Get back on track with your study in 2022 with HKUST | Inquirer Business

Get back on track with your study in 2022 with HKUST

/ 09:00 AM January 07, 2022

Of all the negative social impacts of COVID-19, one that has been particularly concerning for the Philippines has been its struggle to resume face-to-face classes. With the Philippines being one of the last countries in the world to reopen schools, its students at all levels have been unable to fully benefit from their academic programs. 

Now, a new option is opening up in proximity at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) for Filipino students to get their study back on track. In Hong Kong, many universities have fully resumed face-to-face teaching in the new academic year, with HKUST being one of the first to announce such an arrangement. 

HKUST study

HKUST’s beautiful campus by the sea at Clear Water Bay in Hong Kong.

Neil Sy, who entered the Global Business (GBUS) and Finance Program at HKUST after graduating from the Xavier School in Manila, says there was little disruption to his study even during the onslaught of the pandemic.

“HKUST was a first-mover to the online space – though the pandemic struck in the beginning of 2020, we were smoothly onboarded into full-time interactive online classes in February, consulting with professors and using breakout rooms to facilitate small group discussions,” said Neil, now in his third year of study. “Many enrichment events such as case competitions and internship programs remained uninterrupted during the pandemic – not to mention that we’re now back to physical education. I have learned even more from my driven peers and other professionals in banking, finance, and other industries at HKUST.”

HKUST study

Neil gains a rewarding internship experience working on the Innovation & Business Entrepreneurship team at Vitasoy International, a leading F&B cooperation in Hong Kong.

“In particular, my internship experience in branding, corporate finance, and corporate sustainability at Vitasoy has helped sharpen my business acumen and analytical skills,” he added.

As a business student, Neil came to study in Hong Kong because of the city’s leading position as a global financial center, and he chose HKUST among other local options for its global rankings, prestige, and the international reputation of its graduates. 

“The GBUS program is highly sought-after in Hong Kong — its graduates work in top banking and finance firms such as Deutsche Bank, HSBC, and J.P. Morgan, as well as diverse industries spanning consulting, retail, marketing, and communications,” he said. 

Throughout the nine years from 2013 to 2021, HKUST graduates were ranked between the world’s 10th to 26th most employable by the Global Employability University Ranking and Survey, commissioned by the Times Higher Education.

A young and international university 

Having just turned 30 years old, HKUST has risen to international prominence in a short period of time. Claiming 34th in the QS World University Rankings 2022 and 2nd in the QS Top 50 Under 50 2021, the University gains global recognition and attracts a high proportion of international undergraduate students for its teaching and research reputation. 

The University is in close ties with over 310 regional and global partners including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oxford University, Tsinghua University, Facebook, Tencent and many more, offering its students valuable opportunities for internships, study exchanges, and research collaborations.

While the education quality at HKUST is on par or even more superior than many of its counterparts in the US and Europe, its tuition fee is only around half of that in universities of comparable rankings. 

On top of that, HKUST will award for the first time 20 full and half scholarships to high-calibre candidates from selected Asian countries including the Philippines for the 2022 academic year. The University, which values talent beyond those with good academic result, also offers a range of scholarships, support, and funding to students with great ideas and non-academic achievements. 

Interdisciplinary learning to nurture talent that fits future societal needs

Clyde Ang, a top student from Manila who came to study at HKUST four years ago and received multiple scholarships, recently graduated with First Class Honors and HKUST Academic Achievement Medal with a double major in Data Science & Technology and Computer Science. He said one of the reasons that drew him to Hong Kong was its world-class cross-disciplinary education. 

“I believe a man of many talents will become a general demand in the future — this is one of the reasons I chose HKUST as it is a pioneer in interdisciplinary learning,” Clyde said. “Taking courses in mathematics and computer science on a degree co-offered by the Science School and Engineering School, for example, has helped land me a job in mathematical finance and technology.” He is now a quantitative trader at a global proprietary trading firm on return offer from his internship.


A member of the HKUST Robotics Team, Clyde (third left) does a demonstration with the remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) the team developed at the MATE International ROV Competition 2019, where they won the All-Around Champion and Engineering Presentation Champion awards.

HKUST offers many unique programs and initiatives in promoting interdisciplinary education. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), for example, offers junior students an early taste in research under the guidance of senior faculty members. “Major + X” framework, on the other hand, allows students to flexibly combine a science or engineering major with an extended major in an emerging field such as Artificial Intelligence, Fintech or digital media and arts; while the Individualized Interdisciplinary Major (IIM) program offers students the freedom to design their own curriculum with courses from different departments and even different universities.

A foundation for excellence and innovation 

Over 140 faculty, or a quarter of its faculty at HKUST, were rated by Stanford University as the world’s top 2% scientists in 2021. Among HKUST’s acclaimed faculty, Prof. Yeung King-Lun, a De La Salle University alumnus, developed an award-winning antimicrobial coating – one of the earliest protections offered against the coronavirus for a prolonged period. The technology helped athletes stay away from the virus in the Tokyo Olympics and is being adopted in different parts of the world including Southeast Asia. 

Another professor Laurence Delina, a 2019 and 2020 Balik Scientist Award winner of Philippines origin, has been researching just, resilient, and sustainable energy transitions in Southeast Asia, especially in the Philippines.

With a strong culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, HKUST sees the incubation of about 70 to 80 start-up companies by its students, faculty, and alumni every year. In a recent list of the unicorn startups published by Hong Kong X Foundation and CGTN this year, seven out of the 18 unicorns were founded or co-founded by HKUST members.  

The opening of a new chapter

When HKUST’s new campus in Nansha, Guangzhou opens in September 2022, the resources and opportunities available to the HKUST community will be further expanded.  The one-of-a-kind novel curriculum there will not only set example and complement the traditional disciplines at the Hong Kong campus, but it will also become much easier for HKUST members to prototype their ideas with the new campus’ proximity to a planned high-tech park.  

During her time at HKUST, Joy (right) has participated in many regional and international conferences that benefit her research career. Pictured here is the 11th IAGG Asia/Oceania Regional Congress 2019, where over 3,000 international experts came together to discuss public policies that promote the wellbeing of elderly.

Joy Cruz is one of the pioneer students admitted to the HKUST(GZ) Pilot Scheme. Now a Year 3 PhD candidate in Public Policy, she said the breadth and depth of research faculty expertise help cultivate independent, interdisciplinary, and innovative thinking that is essential for a successful research career.

“The program allows you to design the curriculum that fits your own research interests — science, sustainability, social changes — all specializations touch on important areas of public policy. It gives you the opportunity to play to your strengths and level up,” Joy said.

Having participated in national surveys on social issues like aging and social inequalities in the Philippines, Joy is eager to adopt some of the new research tools she learnt in Hong Kong on new survey projects to improve the understanding of demographic and social developments in other parts of Asia.

To learn more about the study opportunities and experiences at HKUST, register for the information session on 11 January, 2022 and get the chance to chat with their professors and students. The deadline for main round application is 14 January, 2022 but late applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis if there are places available.



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