A Tale of Three Cities
Studying overseas, a dream for secondary school leavers in the older days, has become a common feature of undergraduate studies in the 21st century—at least for a term’s duration. Given that, to study in two overseas cities and one’s home place with the young people of diverse origins for a total of three terms is still a rare experience too good to be true.
The Global Business Program (GBS)/ GLOBE, offered by the Faculty of Business Administration at CUHK with partners Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), has made this super dream come true.
Launched in 2005, GBS, dubbed by the media as one of the most competitive programmes in Hong Kong, has been attracting the cream of secondary school graduates both from the local and non-local systems. It aims at empowering highly aspiring students with distinct business acumen, cultural fluency and an entrepreneurial mindset through an internationally oriented curriculum and unique tri-continental learning experience to become leaders who create meaningful impact on the global community.
Programme Director Dr. Raymond Wong elaborated on features that make GBS unique in terms of knowledge, experience and network:
‘GBS offers an innovative curriculum that includes the best and most challenging business courses from the three top international business schools,’ said Dr. Wong. This is achieved with the expertise of each school, and by integrating the tailored, regional-focused classes on global business environment with hands-on projects on different industries.’
The class-based learning is reinforced by study trips across the three continents, e.g., to Brussels, Singapore, Tokyo, Malaysia, the famous Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, New York and Washington D.C. ‘During these expansive learning trips to developed and emerging markets, students are exposed to a wide spectrum of industries ranging from healthcare, energy, consumer goods, banking, financial consulting services, steel to aviation. They will have high-level interaction with owners, CEOs and senior executives for a greater global experience.’
Eighteen students from each of the three partner schools are admitted each year. They will study as an international cohort in Copenhagen, Hong Kong and Chapel Hill for three semesters starting from the first semester in Year 3. Dr. Wong pointed out that the experience of living and working with global counterparts allows students to fully integrate into and understand the nuances of the local cultures, developing their global mindset and essential skills to confront the challenges in the ever-changing business environment.
The 18 months of in-depth interaction among students helps build strong and long-lasting bonding within the class. In addition, through various alumni engagement opportunities, students can develop connections across the uniquely global alumni network. As observed by Dr. Wong, ‘Our GBS alumni are now positioned in some of the most prestigious investment banks, financial institutions, consultancies, government, and multinational corporations. They are always ready to share their experiences and frequently come back to engage current students in a variety of ways.’
GBS graduates also demonstrate genuine concern for the global community, without ignoring the disadvantaged. Alumna Bonnie Chiu, at just 24 years old, has recently been named as one of Forbes 30 Under 30’s Social Entrepreneurs in Europe. She is the co-founder and CEO of the non-profit social enterprise Lensational which was initially launched in Hong Kong in 2013. It empowers marginalized women in 15 countries by offering them training in photography. Outside of Lensational, Bonnie is the Managing Director at the London-based Social Investment Consultancy, advising clients ranging from UNICEF to Kettle Foods.
Current student Marco Po found the truly global elements of GBS most appealing when he chose the programme among other business programmes available in Hong Kong. What he has encountered so far reassures him of this choice. ‘I would say that the people whom I have met, ranging from the alumni, my fellow classmates, teaching staff and guest speakers are all unique and charismatic. Their experiences from various backgrounds have enlightened me in one way or another,’ he said.
To address the quest for new knowledge and skills that meet the society’s latest needs and the current development of the industrial and business sectors, GBS has established an advisory board comprising graduates to review the curriculum on a regular basis. This ethos of constant pursuit of excellence and readiness for changes could have been embedded in the delivery of the programme. Marco said, ‘The programme has awakened my awareness that in this day and age, changes and disruptions are constantly happening in every corner of the world. We must not be complacent and should seek to equip ourselves with the knowledge, skills, vigilance and responsiveness for changes at any time.’
Though not yet having a specific career goal in mind, Marco is aspiring to develop a career that will create value to others in the world.
Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2018