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26 March 2010

HKUST Business School, Top 10 in the World Celebration Reception
President's Speech

The Honorable Michael Suen, Chairman Dr Marvin Cheung, the Honorable KC Chan, Prof Leonard Cheng, distinguished leaders of Hong Kong, ladies and gentlemen:

It's party time again! I have only been here six months, and already this is the second time I have been called upon to celebrate our Business School's magical success. Back in November last year, we celebrated the second time that our KH-EMBA got its global No 1 ranking in three years. Come to think of it. How many times does Hong Kong ever become no 1 in the world in anything? When we won the East Asian Games soccer tournament last year, we felt we were on top of the world. But this is much bigger. This is like being the World Cup champion in higher education. This is without doubt Hong Kong's single most successful school! This is where amazing happens! Our Business School's dizzying achievements are not just the pride of the university, but should be seen as the pride of Hong Kong, regardless of which university you belong to! Today, we are here to mark our MBA program's top-ten ranking in the world. When you think that in the US alone, there are more than 2000 MBA programs on offer, you know just how unbelievable this is!

Don't forget our Business School is only 19 years old. ! In 2000, our MBA program was ranked no 70. Ten years later, we are at No. 9. I honestly don't know how our professors at the Business School do it. If our Dean Leonard tells me that his team of professors can walk on water, I will believe it. The way his team keeps piling up the honors, I am just thankful that we do our toasting with champagne and not with mao-tai. Drinking champagne is becoming a very necessary ability for an HKUST president.

Our Business School and our university have done very well on international rankings. But there is another informal and invisible ranking you may not know about, but which we at the University are acutely aware of. I call it the "Poachings Rankings". You know our academic talents and leaders are often hotly headhunted by other universities or agencies. For example, our Business School has contributed many leadership talents to Hong Kong society within recent years, which we are happy to do. Our founding dean Yuk Shee was lured away to be President of Lingnan University, followed by KC Chan who joined the SAR government as the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury. Steve DeKrey, our MBA and EMBA program Director, took up the chairmanship of the influential American Chamber of Commerce last year, the first time that it was headed by an academic. I am just thankful that Leonard is staying put, but I know he has been sitting on I don't know how many government committees or commissions. So, you can call us the cradle of talents for our city!

I want to thank our guest of honor the Honorable Michael Suen, our Secretary for Education for joining in today's celebrations. I know he shares our belief that Hong Kong's future depends on its ability to train and retain talents. He can see that HKUST has been true to its founding mandate to help drive Hong Kong's economic development. If you want to start developing Hong Kong into an education hub, I say this University is a good place to start.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our donors and supporters. You are an important part of our success. Don't you feel good tonight about supporting this school, and this university? Academic greatness doesn't grow on trees. It grows on your generosity and support.

I am not a fortune-teller or feng-shui master, but I can safely predict that this University and this School will keep doing Hong Kong proud year after year. Our founding President Prof Chia-wei Woo shares my prediction. He is at this very moment receiving his own personal honor with an honorary degree in Macau. He has asked me to convey his heartiest congratulations to our Business School colleagues and to the University on our latest achievement. Believe me, Prof Woo is a good fortune-teller. When he says that HKUST's bigger days are yet to come, I am not going to bet against him. When we are now at No. 9, can No.1 be far behind ?

Thank you.


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