"If I had to use one word to describe what I've gained from the program, it would be 'confidence'," noted Ngai. "The program is particularly useful for me in making business decisions confidently."
Decision-making is a critical process for all senior executives. As a program for executives across all business functions, regardless of marketing, finance, IT or operations, the EMBA program provides a framework to make this process a science rather than art. As a science, decisions are made after considering all the available options and after analyzing pros and con from various perspectives. "A majority of the program is about applying this framework to make efficient decisions in different scenarios," added Ngai.
Applying theories in the real world
Ngai found theories and frameworks from the EMBA program were particularly helpful when HKJC's IT group was going through a transformation. By applying organizational behavior and structure theory, he was able to assist the consolidation of two departments, IT infrastructure services and operation services, efficiently.
"Deciding to merge them either by functions or by technical expertise was one of the major decisions I had to make," he said.
By applying the decision-making framework and understanding the organization structure models, he was equipped with tools to better understand the impact of different options.
"If it is structured by technical expertise, the pool of technicians becomes more centralized--this is a structure that would work for organizations that are more centralized," he said. "This is the kind of theory I learned in the EBMA program that I could bring back to the organization and apply."
In addition to theories and methodologies, Ngai finds interaction with his peers--and the relationships built through these interactions--most valuable of all.
As the EMBA program is designed senior management and executives, only students with senior management experience are admitted, creating a pool of knowledge and experience. Putting a group of elite leaders in a classroom creates an environment that breaks down the business-agenda boundaries each individual invariably brings.
"Within the program, we were all classmates, instead of potential business partners or competitors," he said. "The environment encouraged us to freely share our experiences, both successes and failures. Since all of us come from major corporations, these cases are often sensitive. But as classmates, the priority is to learn from each other, thus we were more comfortable to share. That's the number one benefit."
An experience that lasts
Ngai said that the relationships, insights and knowledge acquired from the EMBA program has a lasting and direct impact towards an individual. "The EMBA program is tailored to enhance an individual. It provides multiple paths and options for an individual to achieve breakthrough to one's career," he said.