Developing Visionary and Caring Leaders for the Hospitality and Real Estate Industries
‘Both the breadth and depth of my industry knowledge are extensively enhanced after four years of schooling,’ said Velma Law, Year 4 student of the Hotel and Hospitality and Real Estate (HRE) Programme at CUHK.
Velma likes to explore the intricate relationship between the ‘business sense’ and the ‘hospitality spirit’, and understand the interesting interactions between two pillar industries in Hong Kong, namely, the hospitality industry and the real estate industry, and many other economies. CUHK’s HRE programme — the only business programme in Hong Kong and Asia that integrates hospitality and real estate education—is the perfect match for her.
‘We created a unique programme in the Asia-Pacific region. To the best of my knowledge, no other universities except for Cornell offer programmes that integrate these two concepts,’ said Prof. David Chan, Director of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management.
He pointed out that the programme is designed to develop professional leaders for the hospitality and real estate industries. In particular, the school’s vision is to capture the emerging business and career opportunities when the two industries are becoming more connected through property planning and development, business operations, marketing and customer relationship management, technologies, talent training, and many other ties. ‘On one hand, running a hotel nowadays is not just about understanding customers and employees, it also requires knowledge and skills in managing expectations of hotel investors and property owners. On the other hand, many real estate developers are keen on building hotels, serviced apartments, shopping malls and all kinds of commercial properties. To get higher returns from these hospitality assets, property developers and investors also need to understand how people-oriented sectors work,” said Professor Chan.
The programme aims to help students develop critical thinking and a strategic vision for the industries that balances business profitability and the market need for innovation and sustainability. The courses offer a strong business and innovative education for the students. In addition to business foundation courses, the programme also offers industry-focused courses taught by faculty members as well as industry senior executives, such as Real Estate Investments, Real Estate Valuation, Management of Lodging Facilities, Shopping Mall Investment and Management, Food & Beverage Management, Revenue Management, Facilities Development and Management. Professor Chan further emphasized the importance of embracing the innovation opportunities in the hospitality, tourism, and real estate industries and designing creative learning activities for students to develop their leadership competencies. ‘A strength of our programme comes from the reputation and resources of the CUHK Business School,’ Professor Chan commented, ‘We offer a strong academic curriculum. In the meantime, we have an extensive and close industry network and have taken great efforts to engage our students with industry business practices, ensuring that our students are well-recognized among industry stakeholders.’
Velma appreciated the programme’s unique perspective. ‘It opens up doors to numerous networking opportunities to the hospitality and real estate industries. Through the Distinguished Speakers Series organized by the programme, CEOs, Directors and Presidents are invited to share with us their roads to success. Moreover, I’ve learnt that knowledge of financial management, marketing, human resources, economics, business analytics, and so on is what makes a business viable.’
She also praised the opportunities for undertaking internships at Swire Travel Limited and Hyatt Hotels Corporation. ‘The experiences to learn from the leaders of the hospitality industry are invaluable to me.’
Professor Chan explained that internship is incorporated in the curriculum to equip students with real-world work experiences. Students are required to complete two credit-bearing summer internships prior to graduation. These learning experiences are generally three-month long but also include six-month or longer. Many international internship opportunities are also granted to students.
The majority of students are placed in globally branded hotel chains, theme park operations, property developers, real estate and hospitality consulting firms, events and tourism related companies and banks.
In addition, four exclusively designed exchange programmes are offered for students to study in the Asia-Pacific region and North America. The programmes include the Asia-Pacific Hospitality Management Programme, a partnership programme with Thailand’s Mahidol University International College and Australia’s Queensland University, and exchange arrangements with Cornell University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), and Pennsylvania State University – all of them provide top-ranking hospitality programmes in the world. The programme has also arranged theme-based study trips and short-term summer courses to Taiwan, Japan, and Australia in the past two years and continues to explore new destinations for cross-cultural and experiential learning.
In order to give students more international exposures in the real estate stream, a new real estate exchange programme partnering with the National University of Singapore will start to admit students in 2019. The school will also host the Cornell CUHK Regional Real Estate Competition, Asia in October 2018. This will be another valuable opportunity for students to interact with overseas students, teachers, and industry experts.
Managed by students and supported by professional chefs and service team members, F&B outlets (The Gastronomy Club and a café named ‘The Stage’) are other special features of the programme. Students have many opportunities to apply their marketing, finance, and HR knowledge and skills on real business situations to solve problems. Velma is glad to practise in real-life operations, under the guidance of hotel chef in the food lab which makes the whole learning process more inspiring and interesting.
Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2018