Multinationals keen to recruit Chinese execs

Updated: 2012-02-01 07:52

By He Wei (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - Multinational corporations (MNCs) have shown growing enthusiasm in recruiting China-educated business professionals to compensate for the reduction of workforces in developed markets.

As the importance of China as a revenue-generator becomes more evident, Chinese business schools no longer serve as sources for recruiting only in China but also for MNCs' global leadership programs, said John Quelch, dean of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS).

"The upcoming two years are likely to witness growing numbers of Fortune 500 companies to have Chinese-born global chief executive officers (CEOs)," Quelch, who served as associate dean of the Harvard Business School, predicted.

Despite the global economic downturn, demand for talented people from the financial services industry remains stable in China, whereas high-tech industries such as information technology and healthcare are quickly gaining momentum, Quelch said, based on the latest recruitment records of the school.

CEIBS has been ranked the top business school in China by Bloomberg Business Week for 2011-2012, retaining the top spot held since the last survey in 2007. It topped the list when recruiters were asked which school's MBA graduates they would hire.

Multinationals keen to recruit Chinese execs


Since last July, 267 enterprises have presented job postings for CEIBS fresh graduates through campus talks or recruitment fairs, a number that significantly outperformed last year. Nearly 50 percent of the students got job offers before the Spring Festival, doubling the figure last year.

Quelch said the business slowdown in Europe and the US in effect pushed MNCs to shift emphasis on growth and headhunting in China and other emerging economies. For instance, each CEIBS student received seven potential job opportunities last year.

According to Quelch, ideal candidates should combine general management practices and an in-depth understanding of China. "That's why a Chinese MBA degree has become more valuable than from top overseas business schools, if you wish to pursue a career basically in China."

Breaking down to industries, over one-quarter of the students who graduated last year from CEIBS have signed contracts with investment banks, venture capital funds or business consulting firms, a moderate rise from 22.3 percent two years ago, despite the global de-leverage process that strained the industry at large.

Ni Junliang, a new graduate from CEIBS, received an offer from investment bank The Royal Bank of Canada. He said the yet-to-mature financial market in China provides much room for foreign investment banks to prosper, and they need people who understand both the international and the domestic markets.

Likewise, high-tech companies are accelerating their deployment of global management trainee programs in China's talent pool. For instance, Robert Bosch GmbH, Dell Inc and Intel Corp have new openings to attract Chinese MBA trainees.

Amphenol Corp, a US-based electronics company, expects to recruit more Chinese students to join in their global internship program, which is a prerequisite for them to get full-time offers.

"We used to have this stereotype that Chinese MBA education is more theoretically focused but now those graduates can handle very well practical business cases," Klaus Doerr, director of organizational development at the company, told China Daily.

With 40 percent of the sales coming from Asia and one-third of operations in China, Doerr said the company has tremendous need and hunger for talented people in China to help achieve the goal of doubling revenue in the coming few years.

Chinese MBA programs also prove to be very helpful to non-Chinese students, who cannot count on fluent Mandarin but do have great knowledge about China. Clarke Schaumann, a 31-year-old American, is about to join a global rotation program from The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, after getting a degree from CEIBS.

Schaumann said his Chinese experience helped him widen his horizons and successfully land this job, otherwise "I can only become an American banker, not a global one".

The Shanghai municipal government spent 320 million yuan launching the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance under the auspices of Shanghai Jiaotong University, with the aim of making it a leading global business school within 12 years.

China Daily