A Convergence of World-Class Scholars
An Interview with Professor Xu Huang and Professor Christy Cheung of the School of Business
Since its inception in 1956, the School of Business has grown from strength to strength, and has nurtured generations of business leaders for the region. Besides gaining worldwide recognition for its achievements in teaching and research, the School is amongst the 1% of the global business schools accredited by the three leading international accreditation bodies that focus on business education, AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), AMBA (The Association of MBAs) and EQUIS (The European Foundation for Management Development Quality Improvement System).
Powered by world-class scholars, the School is celebrating its 65th Anniversary this year. According to an index compiled by Stanford University this year, two faculty members of the School have been ranked the world’s top 2% of most-cited scientists. They are Professor Xu Huang, Associate Dean (Research and Postgraduate Studies) and Chair Professor of Department of Management; and Professor Christy Cheung, Professor of Department of Finance and Decision Sciences. The two scholars strive for research excellence in their academic journey. Professor Huang hopes to nurture more world-class scholars within the School by creating a favourable environment for academic research. Professor Cheung wants to conduct more impactful research for benefiting the community, and also is dedicated to enhancing the scholarly quality of her research students.
The Boundless Frontier of Knowledge
When talking about his strategy of striving for excellence, Professor Huang humbly said that it is simply because he has always loved exploring science since childhood. He believes that ranking in the academia is a natural outcome of one’s research efforts. Professor Huang’s research interests cover a wide range of subjects including leadership, cross-cultural management and employee well-being etc. Upon joining HKBU, Professor Huang has committed himself to creating an academically stimulating environment for the School that is conducive to exploration and discovery of knowledge. In the capacity of Associate Dean, he has reviewed the appraisal system for academic staff. Consequently, the “Scholarly Quality and Impact” of an academic staff as vigorously assessed by world renowned scholars has been included as one of the evaluation criteria for research performance, which could help reduce the pressure of academic staff in chasing after quantity in research. Meanwhile, Professor Huang emphasizes that knowledge has no boundary. Even a colleague has published his/her research findings in a non-business journal, his/her academic achievement would still be recognised. Professor Huang has also strived for more research funds and resources for colleagues and attempts to enhance their remuneration package. All these efforts aim at raising the research capability and potential of the School to the highest international standards.
A Unique Learning Experience
Besides promoting research development, Professor Huang is also Director of the MBA and MSc Business Management (MScBM) Programmes of the School. In this regard, he places great emphasis on the core values and unique features of these programmes so as to help raise the School’s reputation on the Mainland, especially in the Greater Bay Area. Professor Huang stresses that the MScBM programme serves as a bridge for students to set foot in the Greater China region. He puts great efforts in enhancing students’ learning experience. Besides organising overseas company visits for students, he has invited over 20 companies to provide internship opportunities for students, which give students a chance to understand and solve the real-world problems. For instance, he has invited the CEO of Van Gogh Museum to meet with students and jointly brainstorm possible ways and strategies to enter the mainland market. All of the above are valuable experiences to business students. In the face of fierce competition in recruitment of MBA students in Hong Kong, Professor Huang opines that HKBU should highlight its uniqueness. For instance, to provide students with diverse yet unique learning experience on and off campus, the programme has invited retired CEOs and industry experts to give guest lectures, organised high table dinners and company visits in Europe and America, and sent students abroad to participate in the Asia-Pacific Business School Desert Challenge, etc.
Connecting Technology and Society
When talking about why choosing a career in the academia, Professor Christy Cheung said that she actually had not planned for it. Upon completing her studies in Business Statistics, she was recruited as a research assistant. During this tenure, she discovered her interest in research work. Being advised by acquaintance, she continued her studies in information systems and later succeeded in obtaining both the MPhil and PhD degrees. On graduation, she joined HKBU and since then, has focused her research addressing the responsible use of technology and its implications to societal challenges, which aligns well with the concerns of society, such as cyberbullying. Distinguished from other researchers, Professor Cheung’s research promotes social responsibility on the cyber platform, which echoes the School’s advocacy of “corporate social responsibility”. Her research explores the relationship between the cyber platform and the behaviour of its users, and provides guidelines for the cyber content providers to impose proper setting and design features on the platform to prevent cyberbullying. Last year, Professor Cheung was awarded “RGC Senior Research Fellow”, and obtained $7.8 million for her more than sixty-month long research project to tackle cyberbullying.
Inheritance of Scholars
While sharing her experiences in research pursuits, Professor Cheung said that “grasping every opportunity and giving her best” is her motto in each endeavour. She pointed out that it is very common to receive a rejection in the manuscript review process. She always sees it as an opportunity to learn and improve her research works. This makes her a highly productive and impactful researcher with over 200 publications and 20,000 citations. Besides teaching and research, Professor Cheung supervises PhD students, in addition to her duty as Director of Research Postgraduate (RPg) Programme. Thanks to the support and guidance received from the supervisor during her research studies, Professor Cheung realises how important a helpful and caring supervisor is to RPg students. Thus she does spare a lot of time for her RPg students, providing not only advice for their research pursuit but also spending time with them to build up a relationship that is like teachers like friends. Her PhD students have graduated with prestigious placements in numerous overseas universities. Consequently, Professor Cheung was the HKBU’s President’s Award Recipient in Research Supervision in 2020.
Amidst the celebration of the 65th Anniversary of the School of Business, the research outputs of the School have reached international standard. At the same time, the School strives to transfer its know-how, skills and expertise to the productivity of companies. Associate Dean Professor Huang invites alumni to visit their alma mater, to witness the tremendous achievements of the School and the University over the past years, and to support the University’s development for scaling new heights.