THE HONG KONG Polytechnic University launched an MBA with a specialism in innovation and design management at the beginning of the academic year, enrolling 27 students. It is hoping to recruit about 40 for the next intake. 'This programme is bringing innovation and design education to business people and business education to innovators and designers,' said Warren Chiu Chi-kwan, programme director of Hong Kong MBA programmes. 'Business people tend to think on the right side of their brain while creative people tend to think on the left side. 'We want both groups to further enhance their capabilities, abilities and skills.' The programme's target market consists of two distinct groups. The first is people coming from design and related fields. The second is technical people from miscellaneous industries that manage or promote innovative products and services. Students are offered two themes to choose from - design in relation to markets and consumers, and design in a regional context. MBAs vary from institution to institution, but they essentially provide training in general management covering such issues as accounting, finance, information systems, law and marketing. What sets PolyU's MBA programmes apart is that, in addition to offering an MBA in general management, it has what the university calls specialisms in fashion business, financial services and technology management. All first-year students take classes in general management together during their first year. Included in the first year is a broad core covering organisational behaviour, accounting, marketing and finance. There are also a residential management workshop and a management skills workshop, which lay the foundation for management study. During their second year, students focus on their specialisation, choosing electives from a variety of course offerings. The programme concludes with a capstone subject focusing on strategic aspects of business. Students must complete an applied business project during this class. 'We think of it as a specialised MBA on top of training in general management,' Dr Chiu said. The specialism in fashion business is jointly offered with PolyU's Institute of Textiles and Clothing. It is designed to prepare managers and professionals in the fashion and textiles sectors. The specialism in financial services targets those wanting to enhance their managerial competence and their technological knowledge in the financial services sector. The specialism in information technology management targets two kinds of people: those already working in the IT field who want to enhance their technical and managerial skills to advance their careers; and those wanting managerial and technical training to move into positions as information technology managers and related fields. The MBA in general management targets middle managers and professionals wanting to learn how to deal with and solve 'real world' problems. Applications for the next intake will be accepted until March 15.