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Big Data: Hong Kong B-School Drives Next Generation Of Business Analytics Grads

The MSc in Business Analytics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong prepares students for the future of data analytics. Students have so far landed placements at companies like Alibaba and Tencent

Tue Dec 19 2017

In the tech world, data rules supreme. But how does one go about understanding it without feeling lost in a maze of technological bemusement?

The one-year, full-time MSc in Business Analytics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) was launched with the aim of educating the next generation of business leaders in the art of data—designed to fill a data skills gap and keep students up to date with the latest global business analytics practices.

The program is the first of its kind in Hong Kong.

“New technologies, such as the internet, mobile devices, and social networks, have enabled very efficient business activities and transactions in many organizations, helping them expand their business scopes and expedite their business processes,” says Professor Kaijie Zhu, director of the MSc in Business Analytics at CUHK.  

Though a consequence of this, he says, is that companies are left floundering for data-savvy employees who can rapidly take piles of data, extract useful information from it, and use their nous to make intelligent, strategic decisions with that data to get a leg up over industry competitors.

On CUHK’s MSc in Business Analytics, students are educated in Statistical Analysis, Economic Analytics, Data Mining for Managers, and Database and Big Data Management, among others.

“We are also planning a field trip course to be offered in the upcoming academic year,” adds Kaijie. “It will allow students to visit leading companies in the Greater China area and explore their practices in data and analytics.”

For Kaijie, it makes sense to study the program in Hong Kong, as it “has long been reputed as a global financial center and logistics hub.”

CUHK is also the only leading university in the world with a campus in Shenzhen—acknowledged as China’s Silicon Valley—where innovation and tech flourish in abundance.

Indeed, Hong Kong has long been considered the gateway to China. Of CUHK’s graduates, roughly half, says Kaijie, are working either in Hong Kong or Shenzhen—the remaining half work mainly in major Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

They’ve landed jobs with companies like the Bank of China, PwC, Deloitte, Alibaba, and Tencent. And for Kaijie, the reasons are clear.

“The level of education at CUHK enables students to analyze business data and apply quantitative tools to that data—they are able to recommend faster and more effective business decisions.”

Zhenming Wei used his experience on the MSc in Business Analytics at CUHK to land a corporate credit analysis role at the China Construction Bank.

“Every conversation with a professor, every presentation, and every course project contributes to your improvement,” he says. “The school and the program provided us with abundant resources and gave us the direction we needed.”

Zhenming admits it isn’t possible to go into intricate detail with every element of data analytics, but the mainstream theories and algorithms are introduced, enabling students to enter the next phase of their learning.

“Most importantly,” Zhenming explains, “was that the program placed us at a point between business and data analysis, providing us with the right way of thinking and problem solving.”

Students on CUHK’s MSc in Business Analytics are also schooled in the art of soft skills, refining the balance between interpersonal and technical ability.

“My most memorable experience is working with teammates on course projects,” recalls Zhenming, enthusiastically. “Learning the skill of communication, conveying ideas, presentation, and persuasion—these experiences prepared us for the real business world.”