As an international banking centre, Hong Kong's financial sector is one of its main economic workhorses, accounting for more than 27 per cent of the gross domestic product. Hong Kong is gradually recovering since the financial crisis, but it is facing uncertainties amid a fragile global economy and competition from other markets.
Professor John Wei, programme director for master of science in financial analysis at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), sees an urgent need for rigorous educational programmes to enhance the level of knowledge and professional services in banking, securities, insurance, fund management and other related sectors, and to uphold Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre.
"The financial services industry will continue to be one of the most important pillars of the Hong Kong economy," Wei says. "With the remarkable economic growth on the mainland, there are even greater opportunities for the further development of Hong Kong's financial markets.
"At the same time, globalisation, product innovation, technology, regulation, and consolidation among financial intermediaries are presenting major challenges for the industry. Our programme will prepare talent in the financial industry to thrive under this new environment."
The programme equips students with a solid foundation in accounting, economics, quantitative and computing skills, asset valuation and financial derivatives, and helps them prepare for the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) examinations.
The programme is designed for professionals in the finance industry or related fields. It is intended for part-time students, with a minimum completion time of 18 months and a maximum of five years.
Students can choose from two class schedules. There is a Saturday-only session offered on HKUST's Clearwater Bay campus (below) or evening classes at its downtown site in Central, plus a Saturday afternoon class on the main campus.
All applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a recognised university or approved institution. Normally, this degree must be with honours not lower than second class, lower division or with an average grade of at least B. Candidates must have worked for at least a year, and those who have fewer than seven years of work experience must submit their Graduate Management Admission Test score. Those who have worked for more than seven years are exempted from this requirement.