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Wilfred Leung, General Manager, Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease

Job title: General Manager
Company: Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease
Year of Graduation: Manchester Global MBA Class of 2016

I was trained as a scientist with no prior business education. After working in non-profit organization management for a few years, I realize it would be essential to learn the management skills and knowledge in a structured and systematic manner. Manchester Global MBA offers the flexibilities and practicality which helps to keep a good balance between studies, work and personal commitments. The teaching puts an emphasis on the practice-based approach with the Manchester Method, learning by doing, with real life case studies and projects.

The school has been in Hong Kong for over 20 years with a local team providing excellent support to the students. Each student is provided with access to the wealth of online teaching materials and the electronic library at Manchester. The University of Manchester has an extensive network of alumni in Hong Kong with diversified professional backgrounds. The MBS Alumni Association (China) is one of the most active alumni communities globally with regular networking and social events held throughout the year. The Centre also organizes regular professional seminars and joint business schools events for students and alumni.

Why did you originally choose this MBA?
I was looking for a programme with flexibilities. The Manchester Global MBA part-time programme uses a Blended Method with online sessions combined with face-to-face workshops taught by academic staff from the University of Manchester. The programme also provides opportunities for students to take workshops in any of the 6 locations in the world, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Sao Paulo and Manchester, facilitating meaningful interactions between the students from different parts of the world. While in Hong Kong, there is already a good diversity within each intake with students from mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, America and Europe, in addition to those from Hong Kong.

The academic quality of the programme was also one of the major considerations. The University of Manchester is one of the prestigious business schools in the world with triple accreditation (AMBA, EQUIS, AACSB), and enjoys a top ranking globally. It is one of the first two business schools established in UK and has a long history of academic excellence.

What have you gained from it?
I was trained as a scientist with no prior business education. The programme has equipped me with the management skills and knowledge which I can apply for my work in the non-profit sector. The programme keeps a good balance between the theories and actual practice. It has an emphasis on the practice-based approach with the Manchester Method, learning by doing, with a number of real life case studies and projects which we found very useful.

Which aspects of the course were most challenging?
Studying for an MBA is a serious commitment and does require a significant input of time and efforts, even as a part-time student. It was a challenge to keep a good balance between studies, work and personal commitments. We all learnt from the beginning how important it was to keep a good time management between our different commitments and stay focused throughout our programme.

Overall, which aspects exceeded your expectations?
The amount of time needed for the studies should not be overlooked lightly, it was demanding but not something impossible to achieve. After all, time management and prioritization are also important parts of the business school training. It was worthwhile when I found I could apply what I learnt in my daily work later. It has broadened my horizons and enabled me to see things with different perspectives.

How important was the interaction with other students/alumni?
An MBA is not just about studying, there are opportunities for you to expand your network with fellow students and alumni. We organized our own student study groups, supporting each other in workshop preparation and academic reading. The University of Manchester have an extensive network of alumni in Hong Kong with diversified professional backgrounds. The Manchester Business School Alumni Association (China) is one of the most active alumni communities globally with regular networking and social events held throughout the year. The Centre also organizes regular professional seminars and joint business schools networking events with opportunities to meet with students and alumni from other business schools. Valuable insights and knowledge could be gained by talking with these alumni as they have gone through the same learning path before with a wealth of experience.

What is your current job title/role and what do you hope to do next?
I am the general manager of Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease. As the agency head of this community foundation focusing on dementia care and education, I oversee the fundraising functions, project management and general administration of the Foundation. In Hong Kong, it is estimated that there are now over 110,000 people with dementia and this number is expected to rise to 273,000 by 2036 with the increasing elderly population. Dementia does not affect just the individuals, but also the lives of their family members. These caregivers, with much of their time and efforts focusing on looking after their affected family members, are so often being overlooked in the society and do need more support for their well being. I hope to be able to apply the skills and knowledge I learnt in the non-profit sector, to help enhancing the dementia awareness in the society so that we all will be better prepared for the increasing elderly population and its related issues.

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