Nurturing global business leaders

Ellen Chan

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Academics and researchers from business schools in the Asia-Pacific region are gathering at the Association of Asia-Pacific Business Schools (AAPBS) Academic Conference 2011 at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) to explore the role business schools play preparing students for the business world.

The theme of the conference, which is hosted by the College of Business of CityU from 12-13 May, is “Nurturing Global Business Leaders in Asia for the World”.

Professor K C Chan, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, HKSAR, Professor Way Kuo, President of CityU, and Professor Wei Kwok-kee, Dean of the College of Business, officiated at the opening ceremony on 12 May.

Professor Chan said the challenge facing business schools in Asia today is how to promote relevant research to benefit both the curiosity of academics and the needs of society. Creating a research agenda for an Asian context is also very important, he added.

After the recent global economic crisis, the perception existed that economic growth had shifted from the West to the East. Asian financial systems tend to be more conservative than their Western equivalents, Asian people usually believe more in the power of government rather than that of the free market, and the rise of China’s economy has established a new economic order, Professor Chan argued.

“Though we face many challenges, the mission of business schools in Asia is to provide thoughtful leadership to solve the problems,” he said. “It is also very important to mobilise academics to pursue high quality research that contributes to the livelihood and social well-being of the economy.”

Professor Kuo said the conference is very timely, emphasising the need for business schools continue to renew their curricula because global business leaders face more challenges than ever before.

“I hope the next generation will take responsibility for leadership in the international business arena, making wise decisions for a sustainable society in these very challenging times,” Professor Kuo said.

In his welcoming remarks, Professor Wei said Hong Kong has long enjoyed a strong global presence and in many respects punched above its weight financially and commercially, while the education sector has been slow to leverage its regional connections. But over the past decade, the tertiary sector has made its presence felt both regionally and internationally.

“CityU is systematically developing global elements for its curriculum, working in close association with corporations to nurture business leaders,” Professor Wei said. “We strive to maintain the relevancy of our programmes by listening to what business leaders say.”

In this conference, participants from business schools in the Asia-Pacific region are holding discussions on topics such as the teaching of business ethics, the effectiveness of leadership and innovative training in current business schools, the relevancy of the MBA curriculum in meeting the needs of the business world, the role of business schools in nurturing entrepreneurial qualities, and wide-ranging discussion on the ways forward for business schools.

The primary purpose of AAPBS is to provide leadership and representation in order to advance the quality of business and management education in the Asia-Pacific region. The association accomplishes its mission by collaborating in research and teaching, and working in partnership to improve business standards and quality.

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