UNSW Business School’s Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) is to cease to offer an MBA in Hong Kong in the face of dwindling enrollment figures.
AGSM’s director, Julie Cogin, explained that numbers had reached the point where the program’s effectiveness vis à vis the in-class sharing of knowledge and experience between participants – a vital component of MBA study – was at risk.
“It is,” she wrote in an email to staff as published by the Australian Financial Review, “very challenging for…important learning exchanges to occur in very small classes,” with the decision taken “based on feedback from students, instructors and colleagues around AGSM.”
It seems the program has fallen victim to an increase in competition for talented MBA students in Hong Kong. The rise of local providers, such as HKUST Business School and the University of Hong Kong notwithstanding, Kellogg runs a joint EMBA in Hong Kong with HKUST and it’s only a year since Chicago Booth moved its EMBA program in Asia from Singapore to Hong Kong, in order to take advantage of its proximity to the changes taking place within China – the world’s second-largest economy – as well as to provide access to the more established opportunities provided by Hong Kong itself.
In this light, the closure of AGSM’s MBA in Hong Kong seems an opportunity lost, but Cogin said that the decision had been under serious consideration for some time and that the school stopped recruiting new students in the middle of the year. Another of Australia’s leading business schools, the Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM), will continue running its MBA in Hong Kong, although MGSM’s dean has admitted that its student numbers have also been down in recent years.
While AGSM is no longer accepting new applications to the program, teaching in Hong Kong will continue until 2017 to ensure those students already enrolled can complete their degrees. However, the program had allowed students to take the program part time in anywhere up to seven years. Therefore, any part-time students that need longer than 2017 to finish will be offered the option of completing either in Sydney or online or even by transferring to a partner school – the school lists HKUST as one of its 30 international exchange partners, for instance.
AGSM’s fully-online MBA degree, which offers a trio of concentrations, was launched at the end of last year.