Globalisation has brought with it a need for graduates to be able to work across cultures and borders. Enabling students to do so requires more than just teaching them in the classroom about the basics of how other countries do business. Roland Chin Tai-hong, vice-president of academic affairs at the University of Science and Technology (HKUST), said there were three criteria that a university needed to fulfil in order to provide students with the skills to work in today's global climate: English as the medium of instruction; an international combination of teaching staff; and having a broad mix of students from different nationalities on campus. HKUST has already assumed a leading place internationally in terms of the development of its international faculty. For its proportion of international staff, The Times Higher-QS World University Rankings, one of the world's benchmark rankings for universities, placed the university at No 1 in the world last year. More than 20 per cent of staff are of non-Chinese origin, and more than 90 per cent have international exposure in terms of academic experience, professional experience, or both. The university has also engaged in academic exchange programmes with more than 100 universities around the world, including those in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia. 'We insist that students should get used to a multicultural environment, given the speed of globalisation around the world,' Professor Chin said. 'There is no escape. Whether you work in a multinational company or a small local firm, you still have to deal with different parties from around the world.' Bringing in students and staff of different nationalities would benefit the university in several ways, he said. Students would naturally be more open-minded because they had to accept and work with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. They will also feel more connected to the world as they have friends from different countries and are more willing to travel, study or even work aboard 'The local students will have to converse in different languages and learn to accept and respect cultural differences; from the different taste in food and fashion, to study styles and deeper issues such as values and religions,' Professor Chin said. 'And the same goes for teaching staff - they exchange views from their counterparts around the world. And that provides them with more initiative to participate in overseas academic training or teaching to enhance their career.' Professor Chin noted that due to the nature of the subjects studied, some academic disciplines were more internationalised than the others. For example, there are more teachers of Chinese origin in the faculties of science and engineering than there are in the business school, where both teachers and students have a more internationalised outlook. About 50 per cent of the undergraduate students at the business school will undertake an overseas exchange period during their course. At Polytechnic University (PolyU) about 10 per cent of teaching staff at the faculty of business are non-Chinese. The university's School of Accounting and Finance boasts 14 per cent non-Chinese academics. The Times Higher-QS World University Rankings ranked it at No 9 in the world in terms of its international faculty. Ferdinand A. Gul, head of the School of Accounting and Finance at PolyU, said the globalisation of financial markets and the emergence of new markets, particularly in Asia, had created the need to bring in expertise and knowledge from different parts of the world. The teaching staff and visiting academics at the school come from various backgrounds and hail from the US, Australia, Britain, as well as South Korea, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Israel. 'In the past two or three years, PolyU has been stepping up internationalisation on the campus as it realised that diversity is strength,' Professor Gul explained. 'The system we work in is now a global one. Twenty years ago you might have said this is a 'Chinese market' or 'a Hong Kong market'. But you can't say that any more. Look at the credit crisis in the US. It is affecting the whole world, which is now so interconnected. 'Internationalisation [of the school] is not a luxury. It is a need.'