Professional training and expertise among business managers are key areas employers look for. This has led to a surge in the number of postgraduate programmes catering to individuals who aspire to become future managers. One of the latest additions is a master of science in human resource management and organisational behaviour, launched last month by Lingnan University. 'There is a need for full-time learning in this area,' says Dr Alfred Wong, associate professor and head of the department of management at Lingnan. 'The industry needs better-qualified professionals who are able to face the increasing challenges,' he says, adding that there is a lack of professional knowledge in the field and a shortage of talent. The programme admitted 36 students this year. With a focus to hone interpersonal and management skills, the one-year programme enables students to gain an international outlook. 'I enjoy the learning method [here as opposed to] my undergraduate studies, which focused more on textbook material,' says Ji Ying, who is enrolling in the course. While the programme covers human resource management and organisational behaviour, importance is also attached to practical training. 'The market needs managers who focus on corporate social responsibilities and business ethics, especially human resources managers,' Wong says. 'They need a lot of training aimed at improving various aspects such as functional knowledge, [interpersonal and managerial] skills and problem-solving ability.' Students are required to take five compulsory courses: management of organisational behaviour; managing ethically; teams for learning; contemporary human resources management; and performance management. They also need to take four courses from a list of electives that range from managing conflict in organisations, leadership in organisations and comparative and cross-cultural management, to strategic management, managing quality for people and organisations, organisational analysis and change. There is also an action-learning project in which students can visit firms and then assess and report on the challenges enterprises face.