The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)’s new Master in Management (MiM) program—positioned as a ‘Management Program for the Digital Age’—is set to drive job opportunities for graduates in Asia.
Launching in August 2018, it will home in on the importance of company exposure and the benefits of working on real-time business projects, incorporating a strong element of experiential learning outside of the classroom.
“If you take a look at social learning theory, adults learn best by observing others,” Dr John Lai, one of the program’s co-directors, explains.
Students will embark on regular regional company visits, engaging with senior executives from a plethora of industries—like banking, consulting, and fast-moving consumer goods—and getting their names known within a wide range of organizations.
Also included are field trips where students do the rounds of companies in Hong Kong and China, networking with an array of tech firms in these cities.
“The MiM is definitely one of the most innovative programs not only in Hong Kong, but in Asia,” says John.
At the end of the program students will not only have acquired the fundamental business knowledge and skills necessary for work, but they will also have a wealth of experience reflecting on and solving real-life business issues.
“As a result of the company visits opportunities will be aplenty,” confirms John. “We are able to introduce the MiM students to many senior executives […] not in one single industry, but within SMEs, startups, consultancies, and NGOs.”
Before they even embark on the full CUHK Master in Management program though, a pre-term set of modules ignites the initial spark that aims to cultivate the relationships students will eventually build with the executives they are exposed to during the program.
The pre-term initiative will be three weeks of intensive learning, developing the students team building skills, career preparation, and exposing them to executives early on through the course’s speaker series—there will also be initial case study analysis classes to give a basic understanding of project theory.
“We want the MiM students to be well groomed, so they have that professional courtesy [when they] converse with senior executives,” explains John.
“It’s [also] important to make sure they acquire the basics before they get to the Master’s level. We hope to enhance the bonding of the students as well, giving them the opportunity to warm up before the real semester.”
That will hopefully be the catalyst for CUHK MiM students landing jobs after graduating, as they apply the soft skills they’ve augmented, and the intimate knowledge of the Asian market they’ve developed, to real life business issues globally.
“Knowledge of the Asian market is super important with a market size of 4.7 billion people,” John admits. “McKinsey pointed out for example that Indonesia is forecast to be the 7th largest economy in the world by 2030” and hence the mass of growth is going to be in emerging and developing economies in Asia.”
But, John adds that CUHK encourages students to gain an understanding of markets in both the East and the West, inspiring them to integrate the best of both worlds in order to apply their knowledge successfully in the global market.
The pinnacle of applying that knowledge is the Capstone project, where students travel abroad for two weeks to emerging markets and developing economies—such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, John says—to work on a real-life business project in their host country.
Final grades will be given by the senior executives of the firms in which the students are placed, giving them the opportunity to build working relationships with eminent business leaders before graduating.
“It’s intriguing to be able to bring our students to emerging economies,” gleams John, “Capstone will be the [best way] for students to put into practice what they have learned in the previous 10 months.”
Professor Shige Makino, co-director of the new CUHK Master in Management with John, explains that the rise of the Asian economy is what sparked the initial intrigue to venture into emerging economies on the Capstone project.
There is great opportunity to integrate innovation into developing economies, to harness the potential of change—Shige adds that this is “why, in our program, we offer a wide variety of elective courses, from management for innovation, fintech analytics, and entrepreneurship.”
New, forward-thinking electives are the driving force behind the CUHK MiM, as Shige admits the power that the digital economy holds for the next-generation of business leaders.
“The pace of digitization in business is picking up rapidly,” he says, “and we need to prepare our students for it.”