As an international financial centre, Hong Kong attracts professionals from all over the world. This poses a challenge to local managers in managing global business and overseas employees who have different cultural backgrounds and practices. Expatriate managers face similar problems. The Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) addresses these issues by offering executives the opportunity to join an international study tour along with students from the Sydney and Singapore campuses. The tour enables students to meet senior managers of global businesses and acquire some hands-on experience relating to the management of multinational corporations across different environmental settings. Describing the tour as one of the many unique features in its management courses, Richard Petty, the school's professor in management, associate dean (international), said that there were plans for tours to the United States, countries in Europe and Oceania. Past study tours visited Italy, Germany and China. 'It is also a great opportunity for student bonding and networking,' he said. Another special feature of MGSM programmes is that students have the option of receiving research training that will help them if they intend to publish work or progress to a research degree such as a DBA (doctor of business administration) or PhD. Students wanting to explore this option can enrol in a research project study unit that allows them to choose a research problem that is of interest to them - usually one that is relevant to their workplace, current role, employer or industry - and investigate it with the aid and guidance of a faculty supervisor. 'Students doing such a unit are able to publish their work in a professional or technical journal, thereby adding another useful credit to their CV - one that shows them to be the author of a published work,' said Professor Petty. MGSM offers seven master of management programmes - financial management, management, human resource management, information technology management, international management, logistics & operations management and marketing management. These courses cater for executives with three to five years of management experience who want to enhance their professional management skills in their industry. The general management programme appeals widely to accountants, engineers, bankers, lawyers, teachers and doctors. 'The course challenges students to manage projects, teams and themselves. It offers perspectives on management and managers at work in a variety of settings. Leadership and cross-cultural management are two of the important skills taught in the programme,' Professor Petty said. On human resource management skills, an area which many managers regard as one of the most challenging, students are taught motivation, incentive and reward schemes, performance measurement and cross-cultural management of human resources. 'The units that focus on teaching human resource skills aim to help staff appreciate richness and diversity in management and team-based organisational cultures. Enlightened managers are better able to address the needs of specific staff within the context of what is best for organisational stakeholders, and the organisation itself,' he said. MGSM understands the needs of the Hong Kong employment market, he said. Its financial management programme is tailored to groom highly skilled financial managers to cope with the Hong Kong's economic growth. 'Hong Kong is a major global financial centre and will hold this position into the foreseeable future,' Professor Petty said. 'Much of the business that drives Hong Kong's economic performance is underpinned by the banking or financial services industry. The depth and scope of the financial industry in Hong Kong means that there is high demand for skilled financial managers, particularly those with a regional focus and a competitive mindset.' He said there was heavy emphasis on developing the core set of skills that were necessary to be an effective manager. Courses that assist such development include the economic context of management, accounting for managers and investment management, and softer courses on leadership and performance strategy. The course suits candidates hoping to learn more about the capital markets, economics and how to manage money and make investment decisions. MGSM's lessons are conducted only on weekends. Timetables are set more than a year in advance, so to a great extent, students are able to plan their studies around work and vice versa.