniversary of its MBA programs. Stephanie Villemagne, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Director of MBA Programs at CUHK Business School, reflects on the trends shaping executive education and shares her plans for the School going forward in an interview with biz.hk, journal of The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Hong Kong.

Known for more than just its MBA programs, CUHK was named the ‘Most innovative university in Hong Kong’ by Thomson Reuters in 2016, having pioneered an impressive number of ‘firsts’ in the fields of entrepreneurship, learning, and business.

As the first business school to launch a Center for Entrepreneurship, CUHK is committed to developing comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculum for its MBA, which it continuously questions and builds upon to keep it current and relevant, says Villemagne.

“We are also the first business school to launch a blended mode of learning for our Part Time MBA, i.e. 50 percent taught online and 50 percent taught face-to-face, which provides a much more flexible and advanced learning process for our students,” she adds.

Industries everywhere are being disrupted by advances in technology: MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have disrupted the world of education; Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are disrupting the way we learn, live and work; social media has disrupted the way we communicate.

Villemagne believes that business education, like all others, must adapt to stay relevant to their stakeholders (students, faculty, companies, etc.) Likewise, the definition of a good business leader is also evolving. “In the ‘New economy,’ our society needs people who can innovate, create, and disrupt,” she explains. “That means schools are responsible for promoting innovation and technology, as well as critical thinking and creativity, to help the next generation adapt to this new context.”

Under her stewardship, Villemagne intends to bring several plans to fruition, starting with a curriculum review in early 2017 to ensure the MBA program’s continuing relevance to students and recruiters.

The School will also work towards the official launch of its blended learning MBA in 2018. “This is already an option that our current students can take but we hope to have it as a full-fledged standalone program by then,” she says.

Finally, the School plans to launch a new Master in Management program targeted at pre-experience students wanting to enter a management position rapidly. “It will be very innovative in its approach and content, and will allow students to understand the uncertainty of the world we live in and apply their learning to solve complex business problems,” she explains.

To those considering an international business education, Villemagne suggests that location is nearly as important as the quality of the course itself, a consideration which may surprise some people.

“Location, location, location – people should look for a location with vibrancy, cultural dynamism, action and energy. Hong Kong has all these and much more,” she says…

Read Full Article

 

 

Media: biz.hk, journal of AmCham HK
Section: Education
Date published: Feb 2, 2017

Mon
27
February
2017
Category
News, Other
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The CUHK MBA gives you the leadership skills you need to thrive in finance

In an interview with eFinancialCareers, Prof. Noorein Inamdar says that “banking is a competitive in…

The CUHK MBA gives you the leadership skills you need to thrive in finance

Media Coverage by eFinancialCareers:

“Banking is a competitive industry which attracts very talented people, but it’s lacking in leadership skills because its leaders are often hyper-focused on their work and don’t spend the time and effort needed to become more self-aware,” says Dr Noorein Inamdar, an Associate Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Inamdar, who teaches the leadership development course in CUHK’s MBA programme, says banking is facing a “leadership crisis”. And she’s determined to get that message across to her students, many of whom are in management roles in the finance sector or aspire to be in the future.

She begins the course by quoting some “shocking statistics” from a 2016 Harvard Business Review article: 82% of people don’t trust their boss and more than 50% of employees quit their jobs because of their managers.

“There’s a global shortage of competent leadership, including in the banking sector. I make it very clear from the start that MBA students need to take leadership development seriously if they want to progress in their careers,” says Inamdar.

She then does some leadership myth-busting. “Some students think leadership ability is set in stone and consists of a pre-defined set of skills, but I tell them there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Leadership is about matching style with context, while also being authentic to yourself – it’s a personal journey. Many in the class have an ‘aha moment’ when they realise this.”

One of the first steps to developing as a leader is becoming more “self-aware”, says Inamdar. “This means having an honest understanding of your own values, motivations, strengths and weaknesses – and how they come together and affect others.”

Self-awareness is not woolly management-speak, warns Inamdar, it contributes to the bottom line by making leaders and their employees perform better on the job. “And from my experience and research on leadership, the more self-aware leaders tend to make the more ethical business decisions.”

