Feature Stories


Staying On Top

As the Kellogg-HKUST EMBA marks its 20th anniversary, it is a good time to celebrate successes while also planning for the future in this rapidly changing world. The Program, which has regularly topped the Financial Times international rankings, built its reputation by offering an evolving combination of specialist knowledge and global experience.

With classes taught by world-class faculty and eminent guest lecturers, students are inspired to think differently about the process and practice of management and to view key business decisions from a strategic perspective.

This year’s 37 graduates, including 16 nationalities with an average age of 36, exemplify these qualities. They represent a wide array of backgrounds and industries and are now well prepared to take on broader responsibilities, effect meaningful change, and contend with new challenges bound to emerge in the current “age of disruption”.

To ensure continuous success, the two Schools must keep adapting and enhancing the curriculum and pedagogy of the Program. Coverage of essential topics such as finance, marketing, effective leadership and value investing must be balanced with discussion of merging topics such as fintech, big data, and social media, and their implications on businesses around the world. And respect for business ethics and societal impact is embedded at the heart of the curriculum.

“Both schools share the same values and aspirations in terms of academic standing and importance of quality teaching and research,” says Professor Tam Kar Yan, Dean of HKUST Business School. “There is a continuous dialogue among members of the Kellogg Global Network on ways to improve our programs. Currently, KH students can take courses at seven international campuses including Toronto, Tel Aviv, Miami, Beijing, Evanston, Vallendar and Hong Kong.”

Move with the times

In response to changes and developments, electives have been added on fintech, business analytics, entrepreneurship and family businesses. There is also a move towards more hybrid courses and blended learning, with the planned introduction of recorded videos and an online platform giving students another option for covering the “zero to one” preparatory materials before attending weekend classes. Extra emphasis is placed on the need for business leaders to appreciate the importance of innovation.

“Technology is going to have a transformational impact on the ways organizations operate in the future, and we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg now,” Professor Tam says. “Organizations need to introduce an ‘innovative spirit’ and do more in terms of sustainability and the environment. That’s why we’re gearing up our own capacity in these areas by exploring topics like green finance and engaging more with local community initiatives to create suitable content for the curriculum.”

Professors need to explain big technology and societal trends in a concise and relevant manner so that executives can understand the principles and the application of emerging technologies from AI and big data to blockchain and cloud computing in the workplace.

“In other respects, we are hoping to improve the Program’s gender diversity from the current 70:30 ratio of men to women,” Professor Tam says. “And since most of our students have corporate background, we are looking to provide scholarships, not only for women and entrepreneurs, but also for students from NGOs and emerging markets.”

In fact, the way businesses operate has changed profoundly since the turn of the century. That makes it essential for management education to keep adapting to meet new norms and expectations.

To this end, the combined strengths of the HKUST and Kellogg faculties help students and alumni gain an in-depth understanding of current best practices and global challenges even after they graduated.

“The conference that marked the 20th anniversary of the Program, for example, is an integral part of our ongoing efforts to allow our graduates, not only to connect but gain new perspectives and contrasting viewpoints on topical issues,” the Dean says.