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MIT-China Management Education Project

MIT-China Management Education Project

With the MIT-China Management Education Project in the midst of its 14th year, both the growth and impact of the program are easily measured by those who have nurtured this global initiative since 1996.

“The Project has exceeded our expectations on many levels,” says Senior Associate Dean Alan White, SF ’71, who has spent 31 of his 36 years at MIT Sloan traveling to China multiple times per year. “When we began, we knew we were taking risks. We asked that the Chinese send us young faculty for development, that we work to be sure all faculty would return to China and remain at their schools (all have), and that the Schools would develop truly international MBA programs (they have). This project has succeeded not only because the initial plan worked, but mostly because the Chinese have made it work.”

Today, with significant support coming from those residing around the rim of China, the project―begun as a five-year effort for information sharing and relationship building between MIT Sloan and top Chinese universities―continues to thrive as it approaches year 15. Since its start, four international management (IMBA) programs at participating universities Tsinghua University in Beijing, Fudan University in Shanghai, Yunnan University in Yunnan, and Lingnan College at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, have collectively graduated more than 3,000 students.

These numbers, says Eleanor Chin, program manager of MIT Sloan’s International Programs, are a far cry from when the program began, when the first incoming class at Tsinghua had 39 students. Today, the incoming IMBA classes in China have more than 100 students, with an average graduating group of 350 from the three programs each year. As the IMBA program has grown, so too has its reputation, says Chin, who adds that Tsinghua’s graduating class includes nearly 50 international students from 11 different countries, which serves as a testament to the program’s strength.

“Tsinghua had their first international student in their IMBA program in 2001,” says Chin, “and today about 40 percent of their class is international.”

MIT Sloan, in turn, sends its faculty to offer lectures and teach courses, while teams of students make annual visits from Cambridge to the Asian continent as part of China Lab, sharing their experience in Western-style management practices. In addition, faculty from the participating schools in China have the opportunity to spend a semester at MIT Sloan as International Faculty Fellows (PDF), with the goal of developing a new course to take back to their respective universities.

“We need to build good leaders in countries with great challenges … but most importantly, it’s the quality and benefit of developing learning leaders who will help the world,” says Cherie Nursalim, executive director of Indonesia’s Gajah Tunggal Group and wife of 2002 Sloan Fellow Dr. Enki Tan, both of whom are among the project’s most ardent supporters and members of the MIT Sloan Asian Executive Board. “China is a large populace in dire need of higher quality leadership education. We need more programs … not just to create business leaders, but to create business leaders with a conscience.” Every semester brings a new group of faculty, says Chin. “Once they are here, they take advantage of everything available to them. Going to classes is something they all like, and they learn a great deal from watching our faculty teach.”

“The core mission, from our point of view, was to provide opportunities for MIT faculty, staff, and students to learn about China and Chinese-based economies,” says White. “This we could not do unless we developed a project that contributed to China, that engaged their attention, and that was important to them. We engaged in this project to contribute to China. This is how you, in turn, learn.”

“Certainly with the China project there has been so much learning on both sides,” says Chin, who makes annual visits to Hong Kong for meetings related to the project. “The Schools are all doing well and making a big impact in China, and through the years, MIT Sloan has as well. It’s really gratifying to see how it has grown and evolved over the years.”

Next example: G-Lab: Global Health Delivery



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