This year marks the 10th anniversary of Henley Management College and South China Morning Post jointly presenting the Henley MBA Awards to outstanding applicants. Two entrants will be granted scholarships to enrol in Henley's distance-learning MBA programme in October. Each award covers tuition fees, course materials and workshops. The college is accepting entries for the scholarship awards until September 4, and entrants must be graduates older than 27 with at least three years of managerial experience. In light of the recent Sars outbreak, Henley has dedicated a special scholarship to medical professionals this year. Henley became one of the first distance-learning course providers in Hong Kong when it launched its Master of Business Administration programme in 1986. The college has since produced more than 335 MBA graduates and serves 220 MBA students in the city. Henley College and the course distinguish themselves in quality, practicality and direct support of students. As a leading business school in Europe, the college is one of few accredited by leading higher education associations in Britain, Europe and the United States: The Association of MBAs in Britain, the European Foundation for Management Development in Europe and The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International in the US. 'I believe ours is probably the most practical MBA course,' says Veronica Chan Yuk-mei, operations manager of the college's Hong Kong office. Participants use the corporation they work for or industry they are most familiar with as part of the study material. 'Our students will write up a marketing plan for their corporation in a marketing course. One strategy was so outstanding and realistic that it has been adopted by the employing corporation,' Ms Chan says. A physical office provides support to students by way of a library, internet access and study rooms. Full-time staff act as an effective bridge between students and the British campus, handling all administration work and any enquiries. The office organises regular workshops, seminars and events for the exchange of ideas and networking opportunities. The office also employs part-time tutors in Hong Kong. 'These tutors are all accredited by the college. Based in Hong Kong, they are ready to help the students for discussions or reference purposes,' Ms Chan says. Students are offered absolute flexibility: residential study, e-learning and no weekends. Students receive online tutorial support from Britain, CD-ROM study materials and textbooks, and access to the e-library. These facilities are particularly attractive to internationally mobile executives. The college has an alumni group that supports personal and career development. The founding member of the association and commissioner of the Census and Statistics Department, Frederick Ho Wing-huen, recognised a need for the Henley Association (alumni group) after taking a five-day general management course in 1986. 'I believe that learning is a lifelong process. It does not start or end with a diploma, a course or an award. The association helps keep up the learning spirit of our alumni and fellow students,' he says. Like any other alumni associations, it serves as a good networking platform. 'We are not a casual group of people. With the identity of Henley, we give proper advice and opinions to each other. Moreover, we broaden our perspectives and context for we share similar backgrounds and values,' Mr Ho says. From time to time, the association organises lectures and dinners. The association is open to all who take part in the college's various management courses. Mr Ho says the general management course not only provided him with knowledge and skills but also a new way of thinking. 'The course gave me a holistic approach. I gained a wider perspective on work, learning and even life habits. It prepared me to become a strategist and able to assume senior management responsibilities,' he says. 'It sounds easy, but to make a conversation interesting and memorable requires certain techniques. I have the desire to communicate more effectively with people, which is essential to all professionals.' The average age of MBA participants is 34 with 11 years of work experience. Half the participants are Chinese while the rest come from Europe, Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Thirty per cent of them are general managers, while the rest work in marketing, engineering, computing, finance/accounting and human resources.