Hong Kong growing Master’s intake from Mainland China

08 November 2022

Dr Stan Ho, Adjunct Associate Professor of Finance at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), reviews some current trends in the taught postgraduate programs market, in particular the Master of Finance, in Hong Kong business schools.

Hong Kong is not only an international financial center but also a hub for higher education in Asia. A number of HK universities are featured in many global university rankings. The EMBA and MBA programs offered by HK universities are also highly ranked in e.g. FT EMBA and MBA rankings.

The pre-experience Master programs offered by business schools in Hong Kong have been attracting a lot of applications in particular from the final year students in their undergraduate studies in Mainland China. It is reported in the media that there are now more than 10 million graduates from universities and tertiary institutes in China every year. The job market has become very competitive and most entry level jobs in the banking and finance sector in China now require a postgraduate degree. Apart from studying PG programs in China, most students now go overseas for their master studies including Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and the US.

However, the global political landscape and the COVID situation has changed many parents’ preference for their children to go to HK and Singapore in the recent years. Hence there is a big inflow of applicants for various Master business programs in Hong Kong, with the Master of Finance attracting the highest number of applications. This is not a surprise as Hong Kong is one of the major financial centers in the world.

Each Master of Finance program usually admits between 80 and 200+ students every year, and the full year school fee ranges from HKD200,000 to over HKD400,000. The applicant number is on average six to ten times the number of students finally enrolled. Hence it is very competitive to get successfully admitted to these Master of Finance programs, especially at the top three universities (HKUST, CUHK and HKU) in Hong Kong. The full-time students (which occupy more than 95% of the student class) mainly come from the Mainland, with the part-time students from Hong Kong.

ESG, green and fintech are getting a lot of attention in Hong Kong. Many banking and finance professionals are taking different certifications like EFFAS CESGA and CFA Certificate in ESG Investing to enhance their ESG knowledge and increase their job market capabilities as candidates. Many Master of Finance programs already have elective courses on these topics taught by the adjunct faculty and industry practitioners as the guest speakers.

For instance, HKUST Master of Science in Finance program currently offers electives in ESG Investing, Fintech Analytics, Fintech (the Future of the Financial Industry) and Green Finance etc. PolyU School of Accounting and Finance is planning the launch of the Master of Science in ESG and Sustainability in the academic year 2023/24. Master of Finance programs in Hong Kong are closely following the latest industry trends to equip their students with the necessary knowledge to be relevant to their future employers upon graduation.

Dr. Stan Ho, the Adjunct Associate Professor of Finance at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), EFFAS CESGA®, MCIArb, HKMAAL Accredited General Mediator, MBA (Cambridge) and DBA (CityU HK)


Photo by Nitin Sharma

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