B-Schools Embrace China

Western Schools Capitalize on Huge Demand for Managers. And Their China Programs Also Pay Dividends at Home..

Just like large companies eager to get a foothold in one of the world's most important markets, international business schools are moving into China in a big way.

Eager to capitalize on demand in a fast-growing economy that has a huge need for well-trained managers, big name B-schools from Europe and the U.S. are launching and expanding M.B.A.-program collaborations with Chinese universities or going it alone with courses aimed at mid-career executives.

Experience in China is also a selling point at home, since Western students increasingly see the benefits of studying at an institution whose faculty have close-up experience of the country. Such links can also give M.B.A. students the chance to study in China for a module or a semester.

"The lure is to go and learn about what's happening, and be in the middle of the action in one of the most dynamic economies in the world," says Krishna Palepu, senior associate dean for international development at Harvard Business School. The school has had a faculty research base in China for about 20 years but now shares a new Shanghai classroom with other Harvard schools.

"In the last four or five years we have ramped it up to a much larger scale," he says.

A flurry of deans from top international institutions who have moved recently to run programs in Asia shows the influence the continent's institutions now wield in the B-school world, says Matt Symonds, whose company, Symonds GSB, does consulting for business schools...


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