The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is the longest established business school in Asia. This gives it a big first-mover advantage and clear vision in nurturing business leaders.
It has been ranked 57th in the world by the Financial Times in 2019.
Around 70 students (42% female) with an average age of 29, the class represents over 20 industries. The average GMAT score is 650 and the average work experience is 5.38 years.
The tuition fee for the current academic year is HK$560,000.
The employment rate after 3 months of graduation was around 96%, with 93% students finding job opportunities in Asia. A whopping 82% managed to change industry/function.
The top industry destination for post-MBA jobs was financial services (36%), followed by consulting (11%), technology (11%) and media/entertainment (9%).
Sameer Kamat, founder of MBA Crystal Ball, interviewed Becky Tsang (Head of Admissions, MBA Programmes, CUHK) to go beyond the numbers and find out more about the business school and its flagship MBA programme.
MBA Crystal Ball: What are some of the lesser known facts about CUHK that you’d want applicants to know?
CUHK: We are very popular in India, and CUHK has always been a top choice for Indian students. Our first Indian student graduated back in 1995 and we have been nurturing plenty more since then.
Vikas Sharma (Class of 2013) was a successful banker in India, he took his career global with a CUHK MBA and is now a Director at UBS Dubai.
Our alumni footprints span across a huge array of countries in different continents.
There are ample opportunities for our students to gain global exposure via international study tours, internships, oversees case competitions, career treks and more. So come find out more about what we offer!
MCB: Apart from the official site, what can international students do to learn more about the MBA programme and interact on a more personalized basis with the admissions committee and students?
CUHK: We have a dedicated team of admissions specialists responsible for different regions and they will guide candidates through the application process.
Personalised consultations can be arranged to address any specific questions candidates may have prior to their applications, and alumni are present to answer questions.
All the bases are covered, and you can find all the information you need.
Skype and phone interviews can be arranged if a face-to-face admission interview is not feasible.
We organise a number of admissions events like sample classes or alumni sharing events with specific topics matching current business needs in different locations.
We also organise webinars for those who cannot attend these events physically. You are welcome to view the upcoming events on our website.
MCB: Give us some more insights into the application evaluation process. Explain the step-by-step process that happens from the time the application is received till the decision is made?
CUHK: Remember to have everything in hand before you start. Before submitting your application, please make sure you have all your documentation ready as any missing documents or false information may result in delay in your application.
Please clearly state and provide proof for a recognised bachelor’s degree with honours or equivalent professional qualification; your full-time post-qualification work experience (minimum 3 years) and your English Language Proficiency, GMAT or GRE Score.
All submitted applications will be reviewed based on the required admissions standards within 2-3 weeks.
Candidates will meet with two interviewers who will either be our teaching staff, alumni or Admissions Director.
Admissions results will be released within 2 weeks after the interview.
MCB: How does an applicant evaluate and demonstrate ‘fit’ with the programme?
CUHK: At CUHK, we want top students to keep consistency in our programme, so you can also experience the best.
As we build each class, we look for the most promising students in terms of career progression and potential, demonstrated leadership attributes, personal qualities and contributions as well as their perspectives, values and aspirations.
We take a holistic approach and take all these factors into account.
Diversity counts! We look for candidates who can bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the MBA class as CUHK’s collaborative educational process leverages the breadth of students’ background to deliver a range of approaches to real-world problems.
Through this diversity, you can start to understand the experiences of others, to challenge your own assumptions and to develop new way of seeing the world.
MCB: Can you share some DOs and DONTs – especially for international applicants for the application essays? Anything that’s a complete turn-off?
CUHK: There are a few things that can really help you! So take note. Do state the most important career achievement in the past 3 years such as the projects you managed or the advancement you had.
It is good to describe the role you played in the projects and how your calibre or experience led to the success of these projects.
Remember to spell out your motivation for pursuing an MBA, future career plans and be prepared for the interviews and try to impress our interviewers with your passion on what your goals are.
If we can feel your passion, it will be a great help for you!
MCB: Approximately what percentage of the incoming class gets some sort of scholarship?
CUHK: If you need financial aid, all listed scholarships and awards are open to candidates applying for the CUHK MBA’s full-time programme. Click here to find out the list of scholarships available.
