9 March 2021
Professor Muammer Ozer and Dr Barry Lee, our DBA graduate, were featured in SCMP
For senior business executives with the intellectual curiosity to develop original academic knowledge, the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree programme offered by the College of Business at the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) offers an educational journey that is challenging, stimulating and memorable.
As the world of business is reshaped by Covid-19, climate change and the rapid evolution of technology, DBA programme director professor Muammer Ozer says, students are exposed to new knowledge and business ideas. "We emphasise critical thinking in our programme and train our students to consider the multiple dimensions of a research problem," he says. Equipped with such skills, students are in a strong position to address pressing business challenges involving change, innovation, international business, or any other business matters.
Consistently recognised as one of the highest-ranked DBA programmes in the world, Ozer says students benefit from the cutting-edge insights and guidance provided by world-renowned professors with extensive global expertise and in-depth China Knowledge. DBA professors are active researchers in different areas of business and regularly publish their latest research in leading academic journals. "Similarly, we are honoured to work with our diverse group of students who are successful business leaders with a passion to solve complex business issues that have implications well beyond the boundaries of their organisation," Ozer says. Typically, DBA candidates have a minimum of 10-years senior management experience and come from different business backgrounds with different research interests to maximise cross-learning experiences. "We maintain a small class size so that we can create an optimum mix," Ozer says. Importantly, the combination of world-class faculty and high-calibre students underpins rigorous high-quality research principles and standards. "We closely work with our students from the day they join our programme," Ozer notes. Students learn how to apply the latest research models and theories to solve emerging business problems in every aspect of business.
While students study together as a cohort, because they are senior industry leaders, when choosing a research topic they are encouraged to study a practical topic from their industry. The programme culminates in a dissertation that aims to provide new insights on issues in the business world, usually in a field related to the students' area of business expertise. "The curriculum is designed in such a way that there are many opportunities for our students to receive feedback on their research, reflect and make progress," Ozer says. To help DBA students to refine their chosen research topic, they are assigned a mentor —usually a senior faculty member — with expert knowledge and understanding of the latest business practices and specific areas of business.
Offered as a part-time programme designed to be compatible with the busy schedules of professionals, to meet COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, since February 2020, where necessary, the programme has moved online. However, because of the emphasis on one-on-one interaction, individual interactions and consultations are still conducted face-to-face. For larger classroom and workshops sessions, both online and face-to-face sessions are conducted, allowing students from overseas to be part of the classroom learning experience. Upon completing their DBA degree, Ozer notes that graduates often review their career and business perspectives. Some embark on a teaching career while others expand into consulting or focus on improving their business. An indication of where a student's DBA journey can take them, Ozer notes that graduates frequently deliver keynote speeches at high-profile industry events and invited to serve on government panels.
For Class of 2016 graduate, Dr Barry Lee, the CityU DBA programme met three important criteria. First, its global recognition and status, second, its progressive spiral learning approach, a learning strategy that reinforces concepts each time the topic is reviewed or encountered, and third, the encouragement to use students own real-life business challenges as research topics. "The DBA study experience enhanced my critical thinking ability which in turn enabled me to understand business situations from a wider perspective," says Lee, CEO of Associated Engineers, Limited who chose for his research topic of the "Motives and factors affecting the internationalisation of Hong Kong engineering companies", a challenge he encountered while working with a previous organisation.
Under the close supervision and guidance of his mentor, Lee explains he had the opportunity to explore solutions for his research project through extensive literature review, surveys, interviews and data analysis. Furthermore, as an engineer he found the programme helped him to transform from a technical person to become an all-rounded visionary individual with in-depth knowledge in handling business development and management matters. "The programme equipped me with the learning and research skills — the key — to enter into the 'world of knowledge'," says Lee who adds that his DBA degree is a platform for future sustainable professional development. While demanding, Lee says for executive students looking to access advanced business knowledge through lectures, seminars, forums, workshops, self-study, and discussions, the DBA programme provides an opportunity to solve real-life research challenges while earning a prestigious doctoral degree.