VIETNAM may still cling to its Marxist political philosophy but when it comes to business it embraces everything the capitalist world has to offer. This was highlighted recently with the establishment of Vietnam's first MBA programme in Hanoi. Called the Vietnam Management Initiative it is a US$1.5-million joint venture between the National Economics University (NEU) in Hanoi and the Poon Kam Kai Institute of Management at the University of Hongkong. The Swedish International Development Authority is financing the project which will eventually lead to the establishment of a full-time, two-year Masters of Business Administration degree course in Vietnam. Ms Suzanne Hosley, the project manager in Hanoi, said: ''Those taking part in the first programme will be a combination of commercial managers and academics from the NEU. ''Apart from learning how to run a business, the NEU faculty will be taught how to deliver management education to internationally-accepted standards, including researching and writing local case-studies and supervising research projects.'' She said the objective of the programme is to help staff at the NEU manage and deliver their MBA and executive programmes by the mid-1990s. ''It is all part of the Vietnamese goal of doi-moi [renovation] - the process of economic liberalisation incorporating greater autonomy of state enterprises, encouragement of private business and foreign investment and relaxation of many price controls,'' Ms Hosley said. ''The participants on the programme may know something about how commercial enterprises operate but only in theory. They will not know, for example, what managing working capital, financing a business start-up or running a major marketing campaign means in practice. ''To change this, we will need to use every teaching technique in the book, from role-play exercises through to full-blown simulations and actual problem-solving in creating and managing an enterprise. ''Part of the programme will involve them in producing a business plan and dealing with such issues as defining a product or service, attracting finance, finding the premises and recruiting staff,'' she said. According to Professor Ngo Dinh Giao, vice-rector of the NEU: ''The project is very important in helping to meet the NEU's strategic objective of becoming the leading institution in economics and business education in Vietnam.''