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MIT Course Series: Window into a Western MBA

Juan Carlos Aguilar, GMBA Class of 2017

 

Throughout the first year, Tsinghua-MIT Global MBA students were visited by professors from MIT who traveled from Boston to Beijing to offer lectures in a variety of disciplines, including finance, accounting, and operations, among others. Among the participating MIT Sloan faculty were Pierre Azoulay, Scott Stern, Jacob Cohen, Ofer Sharone, Neal Hartman, and others. During the MIT mini-courses, GMBA students had the opportunity to learn theory at the hand of reputable professors and to put this knowledge in practice through different business case studies. Most of the cases we studied were focused on American companies, which was an enriching experience for students, as they had the challenge of putting their minds in different environments than that of their daily life. It was a prime opportunity to mix and compare different ways of doing business in the two leading countries of the world, which hold some remarkable differences.

 

Several of the classes focused on offering students a range of strategic approaches to varying business contexts and challenges. We learned how to make critical decisions in such scenarios and how to proactively develop a coherent strategy. One particularly practical course was Art of Negotiation. During this mini-course, we practiced facing various types of negotiation scenarios through simulated exercises in which students role-played to defend the interests they were assigned. Other courses emphasized value chain strategies, cross-cultural communication, financial report analysis, and managing innovation. Having the luxury of comparing the Western lens on these topics with the Eastern one was especially worthwhile for both Chinese and international students.

 

The enthusiasm from students during these courses was a clear indication of the value proposition afforded by the series of MIT courses. Perhaps the most rewarding dimension of the Tsinghua-MIT Global MBA program is the opportunity to gain deep perspective regarding different business practices from different parts of the world. The MIT Sloan visiting faculty gave students the opportunity to share and overlay their unique international experiences and ultimately cultivated an environment in which each student could learn something new from both the faculty and fellow cohort members.