The management skills required by the business world are forever changing. Benny Tse, executive vice-president of BWC Capital Markets, responded to the need to upgrade his skills by enrolling in the Hong Kong Baptist University’s (HKBU) doctor of business administration (DBA) programme.
“Hong Kong is a knowledge-based society and the overall qualification system has been going up in the past decade. Being in my late 30s, and I have had to think of my competitiveness versus younger, more qualified people,” says Tse. “I am experienced compared with the mid- or late-20s, but as they are much qualified in terms of academic exposure. My competitive advantage will deteriorate especially when I am relatively well paid. I feel a bit threatened, so I have to upgrade my skills and knowledge.”
Dr Wu Wei-ping, associate programme director, says the course focuses on strategic creativity, how to lead change, make decisions and enhance organisational effectiveness. “DBA candidates are ‘practitioner-scholars’ – they are expected to be reflective practitioners who are able to meet the demands of today’s business world,” he says.
The school is highly selective when choosing applicants, says Wu, and they make sure every student receives individual support and mentoring.
The programme offers research mentorship, associate research fellowship with the Chinese Business Case Centre and a workshop series by the Peter Drucker Academy.
“The research mentorship is designed to help students develop their research proposal in the first year. Highly qualified faculty members provide teaching and individual supervision, and visiting faculty bring their expertise to the programme,” says Wu.
Tse says he has benefited a lot from the programme. “Firstly, my classmates are more experienced and more likely to be from senior management compared with MBA students. So the discussions offer valuable insights. Secondly, since the DBA is conducted in small class sizes [of 10 students], there’s cohesive bonding among classmates,” he says.
Students have an of 21 years’ work experience. Most of them come from banking and finance, while others are from education, manufacturing and engineering. Many of the students hold top management positions, such as vice-president, regional head or director.
Applicants should have an MBA or a master’s degree in a business-related subject from a recognised university or equivalent, and have at least 10 years of managerial or professional experience. Classes usually take place on Saturdays and Sundays. The time limit to complete the course is six years. Shortlisted applicants have to go through an admission interview.
"This is a professional doctoral programme, requiring good educational preparation and a high level of commitment from students. We are looking for applicants who are well prepared, have good time management skills and are determined to advance themselves through rigorous research training,” says Wu.