Mary Wadsworth Darby, Chief Representative of CKGSB Americas, delivered a presentation to the Executive Masters in Business Administration Council’s (EMBAC) annual conference in New Orleans.
Ms Darby explained to listeners how China’s only independent, non-profit business school can partner with American business schools. She explored how partnerships between CKGSB and business schools in America give students a unique and invaluable understanding of the culture of business in China and how non-natives can thrive in one of the most dynamic economies in the world.
Darby began with an explanation of why China is so important to the global economy, and why it is necessary for aspiring corporate leaders to have an understanding of its business landscape and culture. She pointed out that China has been an economic and technological leader for millennia, and that its poor economic performance relative to Europe and the United States for much of the 19th and 20th centuries was an aberration.
Though the Chinese see their recent economic success as a reclamation of their rightful place in the world, for the West it is simply a fact that must be reckoned with. The statistics on China’s growth can’t be ignored: when adjusting for purchasing power, China’s is the largest economy in the world, and it’s the largest import partner of the US, India, Australia, Russia, India and the continent of Africa.
Meanwhile, as the Chinese economy grows in importance, Chinese students are increasingly taking interest in the United States. “There’s been a dramatic increase in Chinese students coming to the United States and taking courses or education at both high school, college and graduate school level,” Darby said.
American students are heading to China in greater numbers as well, but there are more than 20 times more Chinese students studying in higher education programs in the US than there are American students in China. Given the undeniable and growing importance of China to the global economy and American business, we can’t expect this differential to remain so large for long. As more Executive MBA students are paying for their own educations, Darby argued, the industry can expect an increased demand for programs that provide understanding of the Chinese economy and culture. “An understanding of China can be a really effective tool in an executive’s quiver of arrows,” Darby said.
This is exactly why partnering with CKGSB is such an exciting and unique opportunity for established EMBA programs in the US. Though MBA and Executive MBA education has not existed in China as long as it has in the US, CKGSB has a sterling reputation as China’s first faculty-governed, independent non-profit business school. It has graduated more than 600 Chinese business leaders at the CEO or Chairman level, like Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Fu Chengyu, now former Chairman of China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec).
And now CKGSB Americas is bringing the rigorous educational experience that it is known for in China to Executive MBA programs across the world by tailoring its offerings to the needs of international partners. That means CKGSB can create, among other possibilities, a three-day program where CKGSB faculty fly to a host school to lecture, or it can also partner with schools to host students at one of its campuses in Beijing, Shenzhen, or Shanghai for one or two weeks.
When in China, students hosted by CKGSB will benefit from not only the expertise of the school’s world-class faculty—all of whom were recruited from tenure-track positions at leading business schools around the world—but they will also get to participate in cultural immersion programs that enable students to better understand Chinese culture. Courses are taught by a faculty that is nearly all Chinese, many of whom were born in China and therefore have an intimate understanding of China they can impart on their pupils. And unlike many Executive MBA programs in the states, CKGSB offers humanities courses for visiting students on topics like the relationship between Confucian philosophy and Chinese business values. Students hosted by CKGSB also have the chance to visit some of China’s most dynamic companies or the China headquarters of leading multinational firms like Google and Mercedes Benz.
Successful program collaborations include CKGSB’s partnership with INCAE, the leading Latin American business school, and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business: INCAE recently sent 83 students to Beijing for five days of lectures and cultural exchange, including courses China’s changing financial markets and manufacturing sector, while for ten years CKGSB has hosted students from the Darden School of Business, serving more than 550 students over that time.
Prospective Executive MBA partners can rest assured that CKGSB will use what it’s learned through its work with schools around the world to tailor its partnership to meet student’s unique needs. “We like to think that we support you in your program’s goals,” says Darby. “We’re very flexible. We add value and make your experience with China a truly unique one.”