Since being known chiefly as a fishing port in the early part of the 20th century, the city has grown into a heaving metropolis, largely on the back of its four key industries: financial services, trading and logistics, tourism, and professional services.
These already offer plenty of opportunities for MBA grads in the region—but they’re not the only ones that students should be looking out for.
In recent years the Hong Kong government has been driving investment in six new growth industries—including, but not limited to, medical services, wine trading, green business, and innovation and technology.
Green business and innovation and technology, in particular, are key sites of business growth the world over, and for MBA students at Hong Kong’s CUHK Business School, opportunities to make a mark are rife.
Hong Kong is a mass of contradictions when it comes to the environment. While only a fraction of the city’s buildings are eco-friendly, more than 75% of land in the territory has been left in its natural state, due to either being undevelopable or protected green space.
This fraught relationship to sustainability is set to even out as the Hong Kong government implements its plans to drive growth in green business.
Plans include bringing the environmental sector into the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) with the mainland, which gives green businesses based in Hong Kong the ability to penetrate deeper into the Chinese market.
This could mean growth in the number of Hong Kong-based green businesses over the next few years, particularly as the city also hosts Eco Expo Asia each fall, giving the stage to sustainability-focused companies from around the world.
CUHK Business School itself runs a sustainability conference each year, inviting expert speakers to educate students on the benefits of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The roster for 2019 included speakers from big corporations like H&M and BASF, as well as business school leaders and representatives of bodies such as the Hong Kong Green Finance Association.
Sustainable business also sits at the heart of the MBA’s entrepreneurship and innovation concentration.
Students on the course get to work in teams on real business propositions, which they then present to social impact investors and practitioners in the sustainable business arena.
The MBA program won a certificate of appreciation from the Global Green Economic Forum at the Women Eco Game Changer Awards this year, testament to its place within the sustainable business landscape in Hong Kong.
Innovation and technology
It is hard to have any conversation about long-term sustainability without mentioning technology. While close neighbor Shenzhen is often the name on commentators’ lips when they mention tech in Asia, Hong Kong should not be underestimated.
The government’s initiatives have overseen the creation of tech communities focused on innovation, such as Hong Kong Cyberport—a creative digital community that is home to over 100 ICT and digital content companies and which includes centers for collaboration, technology, knowledge sharing, and entrepreneurship.
In addition, a $640 million innovation and technology fund provided by the government makes sure that launching a disruptive tech venture is not just a pipe dream for MBAs in the city.
As well as benefiting from proximity to these activities, CUHK MBAs who are interested in technology can match with theory what they see in practice.
The school offers a finance and technology concentration that gives students a rigorous grounding in tech and its connections to the Hong Kong financial powerhouse—from a FinTech 101 course that takes them through the basics, to corporate fundraising training and education about the applications of AI and machine learning.
CUHK also offers a business practicum in the subject, challenging students with a real-life business issue that they are then sponsored to solve by a corporation in the city, as well as playing host to student-led events such as the Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship lecture series organized by the Women in Business Club.
The results of this dynamic learning environment are tangible for CUHK MBA students, more than 10% of whom are employed in the tech sector after graduating.
With global innovation increasingly facing East, staking out a career in Asia is a prudent choice for any future business leader—getting a foothold in growth industries like green business and tech could be the way to do it.