Crucially, self-awareness gives you the ability to adjust your leadership and communication style to suit individual members of your team.

“This might seem straightforward, but I’ve worked with leaders in the banking sector – and most of them have no idea about adapting to their employees’ needs.”

Inamdar says banking tends to attract “very bright people, but not necessarily very self-aware people”.

“It’s the nature of the sector that young bankers are thrust into high-pressure jobs, often progress very rapidly, and aren’t allowed to develop their emotional intelligence skills,” she explains. “Most remain in survival mode throughout their careers – they don’t have enough time to become more self-aware leaders.”

The leadership development course in the CUHK MBA is particularly useful for students with a banking or finance background because it lets them “step back and assess their leadership abilities in a way they could never do at work,” says Inamdar.

To bring home the importance of self-awareness, Inamdar makes her MBA students take leadership development assessments, which allow them to learn more about themselves in areas such as self-confidence, cognitive thinking, communication style, and working in teams.

The results vary: some student don’t take the assessments too seriously; while others question their validity; some “can’t face the truth about themselves”; while others recognise their own weaknesses but are hesitant to work on them.

“But around 10% to 20% really get it – they know that the results can help them improve as leaders and they’re prepared to make an effort to change things about themselves. They don’t make excuses and see the assessments as valuable information to become better leaders in the future,” says Inamdar.

Each student also takes part in a peer-to-peer exercise, the Johari Window, in which they see a list of adjectives and choose the ones they think best match their own personality. Another student then picks words from the same list to describe their classmate.

“It’s a great tool to build self-awareness as it highlights any difference between what you think about your personality and how others perceive you. It can show you your leadership blind spots”

Ultimately, however, Inamdar says her CUHK MBA students like to “see results on the job when they become more self-aware”.

“I’ve already experienced examples of this within my class. A senior banker in Hong Kong perceived herself to be really a strong leader, but actually her employees were walking all over her – she was staying late to do their work,” says Inamdar. “She’s now in the process of changing her leadership style.”

Another manager and MBA student became aware that he wasn’t networking enough within his bank.

“He’s now gone from being a lone wolf to being far more collegiate. He’s learnt that building ‘social capital’ – even if that’s just bringing coffee to a colleague or solving a problem for them – will get you further in your career. In the long run better networks will get you a better job, and your work can be far more meaningful and enjoyable.”

Above all, Inamdar says banking professionals learn to be more adaptable and flexible leaders in the CUHK MBA programme.

“One student had been with his bank for 10 years and he wished he’d always known about adjusting leadership style based on the type of employees you have,” she says.

“His previous attitude was ‘I’m the boss, so people must adapt to me’. Now, because of the MBA leadership development course, he’s realising that being humble by adjusting his leadership style to the capabilities of his employees will make him and his team more productive. That’s an example everyone in banking could aim to follow.”

Media: eFinancialCareers
Section: News
Date published: February 17, 2017

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Singapore Trek 2017

Organized by the student-led CUHK MBA Singapore Trek Task Force during 8-10 Feb, the Singapore Trek 2017 has successfully connected a group of 15 enthusiastic MBA students with 7 MNCs including Deloitte, Apple, Estee Lauder, Infosys Consulting, DHL Consulting, Cognizant and Verizon. This year, the 15 trekkers were delighted to witness the forefront of technology […]

Singapore Trek 2017

Organized by the student-led CUHK MBA Singapore Trek Task Force during 8-10 Feb, the Singapore Trek 2017 has successfully connected a group of 15 enthusiastic MBA students with 7 MNCs including Deloitte, Apple, Estee Lauder, Infosys Consulting, DHL Consulting, Cognizant and Verizon.

This year, the 15 trekkers were delighted to witness the forefront of technology in Visa Innovation Lab and learn more about the ecosystem of FinTech in Singapore as co-organised by the FinTech Association.

All the concerted efforts provided interactive platforms for our students to explore career opportunities, to understand the working environment and to build the useful network with local hiring managers, alumni and headhunters in Singapore. They were all empowered to facilitate their next step in potential career opportunities in Singapore.photos combination

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16
February
2017
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