You can't get much done in China without "guanxi" (a personal network) , and Tsinghua's International MBA program in Beijing is one of the few places you're almost guaranteed to get it.
Long before he became known as the "blood and iron" premier for his unyielding commitment to market reform, Zhu Rongji sought to transform China's higher education by launching Tsinghua's School of Economics and Management in 1984. Zhu hasn't slowed down during his nominal retirement. Still China's honorary chairman, Zhu
|Vital Stats||Tsinghua-MIT (Sloan)|
|Program Length:||2 years|
|Work Experience:||7 years|
noted that the school is now his "most cherished project" in a speech last year, and he's followed up on it. MBA students meet with the active octogenarian once a year at an exclusive banquet, giving them coveted access to one of the country's most powerful politicians.
Tsinghua's MBA board of advisors amounts to a list of China's key business players, including the heads of Carlyle, Blackstone (BX) and Temasek. "I sometimes feel like it's too much," says Janice Chiao, a first-year international MBA student from Taiwan. "If you're not motivated and active and out there participating in events every day, you're going to miss out on tons of opportunities to network and meet interesting people."
The undisputed top science university in the country, Tsinghua is often called "China's MIT." So it's only natural that MIT's Sloan School of Management (Sloan Full-Time MBA Profile) would be Tsinghua's main overseas partner. The partnership, initiated in 1997, has given Tsinghua a leg up in faculty training, curriculum design, and teaching materials. Every faculty member spends at least one semester teaching with a Sloan professor in Massachusetts, making the arrangement one of the longest-running exchanges for any program in China. Sloan's extensive database of case studies serves as teaching material for the international MBA program. And Sloan faculty also make regular trips to Beijing, with at least four or five MIT professors teaching full-time classes in any given semester.
A Revamped Curriculum for 2010
As the transformation of China's economy continues, Tsinghua has been forced to grow less dependent on its American partner. Tsinghua just launched a new curriculum in the fall with a heavier focus on what's relevant in China and more specialty classes developed just for Tsinghua's international MBA students. One of the more innovative programs is the BMW Global CEO lecture series. BMW (BMW:GR) executives and managers—some flown in from Germany—give weekly lectures over the course of a semester, a valuable opportunity to learn about the world's largest auto market.
"With programs like the BMW class, we're becoming more than just 'China's MIT,'" says Ma Jia, MBA admissions director for the school.
Tsinghua has another prime asset: brand. As the top-ranked school in China, Tsinghua's name means something to just about everyone in the country. "When I asked the heads and managers of the companies I was working with about which program I should go to, people kept telling me Tsinghua," says Chi-Hoong Kok, an Australian who worked in the cell phone industry for eight years before coming to Tsinghua.
Kok, who turned down an offer from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST Full-Time MBA Profile), one of Asia's top-ranked business schools, is a sign that the brand reaches across borders. Over 45 percent of this year's international MBA class is foreign-born—one of the biggest contingents of international students of any Chinese MBA program.