The economic slump has highlighted the fact that past management methods do not work. Now is the time to reassess what leadership and management is all about and determine new ways to shape the future direction of companies. In response to this, Edinburgh Napier University teamed up with The University of Hong Kong School of Professional and Continuing Education (HKUSpace) to launch the master of science in managerial leadership programme to prepare managers and leaders with the tools and skills required for the challenges ahead. Wesley Payne McClendon, managing director of the Edinburgh Institute, said the programme was designed to equip students with a broad base of business and strategic analysis skills and to have an understanding of management and leadership in their fields. 'One important thing that our students learn from the programme is the ability to react correctly to the changing environment within their businesses,' he said. 'The aim of the course is to develop confident, high-performing leaders and managers. We want our graduates to walk away from our courses with a real world understanding and a 'tool kit' of how to turn theories into practice at work.' The programme is recognised by the Chartered Management Institute and offers managers the opportunity to apply conceptual frameworks to practical business problems. It is most suitable for people with relevant experience in management and leadership positions. Mr McClendon said: 'It is important for students to have managing experience because the course emphasises work-based learning. Students are required to take what they learn back into the workplace. If a student didn't have relevant experience, the potential for transferring learning into the workplace to address issues would be lost.' Students work with their managers, senior leadership team or board members during the course to reflect and assess how their newly taught skills and concepts can be applied in the workplace. Assignments in the course challenge students to investigate the management of change and the realities of developing leadership in the workplace. Mr McClendon added that the course was highly popular among practitioners in financial services and risk management. The course has three intakes a year, in February, June and October. About 20 students will be enrolled in each intake. The course is only offered on a part-time basis and students usually gradate in two years. Lectures take place on weekday evenings or Saturday afternoons and students are required to complete examinations, coursework assignments and a final master's dissertation to graduate. Christine Tse Pik-chi, office manager for Fitch Ratings and a graduate of the programme, said she had acquired essential knowledge and skills in administrative management from the course. Having started her career as an executive secretary without any formal university education, Ms Tse took up various secretarial and administrative diploma courses to further her career as a secretary, but soon realised that working closely with mostly multinationals and senior management meant that she needed a bit more. 'I knew that I had to learn more about management, so I took the course. Taking this course helped me upgrade my knowledge and improve my chances of advancement. 'The course helped me a lot in my work, especially in learning to deal with changes in the business environment. There is a module on leadership and managing contemporary changes which I think is practical and extremely useful for a person like me who works mostly with multinational companies.' Miss Tse said the module about human capital management was one of her favourites. 'In today's financial situation the leaders in the corporate world have to be retrained and business ethics have to be rebuilt. This is an important insight that I have gained from the course. The financial turmoil is a great example of today's management requiring changes and I am glad that I was able to learn about it first hand.' And Ms Tse could not be more pleased because she got more than she bargained for. 'In the beginning I was just hoping to achieve my personal goal in earning a degree, but it turns out I have gained much more than that. I am really grateful that I have gained so much from the course,' she said.