Good partners are as important in academia as in any other sphere, a point which Baptist University is keen to emphasise as it marks the 20th anniversary of successful co-operation with the University of Strathclyde Business School. A key area of collaboration for the two institutions is the two-year part-time MBA taught in Hong Kong by visiting lecturers and professors, and regularly ranked as one of the top courses of its type in international surveys. 'Quality is always the main priority when we find a collaborator,' said Donald Chan Chi-keung, acting head of the business and IT studies division of the School of Continuing Education at Baptist University. 'We assess that in terms of learning outcomes for the programme and how well the academic staff involved will be able to develop our students' talents.' He said Strathclyde's role in the MBA was that it had responsibility for programme admissions, assignments, curriculum content and examinations. The university also provided the teaching staff to conduct evening and weekend classes in Hong Kong, lead workshops and supervise final projects. Baptist University handled the administrative aspects, student counselling and supplementary academic support, depending on individual requirements. It was an arrangement that had worked well and, Dr Chan felt, offered local students a course that balanced the theory and practice of management and developed a broad understanding of business strategy. 'It is important nowadays to have an international perspective. The lecturers for this programme provide that by using their experience as consultants in many different areas and their research work with major global companies.' He said the programme consisted of three main elements: foundation modules, electives and a final project. Students covered everything from marketing management and financial resources to information systems and exploring the business environment. And, while the overall emphasis was on strategic issues, regular workshops focused on real-life case studies - presented by invited senior executives - and interactive discussions developed problem-solving abilities and presentation skills. 'There is a very practical element to the training, so students know how to apply their skills to real situations,' Dr Chan said. The formal teaching took place in tutorials and classroom lectures at the university's Kowloon Tong campus, with credits earned through a combination of coursework and exams. The standard fee for the full MBA for Hong Kong-based students is HK$150,000 - payable in four instalments - though the course is included on the 'reimbursable' list for Continuing Education Fund purposes. To mark the 20th anniversary, up to 20 scholarships are being made available this year for new students in either the April or October intake. Dr Chan said that, beyond its academic merits, the Strathclyde MBA had a reputation for being 'value for money'. That had been highlighted in a 2009 Financial Times review of comparable business courses and was borne out by general feedback from students switching from other schools. 'Another characteristic of this programme is to make students aware of what is needed to manage people and what it takes to be effective in a company,' he said. This process began during induction workshops, which used role-playing to illustrate typical management strengths and weaknesses. It continued in the 'learning manager' module, designed to enhance soft skills and relationship building, and remained a recurring theme throughout the course.