Feature Stories

24.03.2020

The Power of Three

The World Bachelor in Business Program offers students three degrees from three universities in three countries

Students looking for an opportunity to gain international exposure and achieve a solid foundation in business should consider applying to the World Bachelor in Business (WBB) Program. The Program will also suit those looking for an innovative approach to business studies.

Students who embark on this unique program will spend time at three different universities on three different continents during their years of study. They will also receive three degrees, one from each university. The three participating universities include HKUST, the University of Southern California (USC) and Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.

The purpose of this innovative and exceptional program is to give students a unique approach towards their undergraduate learning, and to prepare them to become future leaders in an increasingly globalized and connected world.

First of its kind

“WBB is the first undergraduate partnership of its kind. It’s designed to engage globally minded and intellectually curious students in a business curriculum that connects leading-edge teaching methods with cultural immersion and real-world experiences,” says Stephen NASON, Director of the WBB Program.

Students spend their first year at USC, their second year at HKUST, and their third year at Bocconi University. They choose where they would like to complete the Program at a partner school of choice in their fourth year. After completing the Program, students receive three bachelor’s degrees, one from each partner university.

With this unique global experience, more than 70% of WBB students will have worked in more than one country by the end of their fourth year of study. That is one of the biggest draws of the program.

This may seem like an unconventional way of learning, but it works, Nason says. The experiences the students undergo while adapting to different cultures and universities each year, combined with multiple internships in different firms in different countries, allow them to develop maturity, poise and problem-solving skills.

Employers are actively searching for such qualities in potential employees, he says. “Employers are increasingly seeking employees with international experience and a global mindset. The WBB cultivates independence, resilience, maturity, and a bold sense of ambition. These qualities are sought after by recruiters,” he says.

“WBB students expand their skillsets and experiences through internships during their four years. This gives them the real-world preparation necessary for success in their full-time jobs,” he says.

After the program, 40% of graduates went on to work in finance, 23% in consulting, and 11% in technology. WBB students have worked in over 30 countries in Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Africa, and 100% of students have completed an internship or started their own business by the end of their third year. Some of the placements include major corporations such as Google, SpaceX, Goldman Sachs, BCG, and Disney.

“Our Program aims to nurture global leaders who aspire to develop a career in international and multinational firms, perhaps with headquarters in Hong Kong, Shanghai or New York,” Nason says.

Every year, around 45 students are admitted to the Program from around the world. Their student visas allow them to pursue internships when they study in the US, Hong Kong and Europe.

A life-changing journey

Students say that the Program is unique. “WBB is an unconventional academic program. The students it attracts are academically competitive, but are more polished, independent, ambitious, diverse and more interesting than the average student,” says Sherry WANG, a WBB year-four student from the US.

“It’s more than just a good academic program. It’s a life-changing journey. By the end, we have experienced more than most people get the chance to experience during their entire lives,” Wang says.

Wang held five internships during the program, andworked with many illustrious companies and organizations around the world. Her CV includes working for an infrastructure startup, and she leveraged the social enterprise foundation that she established when she was at USC. She also started a global issues blog.

Wang embarked on two internships in international accounting standards in finance while she was at HKUST, and then took a full-year rotational internship with an investment bank in London.

“None of my experiences are outliers on the WBB Program,” she says. “Many others have leveraged the comprehensive curriculum and international opportunities to work all over the world. WBB prepares you to see opportunities without borders.”

The Program is challenging, she says, but participants reap what they sow. There are huge benefits for students who embrace opportunity, and who have a burning desire for personal growth, she notes. “WBB doesn’t just produce good students or employees, it produces well-rounded, interesting people,” Wang says.

During the program, Sherry Wang (first right) held five internships and joined different company activities, including a two-month project at Microsoft Hong Kong