Last month at MIT, the Chinese-based MBA program that the Sloan School of Management began five years ago at three Chinese universities came of age.
Already the three IMBA ("I" for international) programs -- which began as a five-year collaboration between Sloan and Tsinghua University in Beijing, Fudan University in Shanghai and Lingnan (University) College of Zhongshan University in Guangzho -- have reached the maturity of much older programs. Tsinghua's IMBA program has been ranked first among all 56 Chinese MBA programs, and many measures are on the rise, including applications, entrance test scores, English fluency, summer internships, and job offers and accompanying salaries.
At a meeting at Sloan on March 15, four Sloan deans and the deans of the three Chinese programs identified areas for continued cooperation during the next five years of the Chinese Education Management Project.
"The goal is to be the top international, world-class business school to grow future business leaders of China and the Asia region," said Dean Zhao Chunjun of Tsinghua. Added Dean Zheng Zukang of Fudan, "the goal is to be a world-class MBA program in China." Shu Yuan, president of Lingnan's Business School, agreed with his colleagues and added that Lingnan's IMBA Program "is the most popular [graduate business] program in southern China."
The Chinese deans targeted several educational goals, including faculty training and development, curriculum development (expanding IMBA programs to focus more on tracks, such as e-commerce and entrepreneurship; and on electives), research relationships, electronic access to more international libraries for Chinese faculty, expanded student exchanges, creating more internships for IMBA students, program/administrative development and technology-enabled education.
"We've had a successful start," said former dean Lester Thurow, who had the initial idea for the Chinese Education Management Project. "We're a joint venture. If you believe in continuous improvement, we'll do better in the next five years than we did in the last five years."
The project is the centerpiece of the Sloan School's activities in Asia, but by no means its only one. For more than 10 years, Sloan has collaborated on various educational and research projects with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. And this year Sloan is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its relationship with the Epoch Foundation, a consortium of Taiwanese conglomerates that supports research, teaching and program development in the Asia/Pacific region at Sloan. Epoch is now expanding its affiliations across MIT and in Taiwan.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 11, 2001.