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Lies the future of the MBA in Asia?

The tremendous growth of the Chinese economy has created high demand for well-trained managers, causing many middle managers, executives, and business owners in China to go back to school to seek business education, writes Shu-Hsing Li, dean and professor of accounting from the College of Management at National Taiwan University in a recent essay. Due to the sheer size of China’s population this could mean a large number of students will be applying for part-time EMBA programmes in the near future.

According to Li the MBA trend started nearly 10 years ago and opened up a new market for business schools. In China, so far, only a handful out of the total 233 business schools have been able to achieve one of the highly regarded accreditations from Equis or AACSB, and therefore many aspiring managers fell into the arms of foreign business schools. Li predicts, however, that if the momentum continues, this will change within the next 10 years and China will develop its own world-class business schools. A first step into this direction is reflected by the introduction of a local accreditation system that the China National MBA Education Supervisory Committee plans for later this year. John Quelch, vice-president and dean of the China-Europe International Business School, is one high-profile supporter for example who has pledged his school’s help in establishing such an accreditation system.

As soon as the quality of teaching rises, Shu-Hsing Li also foresees that local quality business schools will compete with American or European schools for local as well as worldwide students and that Western business schools may experience a decline in the number of students in their programmes.

Some schools have reacted to this “threat” and jumped on the band wagon in Asia establishing co-operations with Asian schools to not be left out in the future. A recent example is Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western University, in Cleveland in the US that has joined ranks with the School of Economics and Management at Tongji University, in Shanghai in China, and Xavier Labour Relations Institute, in Jamshedpur in India (also see “News from the schools”).

Another Asian country where the MBA degree is constantly gaining in popularity is India. A recent press release from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which administers the GMAT test, an entry exam that most business schools demand for their admission process, announced that Indians represented the third largest group of GMAT examinees after U.S.-American and Chinese residents. 27 per cent of all Asian test examinees were of Indian origin in 2011. And according to a GMAC survey the job perspective is still looking good for Indian MBA graduates with a high employer demand for new MBA hires in 2012. 88 per cent of Indian companies said they planned to hire compared to the global average of 79 per cent of companies. A staggering 90 per cent of the class of 2012 business school graduates in India reported they had a job offer at the time of graduation.

China daily

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