BEIJING - Graduate students at the Guanghua School of Management (GSM) at Peking University have an incentive not to be late for classes - a 500 yuan ($74) fine.
"EMBA (executive master of business administration) students are required to attend classes in Beijing for four days each month for two years to complete their study," said Li Yan, director of the program.
"Once they are absent, they have to make up for the classes they miss."
And if any student arrives late, the 500-yuan fine will be imposed, Li said. The level of tardiness is fairly high: over a two-year period, for example, more than 100,000 yuan in fines have been collected.
"And the money doesn't go to the university, but instead goes to a class fund," Li said.
Students in the EMBA program, which costs 450,000 yuan, come from near the top of China's business world and are experienced businessmen, usually general managers or CEOs of an enterprise.
"Their average age is 38, and are generally wealthy and successful," Li said. The program has 400 students from all parts of China at present.
GSM's MBA program has also a similar number of students.
Zhang Yichi, associate dean of GSM and director of the MBA program, said students are mainly young professionals with an average working experience of six years.
Tuition fee for the MBA is 128,000 yuan. "A similar MBA program in South Korea is 400,000 yuan, more than triple what we charged," said Zhang.
Tuition fee is always a sensitive issue for any MBA program. "I think our tuition fee is still low, given the international standard and our expense," Zhang said.
"In 1994 when we started the program with just 40 students, the tuition fee was only 8,000 yuan; in 2007, it was 80,000 yuan; and last year, we raised it to 128,000 yuan - but it is still not enough to cover all the expenses."
GSM operates out of two buildings in the Peking University Science and Technology Park in Beijing, about 500 meters from the main campus.
"The MBA program consumes two-thirds of the efforts of our faculty, yet generates only a fifth of the revenue," Zhang said.
"We are trying to build this program into a prestigious one which can live up to the reputation of Peking University, instead of making money from that."
Zhang said that this year, GSM obtained the international MBA certificate, the European Quality Improvement System, and is now ready to participate the rankings carried out by UK's Financial Times.
As part of the MBA program, GSM holds forums on "Current Topics in Chinese Strategy and Investment", with the help of several multinational companies.
"For example, we cooperated with the global business service department of IBM in 2008, and invited its consultants to lecture to our students, " Zhang said. Environmental protection classes have also been introduced.