2009.03.24 China Radio International—Tsinghua, MIT Talents Help Young Chinese Firm CreditEase
Jul 12, 2020

A team of MBA students from the international MBA program of China's Tsinghua University and the Massachusetts Institute of Techonology in the U.S. are teaming up in Beijing on an interactive project to help Chinese money-lender CreditEase sharpen its marketing strategies.


“We are hoping to get a look at some financial information, to see what proportions of the company's funds are being spent in different sectors.” Marie Cheng, an American MBA student at Tsinghua University, expressed at a work briefing on Wednesday.


Although Marie Cheng and her classmates have just recently begun their research at CreditEase, they had already done comprehensive preparatory work beforehand.


Their team, comprising an American and a Chinese IMBA from the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management and an Indian and Chinese MBA student from the MIT Sloan School of Management, will spend two weeks as consultants at CreditEase. Their primary focus will be to work on a mini-consulting project to provide the Chinese firm with ready-to-use business recommendations at the end of their research.


The project, called China Lab, sends MBA students from MIT and its cooperating Chinese counterparts, including Tsinghua University, to a number of Chinese companies to work on problems host companies want fixed.


For Tang Ning, founder and chairman of CreditEase, the consultant team of Tsinghua and MIT MBAs are most welcomed.


His firm, a small-loan broker service of credit and risk management, is one of the first companies to fill the blank left by government-sponsored and bank-supported loans. It is one of the many young Chinese entrepreneurial firms in Beijing's dynamic CBD.


Established in 2006, CreditEase perceives a huge domestic market for young people who have the need to borrow money but have nothing to provide as collateral and the emerging affluent Chinese group who wish to lend but are unable to find a secure way to do so.


Though a start-up company, CreditEase has established subdivisions in 14 Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou and helped over 10,000 borrowers secure private loans.


Jonathan Lehrich, a teacher at MIT Sloan School of Management who supervises the project, tells CRI why the China Lab Project chose CreditEase.


“The most attractive projects for us tend to be the entrepreurial firms. We are not going to talk to large state-owned enterprises; our students just can't have that much impact. Nor do we want companies that are in their early developmental stages. We are looking for companies that are young, fast-growing and have had some degree of success.”


According to Tang Ning, many of CreditEase's borrower clients are college students who want to improve themselves but are short of cash. The majority of loans via CreditEase are no larger than 20,000 yuan.


The firm also has nationwide ties with over 60 educational training organizations, where borrowers can apply for favourable terms, Tang said.


More than a new financial product, Tang Ning calls the service of his company an “innovative model” in China.


“Never ever in the past, could one individual manage money in this way, lending to multiple individuals in smaller amounts and in a risk-diversified way.” He said.


As a graduate from Peking University, Tang Ning has employed many graduates from there and from Tsinghua University, including several MBA students.


Tang encouraged his new international consulting team to spend more time with his employees, calling the process an 'interactive' one.


He hopes his firm can benefit from his consulting team's case studies on other versions of student loan firms around the world, particularly in the U.S.


“Because the U.S. market is very advanced, we are interested in better understanding its evolution. Their humble beginnings, rapid development, and some of the challenges along the way and where things are today.” He said.


At the time of this report, Marie Cheng and her workmates are busy working at CreditEase and upon the conclusion of their research, they will present a final representation on May 1st.


Jonathan Lehrich, who vowed not to interfere with his students' consulting project so as not to disturb their independent research, says that he won't be happy if his students only come up with data from their research. What he expects, are recommendations about CreditEase's business strategy that the young Chinese firm could follow and make a difference with.



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