Winter 2009

Feature Story

Your Haas Network

Andrew (Chi Fai) Chan, MBA 79
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies
Director, Executive MBA Program
The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Andrew Chan, MBA 79, has been an innovator, a builder of bridges between cultures, and a balancer of theory and practice in his distinguished academic career at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). And he credits Berkeley as a major reason for his success.

“My Berkeley experience taught me to think out of the box, to think big — that anything is possible, and that we should care about society,” Chan says.

He has been applying those lessons for years as a senior administrator and marketing professor at CUHK’s Faculty of Business Administration, and specifically in the school’s Executive MBA Program, where he is the second director in the program’s history. He has incorporated novel activities that build on three pillars: a blend of theory and practice; a strong emphasis on networking; and links between China and the rest of the world. The program, ranked #11 among executive MBA programs worldwide by the Financial Times, balances the cultures, philosophies, and business practices of East and West.

“We are not just helping students to be wealthier or make them more marketable in their careers,” Chan says. “The motive is to develop real leaders who can bring society into a better place.”

Chan‘s innovations include bringing in top corporate executives as guest speakers for a Sunday radio show operated by the MBA program, which is transcribed and printed in local newspapers and books. The program also has its own television show modeled after the PBS show CEO Exchange. Students help run all the activities.

After his undergraduate studies at CUHK, Chan was selected for a special scholarship program between Chinese U. and Berkeley that allowed him to study business at Cal. Energized by the fine teaching of Professors David Aaker, Pete Bucklin, and Andy Shogan, Chan raced through his Berkeley MBA education in 12 months, thanks to exemption exams, heavy course loads, and summer study. “This was Hong Kong style,” he says, referring to his native city's fast pace. “I wanted to get back quickly to contribute.”

Chan always wanted to be a business professor but believed “it would be good for me to first get concrete work experience.” After working for Bank of America and IBM for a few years, he began teaching business at a small college in Hong Kong. He earned his Ph.D. in 1993 while teaching full-time at CUHK. “It was a twoperson job, but as a young chap I could do it,” says Chan, who has been on the CUHK faculty ever since.

Besides academia, Chan sits on the three-member Hong Kong Electoral Affairs Commission, which is charged with ensuring fair and honest local elections. He is also chairman of the Hong Kong Bank Deposit Protection Board, akin to the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which oversees bank deposits in these financially perilous times.

Outside of business, Chan is an accomplished singer of old Chinese song and performs several times per year. He is married without children. “I treat my students as my kids,” he says. “This is part of our family culture — it’s very Chinese.”

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Andrew (Chi Fai) Chan,

MBA 79