Shanghai MBA students hone management skills in Hong Kong

Shuyee Chen

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A group of 54 Shanghainese students in City University's Master of Business Administration programme, offered in collaboration with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, were praised for their consultancy work for two local companies during their first Residential Trip to Hong Kong between 9 and 22 February.

Commenting on the students' reports presented on 18 February, Mr Lenny Wong, Resident Manager of the Rosedale on the Park Hotel, one of the two participating companies, said, "We are very impressed with their work." He said the seven reports, ranging from a review of the existing Rosedale VIP system to a market analysis, were highly professional and represented the opinions of their target clients----young executives from China's mainland. "China is our future and we have to learn how to provide better services for visitors from the mainland." Rosedale looks forward to receiving in April another batch of CityU's MBA students from Shanghai.

The two-year joint programme, with a current enrolment of 201 students, was launched in September 2001, with the aim of providing modern business training to mainland executives and entrepreneurs. The first cohort of some 90 students is expected to receive MBA degrees from CityU this November in Hong Kong and 54 of them opted to join the two-week Residential Trip. The students were divided into two groups, working on consultancy projects for Rosedale on the Park and Kampery, a diversified company with interests in chain restaurants and food supply.

"We never expected it was going to be this hard," said Mr Mao Yiping, Director and CEO of Shanghai Intnet Information Technology Co Ltd, upon receiving the Best Presentation Award from Rosedale on the Park. Although many of the students are senior executives with an average of 13 years experience, there was still much to learn before they could provide consulting services to the participating companies. "We had to digest tons of data and find a focus for our projects in a very short time. It was a tough task. Most of us worked until 3 or 4 am over the past nine days. I'm definitely going to have a good sleep tonight."

Apart from the language barrier, as mainlanders do not speak the local Cantonese dialect, the students also had to work extraordinarily hard to understand the local culture and business environment. Mr Clifford Zhang, Manager (Business Development) for the Queensland Trade and Investment Office in China, found his Kampery project work exhilarating as well as exhausting. "Although there was some culture shock, we were able to apply what we learned from our books and act as real consultants. This programme will definitely help me to become a better manager."

Before coming to Hong Kong, the students had heard a great deal about how hardworking Hong Kong people are. "During our stay," said Mr Ma Xun, President and Researcher of the Shanghai Ship and Shipping Research Institute, "we witnessed that. Our supervisors not only stayed in the same hotel with us, they also worked with us until dawn most days. Their professionalism and passion for education touched us deeply."

Most of the students are successful business or government leaders, according to Dr John Leung, Associate Professor in CityU's Department of Marketing and one of the programme's supervisors. "It was quite a challenge to work with them. But we're proud to say that, in the end, we were able to balance academic theory with everyday business practices and give them something that will enhance their managerial abilities."

"We hope this trip will set a good example for the future and that more mainland students will take advantage of it," said Professor Oliver Yau, Associate Dean (MBA Programmes) of the Faculty of Business and the leader of the Residential Trip. The Trip's other supervisors and facilitators, all from the Faculty of Business, included: Dr Zhenmin Fang, Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance and Associate Director of the MBA Programme, Dr Y C Chan, Associate Professor in the Department of Management Sciences, Mr Raymond Chow, Instructor II in the Department of Marketing and Mr Eric Lau, Instructor II in the Faculty of Business.



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