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The Global MBA Program: Embracing Real Diversity
Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management hosts one of the university’s 28 programs where courses are offered in English. It’s the Global Masters of Business Administration (MBA) Program. The program offers what it calls four core modules to its students – Analytical Foundation, Management Fundamentals, Soft-Skills and China and the World. Students are also free to choose amongst 9 tracks of elective courses or an exchange semester abroad in one of the 58 exchange partner schools in 26 different countries. Students can also apply to spend their second year at one of dual degree program partner schools including MIT Sloan School of Management, Columbia University and HEC Paris.
When asked about their program, three students interviewed for this profile were unanimous: the element that they like best about the program is its diversity, with MBA candidates not just from other countries but from many previous employment backgrounds and cultures.
“At Harvard (in the United States), they like to say how diverse they are, but really people mostly came from the same background, just from different countries, they probably did the same things growing up, excelling in the same things,” said Tian Zengi, a first-year Chinese MBA student who is a Harvard alumnus in comparative literature. “But here, people not only come from different countries, they also had different careers and did things I wasn’t familiar with, so it’s a very interesting mix of people.”
Tian worked for a Hollywood talent agency and in the movie industry before deciding to come back to China. The film industry is in a transition, he says, so he decided to take a break, giving him a chance to get a new degree.
Tian Zeng’s overall impression of the program is that the students in the program have different skills, so sometimes it is challenging for the professors to teach in ways that interest the entire class.
Tian Zeng at the Bloomberg Terminal in the Building of Communications and Journalism (photography taken by Angela Hua)
Moritz Bartsch at the Bloomberg Terminal in the Building of Communications and Journalism (photography taken by Angela Hua)
German student Moritz Bartsch is also a first-year, having just started the program in the Fall of 2018. He is very enthusiastic about China and the Chinese culture. Moritz decided to pursue an MBA to develop his soft skills in communicating with people better. After receiving a science degree at Oxford University and working in software development in London, he admitted that he lacked those people skills.
“Having this international class of half Chinese and half International students challenges you in a non – class situation, as well to develop some intercultural skills that I wouldn’t have developed in Europe or America,” said Moritz.
Born to a Syrian father and a Hungarian mother, Olga Kasabdji from Venezuela is definitely one of the program’s more culturally diverse students. Having worked in the event planning industry and also in the product design sector, she wanted to further develop her business skills.
Recently married, she and her husband were interested in experiencing China AND Chinese culture. They both decided to go back to school and, fortunately, they both got accepted in Tsinghua Masters programs, her in the Global MBA program and him in the International Master in Engineering Management (IMEM). “We both got in, same year and both (programs) last two years, so perfect,” she said.
Olga Kasabdji at the Bloomberg Terminal in the Building of Communications and Journalism (photography taken by Angela Hua)
The MBA program has a class committee that tries to bring people from different backgrounds and ethnicities together. They even have a “weekly blind date” system which randomly pairs a Chinese student and an international student to allow them to bond outside of their usual groups and discover each other’s culture.
All three students interviewed say the program brings a new perspective to them and helps to shape their minds in a more business-oriented direction. The career development opportunities offered to these MBA candidates at a top international university such as Tsinghua are a big draw. But upon arrival, the students discover so much more about global education.