[photopress:mba_Shangi_Uni_Cass_has_gone.jpg,full,alignright]For many western business schools the untapped market for management education in China was tempting but it wasn’t as many expected after all. Many western schools are now closing their executive MBA programs on account of red tape, difficult partners and weak demand.
Cass Business School in London, which had a joint venture with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics since 2004, closed its executive MBA program in February.
It blamed the lengthy government approval process required for each new class of students. As most foreign business schools have to collaborate with Chinese educational institutions, they have to compete with the tight control which the ministry of education exercises on joint ventures.
Weak demand is also playing a major role in the closure of executive MBA programs.
A large number of Chinese do not possess the necessary language skills to hand an all-English curriculum and the cost of these programs (around $50,000) doesn’t make the market any larger.
Among others, the European Foundation for Management Development and Shanghai Jiaotong University (seen in our illustration), has temporarily closed its Beijing outpost, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and the University of International Business and Economics have suspended their five-year-old Beijing operations. Even SUNY Buffalo, which worked with Renmin University of China ended the joint venture in 2004.
Recently another, not entirely unexpected, challenge has arisen: a growing number of sophisticated programs taught in Mandarin and Cantonese. Thirty Chinese universities are now authorized by Beijing to provide executive MBA programs.
‘The Chinese schools are coming right at the teeth of what I offer,’ says Gary Gaeth, the associate dean of the University of Iowa’s Henry B. Tippie School of Management, which will start a program with the highly regarded Peking University this year. ‘And their MBA programs are every bit as good as everyone else’s.’
Sources: BusinessWeek and Biz China Update.