The Afternoon Tea with Dean QIAN Yingyi took place on December 20, 2012 where Dean QIAN sat down with the first-year Tsinghua-MIT IMBA students for an informal and frank conversation.
Dean QIAN shared with the students his youth in China
After brief introductions by the students, Dean QIAN shared with them his youth in China and how he became part of the first class of students who entered university after the National College Entrance Examinations were reinstated in 1977, his experience in the United States getting his PhD in Economics and teaching at various American universities, before returning to China to become the Dean of Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management.
"Sometimes, you really cannot plan your career. I never thought that I could become a Dean of a school," Dean QIAN stressed, "Life is full of uncertainties. We will continue to live after the day after tomorrow."
In his seventh year as the Dean of Tsinghua SEM, he reflected on how the landscape of managing a business school has changed. Curriculums are becoming more globalized and experiential, more schools are establishing oversea campuses and partnerships, and rankings and accreditations are gaining in influence.
Although juggling these demands may be overwhelming, Dean QIAN was happy to share the latest news on the Tsinghua program. Just the day before, the SEM had introduced the latest curriculum for the EMBA program following the restructuring of the MBA curriculum four years ago. Another big change this year was formally establishing the faculty tenure system, one similar to North American universities. Nevertheless, there is always work to be done. He recognizes that as more foreign students are becoming interested in the program, the school needs to work on building more connections to reach out to them. He also forecasted that as multi-national companies with Chinese origins, such as Lenovo, increase their prominence on the world stage, Tsinghua can do more to open doors for their students in this sector.
The student raised her question
Certainly, the most important part was the Question and Answer and open discussion session. The Dean answered and addressed many of the students' concerns regarding improving visibility of extra-curricular clubs and organizations, creating a bilingual IMBA experience outside of classes, expanding the range of qualifying criteria for joining exchange programs, increasing access to study rooms in the SEM building, improving the dormitory arrangements for local Chinese students, and adding more informational resources such as the Bloomberg Terminal into the school.
Several major recurring topics were about putting more focus on practical leadership and entrepreneurship, accessing networking opportunities, and obtaining accreditations for the program. Dean QIAN was well-equipped to address these concerns as they are already part of the next three-year plan for the school.
The students and Dean QIAN had a happy talking
Dean QIAN discussed with the students about several recent efforts by the School to put more focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. He also cited Tsinghua's physical advantage next to TusPark and Zhongguancun (the technology centre of Beijing), which provides great potential for collaboration with both new and established companies to help budding entrepreneurs.
Besides outside partners, the students and faculty from Tsinghua University itself are also great networking resources. Eight inter-school symposiums were held in collaboration with other schools at Tsinghua, such as the School of Mechanical Engineering, Environment and the Academy of Fine Arts and Design. When the MBA+X double degree program rolls out, it would be another endeavour to integrate SEM with the other schools. The School is also planning to increase non-tenured professors with extensive managerial experience by inviting either retired or at-job experts in their field to teach or co-teach some courses.
The students and Dean QIAN took a group photo
The two hours of constructive conversation with Dean QIAN allowed the students to openly communicate their feelings about the School after 3 months into the program. Even though many suggestions were made by the students to improve the program, at the end of the session, the students made it a point to let the Dean know how much they have enjoyed the program so far and how much they appreciate Dean QIAN taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with them.(By Julieta Chan, Class of 2014, IMBA Student)