Atwo-day programme on e-commerce enabled tertiary students to have a better understanding of the booming new profession. The Gen-I Challenge 2000 programme, consisting of four phases, aimed to foster future e- business leaders. On the first day, the 48 participants from different institutions were given intensive briefings on e-business. Later they were split into groups to work out their own e-business proposals. On the second day, they presented their proposals. The winning team was to get a six-week placement at IBM beginning this month. There was also an on-line e- business orientation programme which required applicants to answer nine on-line questions and submit an article in English on their Internet business aspirations. The last programme aimed to develop a network linking the companies and the institutions that participated. A group made up the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Ken Chan Kwok-kin, 22; the City University's Gloria Ho Pui-yun, 19, and Elsie Yu Nga-sin, 20; the University of Hong Kong's Yu Hoi-pang, 23, Vinco Yiu Hon- lung, 21, and Gary Leung Kwan- ho, 19; and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's Simon Chan Ho- kong, 20, and Regina Wong Yee- shuen, 25, won the top prize with a comprehensive proposal on match-making services. Ms Wong said even though it was not a real proposal, the experience she gained from the programme was valuable. 'E-business is without doubt the future trend. It would be to our advantage if we knew more than others at this developing stage,' the first year MBA stu dent said. 'We are very much interested in the industry, but we don't understand it properly yet. This opportunity has allowed us to talk and interact with people who are in the industry and able to answer our queries.' Ms Ho majored in accounting and law. But she joined the programme because she said information technology was relevant to any business. 'It is necessary to keep up with the trend. As computers are being widely used nowadays, everyone should be knowledgable about the technology,' she said. Mr Yiu said he thought emotional intelligence more important than conventional intelligence in the information technology professionals. 'The industry is not looking for rationalists. It requires free- thinking people with a flexible approach.'