HKBU Professor Suggests: 5 Questions You Should Ask to Pick the Right Business School

Nowadays, what is a wise method to select the right business school among thousands upon thousands in the world? On this topic, we have recently interviewed Prof. Ed Snape, Dean, HKBU School of Business.

Prof. Ed Snape

Professor Ed Snape said, in a world where “Artificial Intelligence” (A.I.) is the new buzzword and technology appears to lead developments in many aspects of life, some may question the value of apparently non-technology related degrees, like business. However, the continuing popularity of business degrees speaks for itself – there is a high demand for business talents, especially for those equipped with technology and data analytics skills in addition to business knowledge and understanding.

The big question for students to consider is how to pick the business school that best meets the needs of the student.

Herewith attached is a checklist of 5 points to help students in Mainland China to filter the most suitable option to study abroad – after all, studying abroad can be a life-changing experience, and one should not bet on something without careful thought. Check this out and it could help smooth the students’ journey.

Firstly, is it accredited by international organisations?

This is one of the most obvious indicators for choosing a school. Whether or not a school is accredited tells students a lot about the actual quality of education and how widely it is recognised. Therefore, the first step students should take is to look at the school’s accreditations.

For example, business schools with triple accreditation from the three leading global accreditation bodies, namely AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS, account for just 1% (including HKBU Business School) of business schools worldwide – this helps a lot in narrowing down the options.

Secondly, what do users say about it?

When it comes to things like online shopping and restaurant booking, consumers nowadays are generous in sharing their experience. These reviews provide an excellent summary of first-hand experience from real users.

Authenticity matters, and the same applies to education – the difference is that customer reviews for business schools may not be easily available, unlike restaurant or product reviews. Hence, the first step applicants should take is to check the schools’ websites for student blogs or sharing.

Professor Snape suggests that those schools that feature students’ opinions may value their voices more. This may also reflect a close relationship between the School and students – which must be a good sign.

Browsing around LinkedIn to look for the professional profiles of the schools’ alumni may also help better provide a complete picture of the schools’ graduate prospects.

Thirdly, how many and what programmes is it offering?

Business is a broad spectrum of studies that includes both general business and also specialised functions (e.g., Finance, Accounting, Marketing or HRM) and industries (e.g., fintech). As an applicant you may already have a clear mind whether or not you want to specialise at this stage.

It is equally important, however, to explore the list of programmes that a school offers, as it gives applicants an idea of whether it would fit with students needs and career interests. It can also provide a feeling of how well the school is able to meet society’s need for talents.

For example, as mentioned in the introduction, technology is leading the development of the world today and tomorrow, and business is no exception. Fintech and Data Analytics are two of the key areas requiring talents with a high level of literacy in both technology and business applications.

Schools offering specialist programmes like these while also providing generalist programmes like MBA and MSc in Business Management may be able to provide a more comprehensive learning journey for students in all their programmes.

Fourthly, how supportive is the School to students?

This means providing all round support throughout the students’ learning journey – from the admission process to scholarship provision, from equipping students with academic knowledge to insights from industry insiders, from helping students to find their own paths to providing practical work experience, from a strong and supportive alumni network to a well-connected career service centre.

How supportive a school is to students says a lot about how much they care about students’ well-being and prospects. That is what students care about as well, right?

Fifthly, what and how did it do in the pandemic?

Ever since the outbreak of the global pandemic, online learning has become a staple for all schools. Amid all the changes, transparency and responsive communication between the school and its students are crucial. Having said that, schools do vary in how successfully they have managed the pandemic and its impact.

Professor Snape said, “This brings us back to point 2 – students’ sharing may have something to say about these issues. From on- and off-campus hygiene measures, software and hardware preparedness, to teachers’ digital savviness and the adequacy of digital materials – these are the areas that applicants should pay much attention to, especially when no one has a solid answer as to when the pandemic is going to end.”

Professor Snape emphasized, “Please think about these five questions when choosing a business school. Taking some time to think this through will pay dividends in future.”

Connect with HKBU School of Business to acquire more information about studying business in Hong Kong.

1. HKBU stands for Hong Kong Baptist University, one of the well-known universities in Hong Kong;
2. AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS are the three leading global accreditation bodies for business schools. AACSB is the abbreviation for the “Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business” found in 1916 in the United States. AMBA is “The Association of MBAs” found in the United Kingdom in 1967, and EQUIS stands for “The European Quality Improvement System” established firstly in Europe by EFMD since 1997.