The hong kong University of Science and Technology's joint undergraduate program has its first batch of graduates.
The self-funded World Bachelor in Business, or WBB, program, in partnership with the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and Milan's Bocconi University, was officially launched in October 2012.
Students spend a year at each of the three universities. In the fourth year, they can opt for the city where they want to start their career.
"Our program is to nurture global leaders who aspire to develop a career in international and multinational firms, perhaps with headquarters in Hong Kong, Shanghai or New York," said WBB program director Stephen Nason.
WBB students have landed internships or full-time positions at major corporations such as Google, HSBC, Amazon, UBS and Morgan Stanley.
The first batch of graduates said they have acquired skills and networking for employment.
Hong Kong-born Sophia Lim has a grasp of different cultures as she traveled to Argentina, New Zealand, Vancouver and Japan. She also completed internships at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Boao Forum for Asia, Walt Disney Company and Microsoft Corporation.
She will start working as a business technology analyst at Deloitte in New York next month.
"The program provides different kinds of support for us," she said. "For example, USC provides a wide range of activities on campus, such as American Sign Language. In Hong Kong, organizations visit HKUST to rally students to take part in different programs comprising a voluntary trip to Burma."
Joseph Samucha, a Chinese-Israeli, said the program's alignment provides an unparalleled experience. He landed internship opportunities at PointRF in New York, Blue Umbrella in Hong Kong and Allianz in Munich. At USC, he joined TAMID Group, a consulting and investment organization started by Israeli students. "I have been involved in consulting projects, as well as some investment competitions, where my interests came from," he said. "There are many resources that we can reach."
In his third year, he joined Bocconi Students Consulting Club, a student-run association offering career advice. "It was a big step toward my career decision as I understood how the consulting world actually works," Samucha said. Now he has secured a consulting job in Hong Kong.
Meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee a seat, though.
Apart from high school grades, SAT (originally Scholastic Assessment Test) and Test of English as a Foreign Language scores, interviews and letters of recommendation are equally important.
"We are looking for students who have IQ and EQ, as well as global leadership potential," Nason said.
The total cost for four years is about HK$900,000: a year at USC is US$51,442 (HK$402,489); at HKUST HK$200,000; and Bocconi 18,000 euros (HK$165,530).
For the fourth year, tuition fee and accommodation are charged according to the university selected. The scholarship is expected to cover up to half of the fees.
Accommodation is estimated to cost US$16,071 at USC and 7,000 euros at Bocconi.
For next year's entry, students have until December 1 to make an application.