MIT-China Management Education Project Celebrates 20th Anniversary

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 8, 2015 – The MIT Sloan School of Management is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the MIT-China Management Education Project. The project began in 1996 to provide opportunities for MIT faculty, staff, and students to learn about China and to support the development of graduate management education in China. The project has significantly grown over the years, but faculty development and curriculum design have remained priorities. MIT Sloan’s partners in this project include Fudan University, Lingnan (University) College at Sun Yat-sen University, Tsinghua University, and Yunnan University.


An anniversary celebration will be held Oct. 15 in Hong Kong featuring a Dean’s Panel Discussion on the Chinese economy organized and hosted by the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club. A dinner will follow at the Four Seasons Hotel with the deans of the participating schools and key supporters of the project, including MIT alumnus Chi-Won Yoon, chair of AEB, and MIT alumnus Dr. Philip Kwok, former CEO of the Wing On Group.


MIT Sloan Dean David Schmittlein says, “We believe deeply in the importance of management education, and the MIT-China Management Education Project is a hallmark of that belief. As we go forward, we hope to explore new avenues of impact in China, on China-U.S. relationships, and on China’s continuing growth as a leader in the world.”  


Alan White, senior associate dean emeritus and senior lecturer emeritus at MIT Sloan who helped found the MIT-China Management Education Project, agrees. “Thanks to the leadership and vision of then Dean Lester Thurow, who stated that business schools needed to understand Chinese-based economies, we have established a strong base to learn about China. We will continue this learning through close work with our colleagues in China as Chinese management education continues its rapid progress toward world-class status.”


The project began with Chinese faculty coming to MIT Sloan for training and course development as International Faculty Fellows (IFFs). Since then, MIT Sloan faculty have also visited Chinese campuses to give lectures and teach short courses. In addition, students play an important role in the partnership through China Lab, which integrates classroom-based education, faculty mentoring, and action learning opportunities. In the Lab, MIT Sloan students partner with International MBA (IMBA) students from the five partner schools to address business issues at host companies in China. The teams visit the companies each spring to work on-site with their Chinese IMBA teammates, and the Chinese IMBA students likewise spend a week at MIT Sloan.


MIT Sloan Associate Dean for International Programs and Action Learning Yasheng Huang says, “The anniversary of this project is tremendously exciting, as our work has extended to other areas through deep collaborations with faculty, but also between students working on projects with local startups in China Lab. This focus on innovation and entrepreneurship reflects the changing Chinese economy.” 

Since the project began, more than 300 faculty from China have visited MIT Sloan and there have been more than 225 MIT Sloan faculty visits to teach at the partner schools in China. As for the development of IMBA programs in China, about 4,900 students have graduated from those programs. All IMBA graduates are considered affiliates of the MIT Sloan Alumni Association.


Zhao Chunjun, a former dean of Tsinghua University SEM, says, “The partnership with MIT has worked so well because our needs and interests have been in alignment. MIT learned how best to export knowledge to a different culture—by teaching the teachers, a radical model. And China came to terms with how much it didn’t know about leadership and enterprise and just how much its teachers needed to know. The relationship has shaped the futures of both partners.”


Shu Yuan, vice chairman of the board of trustees, former dean, and professor of economics at Lingnan (University) College, notes, “The opportunity was exciting and perfectly timed. The collaboration with MIT provided so much more than faculty training. We learned program design, administration, case study methods, action learning, teaching materials, and research. By 2001, the Ministry of Education recognized us as China’s top IMBA program, and we have maintained our strong standing to this day. We couldn’t have accomplished this without MIT Sloan.”


Gao He, associate dean of the School of Business and Tourism Management at Yunnan University, adds, “The curriculum was just the beginning of what turned out to be a very rich and extensive education. I saw how vital teaching style is to being an effective professor. I learned how to use case studies as a teaching tool and how to integrate teaching assistants into the process. And I learned that a continent is no barrier to friendship.”


Growth has been a key theme in this partnership, according to Sun Yimin, associate dean of Fudan University School of Management. “When I had to come up with a name for our 10th-anniversary event, I thought about how we were growing because of the partnership with MIT—our school, our market, our society—and how we all share the same vision for progress. That’s how we came to celebrate ‘Growing with Vision.’ That theme is still very applicable today.”


In 2011, the project also became part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Project, a program to provide 10,000 women in underserved parts of the world with management education, access to capital, networks, and mentors. MIT Sloan joined the program through the MIT Sloan-Yunnan University Women’s Entrepreneur Program. Through this project, Yunnan faculty spend time at MIT Sloan for training in areas of entrepreneurship and action learning and MIT Sloan faculty and administrators assist with the design of workshops and laboratory courses that Yunnan faculty teach to women entrepreneurs.


The China Leaders for Global Operations is another example of the project’s growth. Developed in 2005 at the request of a group of U.S. industrial partners as a collaboration of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the MIT Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program, the China Leaders for Global Operations (CLGO) became China’s only dual-degree, graduate-level program in engineering and management. The contents and materials for the CLGO curriculum are provided by MIT, and core SJTU faculty teaching in the program are mentored during semester-long fellowships at MIT.


White says, “The true success of our work in China is a tribute to our sponsors, alumni and friends, who made our project possible. The enduring success is a tribute to the wonderful people of China we have been privileged to work with. At the end of the day, we are left with lasting relationships with wonderful people who are dedicated, and care deeply about China and MIT.”


For more information on the MIT-China Management Education Project, please visit: https://mitsloan.mit.edu/globalmitsloan/china.php


The MIT Sloan School of Management is where smart, independent leaders come together to solve problems, create new organizations, and improve the world. Learn more atmitsloan.mit.edu.