I'm not the 'teacher' type, but the program us SWBF modelers use (to be quite honest, I'm not good at model, so I rarely do it) is XSI Modtools. Or if you're rich, buying a license for XSI 5.11.
Those are the only tools in which has a Pandemic plugin tool so that you can export the correct model format. However, some modelers have been known to make models in 3DS Max and send it over to XSI and then export it that way. It all boils down to what you're comfortable with in terms of modeling tools, however if you want to export correctly, you'd want to use XSI.
Icemember is more smart in this regard, so you might wanna talk to him.