We offer the One Belt One Road (OBOR) Scholarship, it is awarded to high-potential full-time MBA candidates who have worked or studied in one of the countries in the OBOR.
Aside from this, the Entrepreneurial Leader Scholarship is available for those with no less than two years of experience and have either played key roles in the leadership and development of entrepreneurial projects or have successful track records in launching their own businesses.
The assessment criteria for these scholarships is similar to those of admissions and the percentage of successful scholarship grants varies from year to year.
MCB: Are there separate scholarship essays as part of the selection process? Are they assessed in conjunction with other parts of the application or are these evaluated on a standalone basis?
CUHK: The process is fairly similar, so don’t worry.
Applicants are not required to write separate scholarship essays for their applications but they have to provide extra information such as career background or specific goals they would like the scholarship committee to consider.
Applicants are evaluated based on their prior academic performance, work experience, GMAT scores and interview performances.
MCB: Does CUHK have any tie-ups with financing institutions? What proportion of the students take up educational loans with banks and financing companies like Prodigy Finance?
CUHK: We recommend applicants look for financing companies like Prodigy Finance if they have issues with their financial situation. In addition, scholarships are also available to eligible candidates.
MCB: How is studying in Hong Kong different from studying in other popular destinations like the US?
CUHK: We believe that Asia is at the nexus of the new economy. The centre of economic power is shifting from West to East and Asia has become a leading player in the world emerging economies.
Hong Kong, as part of the Greater Bay Area, is strategically located as a bidirectional gateway connecting the Mainland with other Belt & Road countries.
We are East. We are West. CUHK MBA’s unique curriculum combines both the essence of China business with international elements.
Studying in Hong Kong opens many doors for great career opportunities locally, China and elsewhere in Asia.
The programme is fast too!
Students can complete their MBA studies in as short as 12 months with an option of extending it to 16 months if they choose to join either the summer internship or exchange programmes.
Another alternative is a dual degree programme in 24 months with one of our 3 partner schools.
MCB: What are some of the unique courses and learning methodologies adopted in CUHK full-time MBA program?
CUHK: We are very unique, and offer a rich experience for students. The CUHK MBA is the first MBA programme to offer an entrepreneurship concentration in Asia.
This concentration comes with highly practical courses that require students to work on real global ventures and make investment presentations to a group of senior executives, angels, venture capitalists, and other private equity investors registered in the Pan Asia Venture Development Platform (PAVD).
The study trip to the Belt and Road region is the latest addition to our curriculum where our students will be given a glimpse into the Belt and Road Initiative.
Courses in the Belt and Road and Greater Bay Area (GBA) Economy cultivate knowledge of MBA students on the present state of the booming China economy and its development.
The GBA is one of China’s most developed regions and Hong Kong is in prime position to take advantage of a variety of opportunities, complementing technology centre in Shenzhen and business centres in Guangzhou.
This is an undeniable gateway for students to fast track their career, especially when they have already equipped themselves with knowledge in this area.
MCB: How do you ensure that the academic curriculum retains its practicality despite its shorter duration (compared to the typical two year format in the US)?
CUHK: We think that we offer something very special and different. We ensure the curriculum blends theory with practice entailing a wide range of experiential learning opportunities for students to connect with real businesses, and applywhat they learn.
In November 2018, we arranged two study tours to the US and Taiwan where students were able to gain insights into the different aspects of entrepreneurship and innovation.
The group visited a number of companies including IBM, Watson, Oracle, Prezi, Docusign, Google and LinkedIn where they learnt how data are utilised.
There are also networking events with industry leaders and alumni to keep students abreast with trends and practices in the market.
The “Dine with CEOs” Series is a good example where students meet CEOs from a number of top notch organisations including Microsoft Hong Kong, SmarTone Communications, EY Greater China as well as the Financial Secretary of the HKSAR Government.
Other initiatives like internship and mentorship programme enable students to grasp real-life experience and advice on the current market situation.In the past, we placed students at Google, Amazon, BASF and BNP Paribas.
MCB: How many graduates manage to switch their careers – meaning industry and/or function? What resources at the school help in such transitions?
