Commemorating Five Years of Scholarship in Hong Kong
An anniversary celebration at the Hong Kong campus highlighted Booth’s impact in the Asia-Pacific region, lessons in leadership, social innovation, and more.
- November 27, 2023
Students, alumni, faculty, and staff came together at the Hong Kong campus to commemorate the fifth anniversary of its opening as well as the 125th anniversary of Chicago Booth.
The campus, officially named the Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong, opened in October 2018 as a hub in the Asia-Pacific region for leaders, researchers, and students in science, technology, medicine, research, law, and other areas of study. Built on the iconic Mount Davis, the campus is home to the Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Heritage Courtyard and Interpretation Centre, which invites the surrounding community to learn about the site’s historic importance through guided tours and rotating exhibitions.
The Hong Kong campus also hosts Chicago Booth’s Executive MBA Program Asia, designed for accomplished leaders with extensive professional experience. Nearly 75 percent of students in the program travel to Hong Kong from across the Asia-Pacific region, bringing practical management insights and diverse industry perspectives. The anniversary celebration was an opportunity to welcome the newest cohort of students to campus for the first time.
“We are delighted to reconnect in person with our Asia-based community, including Booth alumni, students, and local partners, to commemorate both the Hong Kong campus’s fifth anniversary and Chicago Booth’s 125 years of offering a transformative global business education,” says Madhav Rajan, dean of Chicago Booth and the George Pratt Shultz Professor of Accounting. “With our unique connection to a leading research institution that is the University of Chicago, Booth continues to produce knowledge and thoughtful and effective leaders whose diverse and groundbreaking ideas create enduring impact in business, policy, governance, and society.”
The daylong event, presented jointly by Booth and UChicago on October 28, highlighted ongoing scholarship at the campus through enlightening sessions on leadership, social innovation, renewable energy, labor force trends, and more.
“All leaders have their own classrooms to learn important lessons about themselves. They only need to know what to work on, and have the tools to practice and track their progress.”
A Story of Human Progress
Faculty presentations kicked off with Harry L. Davis, the Roger L. and Rachel M. Goetz Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Creative Management, who celebrated his own Booth anniversary this year. Davis has been a major force of innovation throughout his 60 years at the school, having introduced LEAD, the first core leadership program of any top-rated MBA program in the country. Booth’s Harry L. Davis Center for Leadership is named for his unparalleled impact on the school and leadership education.
At the Hong Kong celebration, Davis led a captivating discussion on leadership. He recalled how Leon Carroll Marshall, Booth’s fourth dean, portrayed leadership as a story of human progress, dependent on ideals and aspirations as well as the ability to harness nature, be a good communicator, and work collaboratively.
He noted that leaders can emerge in everyday situations without titles or formal authority. “All leaders have their own classrooms to learn important lessons about themselves,” Davis said. “They only need to know what to work on, and have the tools to practice and track their progress.” He added that understanding the context of any given situation is a critical component of successful leardship.
Davis highlighted ongoing as well as new efforts at Booth to prepare the next generation of business students for leadership roles. He emphasized The Chicago Approach™ of teaching students how to build and display identities as both scholar-scientists and arists in order to become impactful leaders.
“It’s clearly important for leaders to have and utilize knowledge that generalizes across different contexts based on scientific inquiry and data,” Davis explained. “At the same time, leaders must display action and insight skills along with their core, visible, and best selves in ways that are quite individualized and therefore authentic.”
New leadership courses at the school—including the Leadership Studio taught by a team of faculty, coaches, and facilitators—focus on personal development; creating a supportive learning community; and learning from experience through practice, experimentation, and observation.
The Importance of Social Innovation
In addition to attending faculty presentations, Booth students and alumni participated in a panel discussion that celebrated social innovation and the vital role social sector leaders play in addressing complex social and environmental challenges.
The panel featured four local industry leaders who participated in The Hong Kong Jockey Club Programme on Social Innovation (HKJCPSI), which is operated by Booth’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation and aims to build capacity, share knowledge, and connect leaders in Hong Kong’s business and social sectors. Kalmond Ma, director for Hong Kong social impact and innovation initiatives at the Rustandy Center, moderated the discussion.
The panelists shared their most memorable experiences in the program and the ways in which they applied the knowledge and skills they gained to effect social change in their work. For Jo Hayes, an Executive MBA student and HKJC scholarship recipient, participating in several HKJCPSI programs accelerated her ability to articulate her vision as CEO of Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong, which aims to both improve housing conditions in the city and build homes overseas.
“We’ve learned to question our assumptions, we’ve learned to ask better questions, and we’ve learned to use data analytics to scale out impact,” Hayes said. “Thanks to the program, we’ve developed our new strategy, gained clarity on who we serve, and we now have a strong vision of the unique value we bring to the Hong Kong social sector.”
Noel Lam, who participated in HKJCPSI’s Global Launchpad for Social Entrepreneurs, appreciated the emphasis on the power of human connection in the face of global challenges, which has been invaluable in her role as founding director of Third Sector Connect, an incubation hub for nonprofits and social enterprises. “The biggest learning from the program was to always keep our team innovative, creative, enthusiastic, passionate, and compassionate,” she said, adding that the program also provided a platform to build a community that learns together and understands each other.
Edmund Chan, who also participated in Global Launchpad, similarly highlighted the importance of a global mindset and partnerships to navigate challenging environments—key takeaways he has applied as cofounder and COO of Meat the Next, a food technology company focused on alleviating climate change and the food crisis.
Vivica Xiong, ’22 (AXP-21), shared that she became aware of her “superpower” with the help of Booth faculty, and that she sees the study of business as essentially the study of human relations. This has been helpful in her role as CEO of Asian Charity Services, which provides pro bono services to Hong Kong–based charities and nonprofits that serve the residents and communities most in need. Xiong—who participated in several HKJCPSI programs, including Scaling Your NGO’s Impact and Nonprofit Core Competency workshops—reminisced about learning the tools and models to showcase problems, solutions, and impacts, as well as their applications in real life that help her look at collaboration through a new lens.
All of the panelists said their HKJCPSI experiences built confidence, encouraged global perspectives, and sparked hope and imagination as leaders in their fields.
“We’ve learned to question our assumptions, we’ve learned to ask better questions, and we’ve learned to use data analytics to scale out impact.”
New Milestones in Sight
In her closing remarks, Ka Yee C. Lee, UChicago’s executive vice president of strategic initiatives, highlighted the university’s role in addressing today’s global challenges, of which the Hong Kong campus will play an integral part by placing faculty and students within the local context.
Dean Rajan reiterated Booth’s disciplined approach to understanding problems: taking fundamentals and applying them to questions of deep social and international impact. He anticipated that the Hong Kong campus would continue to grow and engage more with the local community and ecosystem, promote the university’s spirit of inquiry, and apply rigorous discipline to the most pressing issues of the day.
The Hong Kong anniversary marked the start of a year celebrating the broader university’s legacy of global engagement. In the coming months, UChicago will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Chicago House in Luxor, Egypt; the 10th anniversary of its center in New Delhi; and the opening of the John W. Boyer Center in Paris.
This story was adapted from UChicago News.
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