A long and serious special report on China’s B-School boom appears in BusinessWeek. The article stresses that the methods taught at one of China’s elite business schools is pretty much the same as you would find at Harvard, Wharton, or MIT’s Sloan School.
It allows there is some Mandarin spoken but the classes, course materials, subject matter, and even the teachers are virtually identical to their U.S. counterparts. It claims that most MBA programs attended by China’s top students are very much the product of Western educational institutions.
It is the speed which surprises the most. In just 15 years, Chinese B-schools have raced through the evolution it took U.S. B-schools more than half a century to accomplish mainly by adopting the U.S. model wholesale.
For U.S. companies can be seen in two ways.
- In the massive market of 1.3 billion people, the graduates of the nation’s new MBA programs supply a steady stream of local talent with in-depth knowledge of China.
- It could be argued that American multinationals (a contradiction in terms but a valid description) could find themselves confronting Chinese companies in possession of the management knowhow needed to go head to head with global giants.
McKinsey & Co. estimates — and this can be no more than an educated guess — that China will require 75,000 top-level executives with global experience by 2010, about 70,000 more than it has now.
With the percentage of high school students entering college on the upswing, from 11 percent in 1998 to 19 percent today, many deans believe China will soon see a surge in enrollments that will transform the MBA even further into a must-have degree.