For 60 years, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and CUHK Business School have nurtured countless exceptional talent for both business and society. Many graduates have later returned to campus to contribute to the school’s development. One of them is Prof. Michael Fung, professor at the Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics. Over the last four decades, his affection for CUHK, the Business School and his students has grown in tandem with his progression from student to teacher. He is also deeply attached to his alma mater’s collegiate system, campus culture and humanistic spirit.
After earning his BSSc in Economics in 1985 at CUHK, Prof. Fung completed his PhD at the University of Western Ontario. He joined CUHK Business School in 1991 and has maintained a passion for academic research and teaching ever since. In 2018, he co-convened Innovation x Business @ CUHK, a tech-business-focused platform connecting students with consulting and academic research opportunities at renowned organisations. He is also the Executive Director of the Aviation Policy and Research Centre, where he has spent years researching and contributing recommendations to Hong Kong’s aviation and economic development.
Nurturing the Next Generation of Credible Business Talent
Prof. Fung has dedicated his life to educating the next generation, and many of his students look up to him. He is best known for his engaging teaching style and his use of real-life examples and current events to help students understand fundamental economic theories. He also encourages students to hone their presentation skills and to combine classroom learning with real-world examples in their group presentations.
More importantly, he motivates students to learn how to build trust with others, saying, “Mutual trust is the foundation of business, and it cannot be feigned. I’m always thinking about how I can inspire students to take risks and challenge themselves. They should also embrace failure and use it as a learning opportunity, adjusting their mindsets and becoming someone in whom others can put their trust.”
Uniting Teachers and Students through Fine Traditions
Prof. Fung maintains high expectations for his students. His profound passion for education has been shaped by CUHK’s unique setting, and it has only grown in depth over time: “What you learn from textbooks is more or less the same everywhere across the world. But CUHK’s collegiate system and hall life have created a distinct social network that brings professors and students from different classes and years together and fosters a sense of belonging to the university and colleges.”
Of all the experiences they gained at CUHK, many graduates say they treasure the friendships they built and the hall activities they participated in the most. Numerous learning opportunities from colleges complement the formal curriculum by helping students develop interpersonal skills, confidence and a sense of mission and responsibility. According to Prof. Fung, “This is a core value among CUHKers. Everyone is eager to carry on this fine tradition.”
In Constant Pursuit of Excellence and Growth Opportunities
CUHK’s expansive campus and beautiful vistas allow every CUHKer to find a corner to call their own. The same is true for Prof. Fung. During his nearly four decades on campus, which saw him transition from student to academic and take on various other roles, he also requires a place to lose himself in thought and restore his energy. “Lake Ad Excellentiam, outside Chung Chi Tang, is where I go for respite. It is here that I can reflect on my shortfallings and enjoy a moment of peace.”
Lake Ad Excellentiam is located in Chung Chi College. Its name in Chinese, the “lake of incomplete circle”, has a double meaning: literally, that the lake is not circular, with irregular shapes and curved corners; and figuratively, that “continued endeavour is necessary to achieve perfection”. This philosophical design is congruent with Prof. Fung’s unrelenting pursuit of excellence.
Prof. Fung sees CUHK’s six decades of business education as just the starting point on the highway of change. He believes that future business will be characterised by constant iteration. While IT and AI present challenges, they also open up limitless possibilities.
He advises students to keep broadening their horizons and not to limit their personal growth by committing to a career path too soon. Instead, they should embrace new challenges and learn to adapt their mindsets to live life with purpose and unlock more opportunities for development.