CUHK: At CUHK, helping you make the most of your career is what we do best. Around 82% of the students in 2018 managed to change their industry/function after the MBA programme.
Our dedicated Career Management Centre provides comprehensive and structured career development services ranging from one-on-one career advising to recruitment talks and career treks which aim to expand students’ network for possible job opportunities and to build knowledge around the area of interests.
We also arranged a 4-day Career Trek in Shanghai with company visits including JP Morgan Chase, Alibaba, BMW, LVMH, and Google.
MCB: What should international candidates keep in mind while looking for local job opportunities in Hong Kong? Which sectors are more open to international candidates?
CUHK: Remember to keep your eyes open and explore new opportunities. While banking and finance are still dominating the market, Information Technology and Digital have been undergoing tremendous evolution within Hong Kong in the past decade.
Candidates are required to have certain level of understanding and skills on the IT and Digital fields. Our programme prepares our future leaders to stay abreast of the digital age.
Courses on fintech, digital marketing, digital breakthrough strategies and data visualisation keep our students at the forefront of developing trends.
We give you global opportunities. According to the career report for Class of 2018, 93% of students secured offers in Asia. 31% of the students work at the Finance/Accounting and 22% work in marketing/sales, 16% in general management, 11% in consulting and 9% in IT.
At CUHK, we see more people want to take their careers and family business forward and to facilitate this, a business school with unique qualities like a strong focus on entrepreneurship and close links with China are important.
We continue to evolve our curriculum in order to act as a bridge between China and the West and make use of the best of both worlds to further improve on our courses.
MCB: How easy or difficult is it to get a post-study work permit for international candidates? What proportion of international students stay back in Hong Kong?
CUHK: Hong Kong has a very friendly visa policy for postgraduate and international students.
Graduates can enjoy one-year extension of their visa upon completion of the programme for job hunting.
Many of our international students opted for this, and have reached a successful conclusion.
MCB: Are there any roles that are generally preferable or out of bounds for international students with no prior network or work experience in Hong Kong?
CUHK: We think the sky is the limit! Our programme aims at building connections not only with peers but also with alumni and corporate partners through a wide range of student activities like company visits, alumni sharing sessions and the mentorship programme.
Your growth is our priority. Our mentorship programme helps students build connections with senior mentors who can offer them insights and advice on market trends in a broad sense.
Younger mentors who are our recent graduates can act as students’ career buddies and share their experiences at study as well as tips on job hunting.
Internship placements equip students with hands-on experience. Students with international background and China experience may be able to pitch opportunities in MNC at their home countries and in Asia.
One of our Indian alumni who worked at Casetify for his internship has landed a Marketing Manager position at Emerson Commercial & Residential Solution based in Hong Kong, overlooking operations in Asia and Middle East.
Another Indian alumnus who had his internship at Schneider has earned a permanent position as Channel Strategy & Development, Retail Programme Manager at the same company.
MCB: Can you share some new and exciting initiatives that applicants can expect in the coming years?
CUHK: We are also innovating with our programme. In response to the dynamic needs of business executives and to ensure MBA students receive the most up-to-date course content and best training, we have launched a new concentrations – Finance & Technology in addition to Entrepreneurship & Innovation for the 2019 intake.
And to further tap into the understanding and development of the Belt and Road Initiative, a study tour to Belt and Road region will be arranged.
New courses such as the Belt and Road, Greater Bay Area and China in Global Economy have been introduced to let students get insights into the areas of growing opportunities.
We want you to be job ready. Students are encouraged to join competitions worldwide through logistics and financial support. Moving forward, we will further enhance support to students by involving teaching staff in mentoring.
In terms of facilities, The Jockey Club Postgraduate Halls 2 & 3 were built and came into service in 2018 for postgraduate students. Facing the beautiful Tolo Harbour, the halls comprise of two 12-storey hostel blocks, sky gardens and multi-purpose facilities.
Green roofs provide insulation and natural cooling to save energy, also a place where students can also enjoy organic farming activities.
Comprehensive facilities including a canteen, a gymnasium, seminar and conference rooms, and learning activity centres are also available.