By Matthias Ribback, former MSc in Banking and Finance student (graduation in 2017)
I obtained both my study degrees from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and Lingnan University in the year 2017. A precondition for obtaining a dual degree was to spend one semester in Hong Kong. I did so completing my third semester of the MSc in Banking and Finance there. I was privileged to spend an incredibly exciting and formative time at Lingnan University, Hong Kong.
Lingnan University is situated outside «Downtown Hong Kong» and has some 3000 students. According to Lingnang Univesity, the Department of Economics running this Master programme is one of the five top research institutions in China. What makes this university unique is its «liberal arts» orientation, intended to promote a wide humanistic education.
Programme of study
As far as the curriculum of the MSc in International Banking & Finance (MIBF) is concerned, this is widely similar to our MSc in Banking and Finance at the Lucerne School of Business. There is one difference though that (after completing a foundation course) students from other disciplines are also admitted to the MIBF. Resulting in heterogeneity of students from all sorts of different disciplines, this has an enriching effect. On the other hand, everybody’s previous knowledge also varies widely. In addition, the MIBF program is a one-year full-time programme. There is a very diverse mix of students: Some 70% of my classmates came from mainland China, 10% from Hong Kong, and 20% were international students. The autumn semester commenced at the end of August and ended with the last exams just before Christmas.
Subjects and examinations
Lingnan's curriculum offered many interesting courses. Final exams take place some 2 weeks after the last lecture has been held, and they count towards the final grade at a weighting of 50%. The remaining 50% of your grade is made up from dissertations, projects and active participation during the semester.
There are various options as to where to stay. On the one hand, it is possible to stay right on campus, something which will certainly foster close relations with your classmates. However, it takes about an hour to reach Downtown Hong Kong from the university. And you want to go Downtown quite often.
I personally stayed at a student flat (“Campus Hong Kong”) situated in between Lingnan University and the centre of Hong Kong. That way, I got to know plenty of students from other universities, too, and I was not confined to waiting at a club for the first tube (MTR) back in case I had spent a longish night in Lan Kwai Fong.
The structure of the dual degree
The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and Lingnan University secretariats are quite fast as far as processing is concerned. However, you will still allow sufficient time for visa applications, the IELTS English test, etc. In total, I spent about 15,000 CHF for the whole semester in Hong Kong (study fees, accommodation, food, flights, other travels, etc.). For those doing the CFA, Lingnan University proved itself to be quite generous. The examination fee is paid by the university for as long as you pass the CFA exam.
Must-dos in Hong Kong
The city has lots and lots to offer, and no doubt you will experience some unique adventures. A wonderful place to start a party and eat is «Mr. Wong’s». Then go on to Lan Kwai Fong, and you can’t ever go wrong! Of course, the city also has plenty to offer from a historical and cultural viewpoint, and away from the high-rises, nature invites you to take a ramble. A speedboat will take you to Macao in just 40 minutes, where you can gamble away your grant in no time if you so wish. Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam are not that far away either and definitely worth a trip. You will complete all your exams at the Lingnan University before Christmas, and will only have to restart again at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in February.
I personally benefited immensely from the diversity of characters I came into contact with. It was very refreshing to hear totally different views - no matter if this involved discussions about politics, the economy or personal goals in life. I can only recommend a stay at the Lingnan University to you; you won't regret it!