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Getting the Best of Both Worlds

With a population of 1.3 billion, China is the second largest economy following the US, and is increasingly playing an important and influential role in global development and economy.

Keeping an eye on the world’s two largest economies, CUHK launched in 2010 the International Business and Chinese Enterprise (IBCE) Program. The aim is to train future business leaders that are well groomed in comprehensive knowledge of international business, with focus on the US and China business relationship, as well as the growth strategies of Chinese enterprises.

IBCE is jointly run by CUHK’s Faculty of Business Administration and the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina (USC). Students are offered exclusive opportunities to explore the world of business by study trips, as well as the rare chances to train up their transnational mindset by interning abroad.

Why CUHK and USC? Co-Director Mr. Simon Lee explained, ‘The programme builds on the unparalleled access that CUHK offers to China and Asia, the strong Chinese language programmes available here, and the outstanding professors and curriculum of the Faculty.’

‘The Darla Moore School of Business at USC brings to us its recognized excellence in international business education and its facility for developing innovative academic programmes, as well as its location in a region markedly integrated with the global economy,’ Mr. Lee continued. The School’s undergraduate major in international business has been ranked first among all programmes in this specialty by U.S. News & World Report.

CUHK and USC only admit top students to make up a total of 35 students (21 from CUHK) in each cohort. The chosen ones will share a number of courses and experiences together. They will have abundant opportunities to create and sustain cross-cultural relationships with classmates and professors in Hong Kong and the US. Additionally, through coursework, internships, study trips and travel, they will be able to personally experience the impact of culture on business practices.

IBCE adopts a flexible ‘4+1’ programme structure. The first two years are based in CUHK for students to gain fundamental knowledge in business, management and finance, and to complete the University Foundation Courses. They will embark on an orientation trip in China in Year 2.

Year 3 is spent in USC reading courses on international business to gain a solid understanding of the business environment of these countries.

Before stepping into society, students wrap up the four-year undergraduate programme in CUHK, exploring topics like legal environment, corporate social responsibility, business ethics, and business policy and strategy. They will also have focused studies on China business and marketing. Their final year is complemented by a study trip in other Asian countries.

Upon completion of the fourth year, students will receive a Bachelor of Business Administration awarded by CUHK. Eligible students can continue the one-year Master of International Business (MIB) at USC, with emphasis on the political, economic and cultural aspects.

Heather Hsu who has completed Year 3 was attracted by the small cohort size when she chose the programme. ‘The network that you can get from the programme is most valuable. All my fellow classmates at both CUHK and USC are outstanding young learners who can keep giving you motivation and inspiration.’

Knowing students from both worlds is another feature treasured by Heather. ‘Partnership with another university allows the exchange experience to be more complete as we stay and study together with our USC buddies for a total of three years. This is how you can really get to and build a long lasting relationship with them and have an in-depth understanding of another culture.’

Every new IBCE student will be assigned an academic adviser to whom he/she may seek advice on personal, academic, career and professional development. Coupled with the mentorship programme which matches each new student with a senior student and an alumnus or alumna, the freshmen can learn the nuts and bolts of the programme from different perspectives. ‘The alumni network is solid and alumni are always happy to help,’ Heather observed.

The graduate placement of IBCE has been very satisfactory over the years. ‘Many graduates received multiple offers and some received return offers in September soon after completing their summer internships,’ said Mr. Lee.

Based on the figures in the past three years, over 50% of IBCE graduates engaged themselves in the ‘Banking and Finance’ industry, in companies such as JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Hong Kong Stock Exchange and UBS Securities. Around 10% pursued a career in ‘Consulting’ and ‘Conglomerate’, and close to 10% furthered their studies. An increasing number of IBCE graduates were seen starting up their own companies upon graduation.

As Mr. Lee concluded, ‘IBCE graduates have been trained to feel comfortable with uncertainties. With the extensive exposure to global business gained and the supportive networks built up during their undergraduate years, I’m sure they will fare well with confidence in the China, the US and the global business sectors.’

Published: Summer 2017
Last Updated: Summer 2018

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JUPAS, Non-JUPAS Year 1 Entry, International, Mainland