China's continuing economic transformation and its imminent entry into the World Trade Organisation have created a greater need for mainland executives to acquire management skills and experience. The University of Hong Kong has identified this need, and its School of Business has teamed up with the School of Management of Fudan University in Shanghai to launch a Master of Business Administration (International) programme for mainland Chinese executives. The international MBA is the first non-local programme approved by China's Ministry of Education. Dr Maurice Tse Kwok-sheng, programme director of the School of Business, said: 'One objective of the International MBA is to enable mainland Chinese executives to deal with management and business issues related to the China market and enterprise reforms.' The programme aims 'to provide advanced management education with a multi-disciplinary approach, and an international perspective with emphasis on the Asian region, and to provide an opportunity for candidates to specialise in a number of fields in management and to develop essential managerial skills in international business settings'. It is open to graduates with a degree from the University of Hong Kong or an equivalent qualification, and have attained a satisfactory level of performance in the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or equivalent. Candidates may also have to sit for a qualifying examination if required, and should be a manager who can provide evidence of at least three years' successful business experience. Candidates who do not meet the above requirements but have more than 10 years of exceptional business experience at senior managerial level may be admitted. As the IMBA is offered through Fudan University, participants are taught by faculty from Fudan University and HKU. The two-year part-time programme requires students to attend classes two days a week, clocking a minimum 600 hours of prescribed work. Candidates should attend the required seminars and tutorials, and satisfactorily complete written assignments, case workshops, class tests and projects. The two-year programme costs 60,000 yuan (about HK$56,535), and additional teaching materials cost 5,000 yuan. 'By drawing on the experiences of two distinct business environments - Hong Kong and Shanghai - we are able to offer students a unique learning experience and provide them with invaluable networking opportunities,' Dr Tse said. 'A unique feature is that it blends the indigenous needs of a business operation in mainland China with the local expertise provided by teachers at Fudan University and the international experience of teachers at the University of Hong Kong.' In the first year, students are equipped with basic management skills, analytical tools and up-to-date knowledge and concepts essential for making business decisions. In year two, students may develop their desired areas of specialisation by choosing electives in finance, accounting, competitive strategy, and international business. Wherever appropriate, business cases developed by HKU's Centre for Asian Business Cases will be used in class discussions. The centre has developed more than 60 cases based on business situations in Asia. These examine business models, management methods and marketing strategies. English is the medium of instruction. Hong Kong University MBA programme students assigned to work in Shanghai may take courses in the IMBA in Shanghai and transfer credits back to Hong Kong. City University of Hong Kong (CityU) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) are also launching an MBA programme, targeted at the mainland market. The first intake will be next month. It aims to train senior business executives for state-owned and private-owned enterprises, as well as entrepreneurs and expatriates who wish to pursue studies in Shenzhen or Shanghai. The two-year programme will be taught jointly by faculty from CityU and SJTU. Those who complete the programme successfully will receive an MBA degree from the City University of Hong Kong.