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If I can obtain a PhD at my advanced age, anybody with enough perseverance can do it.

Ir Dr Peter Wong Kwok-keung, GBS, SBS, JP

DBA graduate

Awardee of Outstanding PolyU Alumni Award 2017

Chairman and CEO, the Kum Shing Group

“If I can obtain a PhD at my advanced age, anybody with enough perseverance can do it.”

In 2016, aged almost 70, Ir Dr Wong Kwok-keung finished his Doctor of Business Management study at PolyU. He was the oldest PhD student and also the one who finished the study in the shortest period of time at the university. Dr Wong is a model for students, a real-life example of PolyU’s advocacy for lifelong learning.

Chairman and CEO of the Kum Shing Group, Dr Wong was admitted to the higher diploma in structural engineering programme at the then Hong Kong Technical College in late 1960s but he failed to move on to second year because of unsatisfactory academic results. Undeterred, he worked at his father’s company at daytime, and studied for a structural engineering degree in the evening. Later on, he obtained a master’s degree in civil foundation engineering in Canada. He worked for various well-known international engineering consultancy companies before emigrating to Canada and getting professional qualification from the UK Institution of Civil and Structural Engineers. In 1985, he returned to Hong Kong to inherit his father’s business. In the span of 30 years, the small-scale family business grew to have more than 3,000 staff and an annual business turnover of HK$1.6 billion.

Driven by a desire to learn, Dr Wong completed the PolyU Doctor of Business Management programme when he was nearly 70. “I had never graduated from PolyU so all along I wanted to challenge myself to finish a programme there.” He also wanted to prove his way of running a business with academic input. He had thought of giving up while studying. “I am old and my memory was fading.” But finally he managed to finish the three-year programme in two years.

In 2017, Dr Wong was honoured as an outstanding PolyU alumnus. He was also appointed as the Professor of Practice (Quality Management) of PolyU’s Faculty of Business Logistics and Maritime Studies. For years, Dr Wong has taken up various public duties, promoting the development of the local architecture industry, besides making other social contributions through the Kum Shing WKF Education and Charity Foundation he set up in 1996.


The above is an English translation of a story abridged from the Chinese book “Heartening Stories” published by PolyU in 2017.


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