Expanding Our Footprint in Asia

kumarBy now, many of you have learned that Chicago Booth plans to relocate its Asia Executive MBA Program to Hong Kong, while maintaining a robust presence in Singapore. It is an exciting opportunity for the school and the university to expand and consolidate our footprint in Asia. This important decision was made after much research and deliberation, and with careful consideration of input from many faculty, staff, students, alumni, and government and community leaders.

Last year at this time, I wrote to you about a new report on the school's global strategy by a committee of our faculty. Based on the report and the wide-ranging input from all of you, we assessed our presence in Asia and our ability to meet the strategic goals of the institution going forward. These goals include: influencing and educating current and future business leaders in all major markets - including those from China, the second-largest market in the world; deepening diversity in our classroom; increasing the awareness of Booth in the largest and most diverse markets in Asia; and continuing to develop strong corporate relationships across all of Asia.

It became clear that we would need to expand our footprint in Asia outside of a single location in order to continue to achieve our strategic goals. So upon further study, it was decided that a campus presence in Hong Kong for our Executive MBA Program as well as a continued robust presence in Singapore would provide more platforms from which we can continue to support our programs, students and alumni, and build the Chicago Booth brand. Hong Kong was chosen because of its prime location in Asia, in addition to being a premier financial and business city. We believe that it has the potential to attract an outstanding student base. In addition, Booth has a strong alumni network in Hong Kong and the support of the Hong Kong government.

The expansion also allows Booth to take advantage of and contribute to the University of Chicago's overall engagement in Asia and expansion of many activities there. Booth now has two very important bases in Asia: Singapore and Hong Kong. The university has a Center in Beijing and intends to open a center in New Delhi. Combined with other carefully orchestrated outreach activities in Asia, we hope to have a substantial presence in the region, perhaps one that is not easily matched by other Western institutions. 

The decision to relocate the Asia Executive MBA Program to Hong Kong is not without risks, of course. There are programmatic risks associated with starting a new program in a relatively crowded marketplace, as well as political risks. But, the upside potential outweighs these risks, in our estimation.

Many steps need to be taken before the Hong Kong campus is complete. While the Hong Kong government has granted Booth conditional approval for the Ex-Victoria Road Detention Centre site on Mount Davis, the westernmost hill on Hong Kong Island, a final land grant is subject to local accreditation, town planning, and preservation approval. The search for a world-class architect is under way. We are very excited about the opportunity in Hong Kong and are looking forward to developing the site into an outstanding and iconic campus facility. Our new associate dean for global outreach, William Kooser, '81, will be based in Hong Kong to help raise visibility in the region, coordinate our project management efforts, and help get this new project off the ground. Bill and I have received many offers from alumni in the region interested in being a part of the project. It's great to know that others are excited by this opportunity as well.

The Asia Executive MBA Program will continue to operate in Singapore for the next two years. The June 2013 incoming class will complete the program in Singapore and the June 2014 incoming class will start and finish in a temporary site in Hong Kong, at the Cyberport office community. Even beyond 2015, we plan on having a robust presence in Singapore to offer nondegree executive education, support marketing and admissions, career services, and alumni relations, at a site to be determined. A continued presence in Singapore will allow us to maintain and build on the momentum created in Southeast Asia and continue to recruit top students from the region. The combination, we believe, will place us in a stronger position to meet the school's long-term goals.

I am most appreciative of the input and support we have received from across the Booth community both during the decision process and since the decision was announced this summer. I look forward to your continued support as we move into this next phase of our presence in Asia.

Sunil Kumar
Dean and George Pratt Shultz Professor of Operations Management

Photo by Matthew Gilson


Last Updated 1/16/14