Overseas students find visits are well worth the effort

By CECILY LIU | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-10-06 17:50

Overseas students find visits are well worth the effort

Leela Greenberg and her classmates on the streets of Shanghai film an episode of the online series China Business 101, which she hosted and co-produced. [Photo/China Daily]

China is becoming increasingly popular with business school students globally

When Jason Klanderman arrived in Shanghai in August 2016 to complete a year of overseas studies, he noticed some cycles scattered around the city that were made by China's Mobike. They were available for short-term rent-so-called sharing bikes.

Three months later, the Mobike cycles were popping up in groups of hundreds and thousands all over the city. That was followed by the fast rollout of more than a dozen similar bike-sharing schemes.

Klanderman, who is studying on the global masters in management program at the London Business School, was even more surprised when he started noticing the Mobike cycles appearing on London's streets a year later.

"Very quickly, Mobike became a popular case study across various classes, from supply-chain management, to e-commerce and marketing," he said."Being able to see Mobike's unbelievable growth with my own eyes and then discuss my observations with our professors was so exciting."

The mind-boggling speed of the expansion of the Chinese start-up is perhaps an indicator of the vibrancy and disruptive innovation that fueled China's economic miracle during the past three decades.

A desire to understand China's economy has made the country an increasingly popular destination for business school students globally, thanks to the increasing availability of courses that take students to China.

LBS's global masters in management program, which started two years ago, sends students to the Shanghai-based Fudan University in their second year. So far, the program's graduates have recorded the highest employability rate among all of LBS's programs. More than 95 percent of graduates have found jobs within three months of graduation, and half of them chose to stay in Asia to work.

Such China-focused initiatives are many.

University College London has recently launched a new entrepreneurship-focused

MBA program in partnership with Peking University in Beijing. Meanwhile, Oxford's Said Business School takes all its executive MBA students to China for studies and on visits to companies.

Harvard Business School runs an incredibly popular China immersion program, which requires MBA students to be sent on internships with Chinese companies. They are instructed to conduct market research in China with the help of translators that they combine with academic theories to propose suggestions to the companies they work with.

"Because students are paired with real Chinese companies that have real innovation challenges, they get to work with managers who really think about innovation and have tried things, and are interested to see the perspective of someone not from China," said Felix Oberholzer-Gee, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.

The Grenoble Ecole de Management in France offers a China-focused doctorate of business administration program in partnership with China's Tongji University, Sun Yat-sen University, and Chongqing University. The program supports students in conducting in-depth research into unique Chinese business phenomenon.

Examples of past students' research includes analysis of how traditional Chinese medicine experiences are incorporated into modern hospitals, the rapid expansion of high tech Chinese companies, and supply chain management practices of multinationals in China.

"When our students' research papers were published in international peer review journals, they found a keen audience among leading Western academics who are really curious about China's economic growth story," said Jeff Yan, an associate professor of management, technology and strategy at the Grenoble Ecole de Management.

Data from GMAC, administrators of the GMAT business school entrance exam, show that, since 2008, German, Spanish, and Swiss citizens have sent more GMAT scores to China than some regions of North American and Europe.

According to 2016 data from the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, China ranked the top hosting country for universities' international branches. Examples of business schools that have branches in China include the Hult International Business School and UBC Sauder, both of which have campuses in Shanghai.

Meanwhile, the number of foreign students directly attending Chinese business schools has also grown. The Shanghai-based China Europe International Business School (also known as CEIBS) is now teaching its MBA degree in English and 33.5 percent of its students are non-Chinese.

The effort of students seems to be paying off. Students on some of the most prestigious Western programs can expect to earn 80-100 percent more money after graduating, and CEIBS graduates earn 157 percent more on average after completing an MBA.

Programs at schools based in China now occupy 14 percent of the FT's top 50 MBA rankings, with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and CEIBS the top performers.

The familiarity and excitement that business school students develop for China during their studies there often prompt them to remain after graduation and work in China.

"Life and studies at CEIBS definitely helped me to acclimatize to the Chinese business environment and Chinese culture," said Leela Greenberg, a 29-year-old graduate of the CEIBS MBA program who is from the United States.

After graduation, Greenberg joined a global leadership trainee program at the Hangzhou headquarters of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

"I'm amazed by Alibaba's incredibly fast pace of globalization, which also gives me many learning opportunities and allows me to develop a career as a bridge between China and the world. It's the best thing that CEIBS helped me to achieve," Greenberg said.

Overseas students find visits are well worth the effort

Leela Greenberg and her CEIBS MBA classmates participate in the National MBA Dragon Boat Race, which is held each year in Shanghai. [Photo/China Daily]

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