A Mission Statement Comparison: University of Cambridge vs. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

In this article, we compare and analyze the mission statements of two quite different higher ed institutions in terms of their foundation date; one is the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (founded in 1991), one of the most successful institutions in the list of youngest universities. The other one is University of Cambridge in United Kingdom which is founded in 1209 and is among the oldest educational institutions across the globe, also being continuously enumerated as one of the most . Let us begin the comparison with an overview of the mission statements of these two institutions:

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST):

source: ust.hk

Mission Statement

To advance learning and knowledge through teaching and research, particularly:
– in science, technology, engineering, management and business studies; and
– at the postgraduate level;
To assist in the economic and social development of Hong Kong.

Core Values:

  • Excellence, Integrity, and Academic Freedom
  • Global Vision and Local Commitment
  • Can-do Spirit
  • Inclusiveness, Diversity, and Respect

University of Cambridge (UCamb):

Source: Guardian



Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence.

Core values

  • freedom of thought and expression
  • freedom from discrimination

In the first glance, one can see that in HKUST mission statement, an emphasis is put on the nation’s economic and social development. On the other hand, UCamb targets the cutting-edge research and education at its highest standards. Moreover, HKUST emphasizes directly on some disciplines including engineering, management and business while UCamb apparently cherishes the science at its most general term (at least in the mission statement).

By looking into the core values, it can be comprehended that HKUST adds more weight to the importance of inclusion and diversity. Despite mentioning “freedom from discrimination” as one of the core values, UCamb does not refer to the inclusion as a goal/value.

All in all, the mission statement and core values of UCamb were well-organized in the sense that the mission statement’s attention revolved mostly around the ambition for excellence at global levels while the core values emphasize on the freedom of thoughts and from discrimination. But in HKUST’s, the mission statement and core values had overlapping interests (nation’s progress, excellence in academic research and education) with a broader attention toward inclusion, diversity and freedom of speech.

2 Replies to “A Mission Statement Comparison: University of Cambridge vs. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology”

  1. The most interesting aspect of your comparison is identifying the overlaps between the two very different universities. You clearly identified the competing interests, which makes the commonalities highly unusual. I would not anticipate “nation’s progress, excellence in academic research and education” from universities located in parts of the world with vastly different cultural perspectives and backgrounds. This reveals the centrality of mission statements and that each educational institution no matter the size or location, they capture the essence of the mission statement genre and its intended purpose. I appreciate you providing such a dichotomy for analysis.

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