Program mentors top managers

Updated: 2014-07-28 20:37

By Wang Hongyi in Shanghai

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More business schools in China are tapping experience from the West and elsewhere to meet the country's growing demand for business elites.

Earlier this month, Shanghai's Fudan University and London Business School jointly launched a business degree program. Their Global Masters in Management program boasts a combination of teaching modes and real-life experience from East and West. It will include business immersion through company projects.

Leading Chinese companies will mentor some of these managers.

"With rapid economic development in China, there is a growing demand for talented managers who not only have a global perspective but also a deep insight into local businesses. Now, more of China's business schools are looking for inspiration from the rest of the world," said Professor Lu Xiongwen, dean of Fudan's school of management.

"The partnership with London Business School, one of the world's top business education institutions, will help us reach a higher level in terms of expertise. It will also help draw out the best of the management systems employed in both the East and West, aiding the development of more capable leaders in the future," Lu said.

Andrew Likierman, dean of the London school, said: "This program will give its graduates a 'two-world' mindset, combining direct exposure to China and the West. The balance of theory and practice will ensure that students gain a head start in the competition for the world's best business jobs."

Fudan's business school has also worked with other prestigious schools overseas to carry out cooperative programs. The university has worked with Washington University to launch the Executive MBA program, which prepares senior-level professionals in China and other parts of Asia for global leadership.

"As the nation's commerce takes off, it has become important for companies' higher management to have a better understanding of the thriving Chinese economy and business practices. We have already seen the growing demand from employers for business talent with profound experience in China and the West," said David Huang, a veteran headhunter who has worked in a multinational talent recruiter in Beijing.

"In this regard, how to provide a combined education with global vision and practical knowledge suitable for the local market becomes an issue," he said.

Many consider Chinese business schools to have experienced a late start compared with those in the West. They have also faced a number of challenges, including lagging training modes, insufficient practical cases to draw on and ignorance about career design for students.

Over the past years, these schools have been implementing global strategies to help plug these gaps.

A key aspect of the move is to set up partnerships with elite business schools in the United States, Europe, Asia and other high-growth emerging markets to jointly provide high-level business education programs.

In July 2013, Tsinghua University in Beijing and MIT jointly launched the Tsinghua-MIT Global MBA Program.

"The early shape of MBA education in China mainly followed that in the US. As globalization increases, the education of business schools should not only incorporate Chinese elements into the programs but also be consistent with the basic principles of business practices across the globe," said Professor Qian Yingyi, dean of Tsinghua's School of Economics and Management.

Qian said MBA candidates should learn how to better adapt themselves to globalization, and manage and lead companies and organizations in that context.

Other leading universities in China such as Peking University, Zhejiang University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University have also established partnerships and rolled out a series of degree and non-degree business education programs.

Under these programs, students have opportunities to establish networks in different countries. Immersed in different cultural environments, their English language ability, which is a challenge for many Chinese students, is also sharpened.

Industry insiders believe such cooperative education partnerships with top-tier business schools overseas in recent years will help take the country's business and management education to a higher level.