HKUST’s Digital MBA: Anticipating the Future
In the world of MBA education, crafting a curriculum entails discerning the shifting dynamics of the business landscape and predicting what skill sets will be in demand in the future.
Jeevan Jaisingh is an Associate Professor of Business Education at the Business School of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Jeevan stresses the importance of MBA programs needing to stay ahead of future industry shifts. “Because our graduates are going to go into the industry, we all would love to have a crystal ball where we could look into the future and see what work is going to look like. Unfortunately, we don’t have that. So, we [instead] look at trends that are happening in the industry.” (00:03)
Jeevan points out that “the jobs of today might not exist tomorrow.” Given the potential of generative AI to take over tasks equivalent to 300 million full-time jobs (Goldman Sachs, 2023), MBA programs must stay in sync with this fast-changing business environment.
Jeevan says, “I always tell my students in the first class, we are not telling you what’s the technology today, we are not telling you what the technology is going to be tomorrow, but we are preparing you so that you could make decisions about technologies, which are 20 years from now.” (03:39)
HKUST’s Digital MBA (DiMBA) prepares students to succeed in the brave new world of the future.
Pioneering A Hybrid Learning Model
Recent developments in the business world spurred HKUST Business School to restructure its traditional MBA curriculum to integrate hot topics such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and sustainability. Yet, the primary aim remains to develop universal competencies like critical thinking, strategic vision, and ethical decision-making. (01:37)
But recent years showed them that they needed to implement another significant change. The Covid-19 pandemic’s legacy reshaped perspectives on remote work and education. The proliferation of remote work provoked HKUST to question how they could provide equally potent remote education. The result is the institution’s new Digital MBA, the 1st hybrid digital MBA program in Asia created by a top global university.
The path to establishing HKUST’s Digital MBA blended skepticism and revelation. Jeevan admits, “To be very honest with you, for many years, I certainly believed that… [there was] value in being in class, interacting with students. But, after having developed this program for the Digital MBA, having taught for it, my mind has totally changed about the benefits of hybrid.” (10:07)
HKUST’s Digital MBA strategically divides content into synchronous and asynchronous formats, allowing busy professionals the flexibility to study at their own pace and then collaborate in real-time remotely. This approach is about more than just learning methods. It reflects HKUST’s recognition of global trends and shifts.
Developing Critical Thinking Skills
Associate Professor Jeevan uses an ancient Chinese saying to illustrate HKUST’s pedagogical approach: “You hear, you forget; you see, you remember; you do, you understand.” (06:55)
HKUST’s teaching methodology emphasizes the practical application of knowledge through compelling case studies or tangible experiences like internships and collaborative projects with companies.
Central to Jeevan’s personal instructional doctrine is the promotion of critical thinking. He aspires to guide his students in understanding the intricate facets of decision-making, especially recognizing the biases that can sway their choices. As he puts it, “in [my] course… we are actually looking at biases that impact managers when they make decisions, some of the cognitive biases, some of the decisions that may be emotional in nature.” (06:04)
Elaborating with an example, the Associate Professor highlights the sunk cost fallacy. “You’ve already put in so much money into a project you want to get it through. And because you are the person who’s actually led the program, you want to see it through, you don’t want it to be a failure.” (06:23)
The sunk cost fallacy can lead to a massive waste of time, resources, and capital as managers keep pouring efforts into ventures without evaluating if it’s still worthwhile effort moving forward.
Prospective business leaders must hone their critical thinking skills and navigate away from biases and fallacies. Employers anticipate that by 2025, the most sought-after skills will include critical thinking, analysis, and problem-solving (World Economic Forum, 2020). This fact underlines the importance of MBA courses that dissect and address managerial biases.
Asia Pacific's Strategic Significance
The Asia Pacific region is a testament to the boundless potential of technological evolution and economic development. Recognized as a pulsating hub of cutting-edge technology, groundbreaking innovation, and robust economic activity, the Asia Pacific region is a vital part of HKUST’s strategic vision. HKUST Business School is positioning itself to be a premier business institution in this rapidly ascending part of the globe.
“So HKUST and the Asia Pacific, it’s a good place to be if you’re looking towards the future,” Jeevan notes. (15:03)
Although what lies ahead remains uncertain, HKUST, with its forward-thinking Digital MBA, ensures its graduates are adaptive and ready for any challenge. At HKUST Business School, the objective is clear: to empower its students to craft careers that make an impact.
Do you want to learn from the first-hand experiences of HKUST students or graduates? Don’t hesitate to reach out to a HKUST MBA Advisor.
Goldman Sachs. (2023). The Potentially Large Effects of Artificial Intelligence on
World Economic Forum. (2020). The Future of Jobs Report 2020. At https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2020/