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IMBA program sees first Chinese graduates

Twenty-nine students graduated last month from China's first International MBA program, a collaboration between MIT's Sloan School of Management and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

These students -- the first business managers trained for international roles by a Chinese university -- will join a Chinese and international workforce that is increasingly global in scope.

The program began in 1996 when Tsinghua and Fudan University in Shanghai joined Sloan in what is now called the MIT-China Management Education Project. The program's goal was to establish a common ground of understanding that would lead to the successful integration of China into the world economy. Since its inception, the program has expanded to a third school, Lingnan (University) College of Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, southern China.

"This has been a ground-breaking program," said Richard Schmalensee, dean of Sloan. "The benefits have been tremendous -- from the talented Tsinghua students set to make their mark on the world economy, to our better understanding, both here at Sloan and at Tsinghua, of how each culture conducts business. We look forward toyears of continued collaboration with the schools."

Graduates received their degrees from Tsinghua University and also a certificate from MIT congratulating them on completing the first class of the International MBA (IMBA) program.

The IMBA program's entire graduating class participated in China's first international business internship program last summer, where students worked in international companies, primarily based in Hong Kong. These experiences, arranged in large part by MIT alumni/ae, gave the students hands-on global experience with the international issues and practices they studied in the classroom. At least six students in the graduating class have accepted job offers from their internship companies.

This summer, more than 50 international business students from Fudan and Tsinghua took part in the internship program. Students were placed in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai at international companies such as Compaq, General Motors, Banque National de Paris, Gillette, Cathay Pacific Airways, SAP Consulting, Esquel Enterprises and BP Amoco. They worked in marketing, sales, trade, consulting, accounting, human resources and information technology.

"These internships really build on the student's classroom work, providing them with the ability to experience what they've been discussing," said Dean Schmalensee. "This program gives the Tsinghua and Fudan students the same opportunity that our Sloan students have to polish their skills and try out new ideas between semesters."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 25, 1999.

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