ZHONGSHAN UNIVERSITY'S business school is providing options for business professionals from Hong Kong with an eye on the mainland market. Its Lingnan (University) College launched the Chinese EMBA (CHEMBA) programme jointly with the University of Minnesota in 2001, after setting up its International MBA (IMBA) programme with the support of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Sloan School of Management in 1998. Both courses are delivered in English, unlike the university's other EMBA programme targeting executives in state and privately-run enterprises, which is taught in Putonghua. College president Shu Yuan maintained it was a worthwhile option to study either full time or part time in Guangzhou, which is about 2? hours from Hong Kong by bus. One Hong Kong person who is based in Guangzhou is taking the part-time (CHEMBA) programme, and none is enrolled in the IMBA programme. 'MBA courses everywhere have similar content, but the composition of classmates is different. It will be very useful for those in management positions who want to further their careers in China to take ours. They can make friends with people who have already done quite well in their fields on the mainland,' Professor Shu said. He foresees huge business opportunities in the fast-growing Chinese economy, as well as a continuing competitive edge for those with postgraduate training. 'As MBA education has only had a history of about a decade in China, there remains a very strong demand for business professionals who have undertaken the training,' he said. 'The demand for professional education will only soar with the growth of the market-oriented economy. Many overseas companies are looking for staff they can communicate with. 'Mainland companies also want staff who can do business with the outside world. By being delivered in English, our programmes give students good exposure to international practices.' Fulbright scholars, American professors and trade officials have given talks and lectures at the college. In the case of the IMBA programme, in which 350 part-time and full-time students are enrolled, MIT professors have helped with its curriculum development and trained the teaching staff. The programme also incorporates teaching materials and business cases provided by MIT, though it leads to a mainland degree, not one jointly offered with MIT. A third of the courses offered by the programme are taught by professors from overseas business schools apart from MIT, including Stockholm University and Copenhagen Business School. 'We are dealing with a globalised economy and therefore it is important for management staff to have an international outlook,' Professor Shu said. He stressed that mainland case studies would be given increased prominence with the rise of the Chinese economy. His college is raising money for the construction of teaching facilities to cope with the growing number of students studying on a part-time basis. At weekends, the buildings at the college (including one built with donations from Vancouver-based entrepreneur Ip Po-ting) were bursting to the seams, Professor Shu said. 'The more facilities we have, the more students we can take, although we will only increase our intake gradually,' he said. Built as a university in 1888, Lingnan was incorporated into Zhongshan University in 1952, under a nationwide restructuring of colleges and universities. In 1987, it was given approval from the Ministry of Education to be re-established as Lingnan (University) College, remaining as part of Zhongshan University. It has specialised as a business school since 1997.