The MBA is the world’s most popular graduate business management degree, but what is it like to study one in two of the world’s most global cities?
TopMBA caught up with Jack and Richard, two Tsinghua Global MBA graduates to find out.
An opportunity to study at two of the world’s top universities
The Global MBA at Tsinghua University in Beijing allows students to complete a dual MBA degree in partnership with other big-name business schools around the world, including HEC Paris. Students split their studies spending one year in Tsinghua and one year at a partner school.
For Richard and Jack, the decision to study an MBA in Beijing and Paris at two of the world’s top-ranked universities was an easy one.
“I decided to pursue the Tsinghua-HEC dual degree because it is administered by the best business schools in both parts of the world, each with a unique set of focus and learning environments,” said Jack, who spent the first year of his MBA studying in Paris before moving to Beijing for his second year.
Access new ways of business
Beijing and Paris are home to some of the biggest economies in the world and multiple successful firms and start-ups, making them popular destinations for MBA students who are looking to develop new skills and gain invaluable business knowledge.
Richard began his MBA studying in Beijing before moving to Paris for the second year of his MBA. He emphasises the importance of learning the cultural elements of both Eastern and global businesses – which is another reason why he specifically chose to study the Tsinghua Global MBA.
He said: “In the fundamental phase study at Tsinghua, a rigorous combination of academic training and hands-on learning taught me core management skills. In the customised phase study at HEC-Paris, I can tailor the MBA programme to match my personal aspirations and professional objectives.”
Jack agrees: “The one thing I enjoyed the most about my MBA was the infusion of experiences and connections across histories and geography to tackle the global business challenges that will shape our generation.”
Chance to connect with a diverse and like-minded cohort
Business in the modern era is inherently global and so one of the biggest benefits of an MBA is the opportunity to study alongside a cohort of like-minded, talented professionals from all over the world and form valuable business networks.
For Jack and Richard, an MBA that would take them across two continents was the perfect opportunity for them to do just that. They agree it has helped them become more culturally and globally sensitive individuals in both their professional and personal lives.
Jack said: “Communication and negotiations are a big part of business, and the nature of those exchanges can vary greatly across settings. From the MBA, I learnt to engage with a diverse set of people from wide ranging backgrounds. This proved invaluable in my current role as a management consultant.”
Richard echoes Jack’s sentiments: “I had the privilege to work with some amazing people across two continents. Often there was a lot of talking and excitement about business impact from different but interesting perspectives. I should say that it is good practice to be a global citizen.
“The best way to truly immerse yourself in global issues is to experience them first-hand, and the dual degree MBA helped. It gave me the chance to think with empathy from a global perspective.”
It’s not all work and no play…
Aside from assignments and studying, Jack and Richard remember their time spent in Beijing and Paris fondly.
For Jack, evenings and weekends would be spent socialising with classmates, visiting new areas of Paris, experiencing French cuisine and sightseeing.
He said: “Some of the highlights include a leadership bootcamp at the French military academy Saint-Cyr; a wine tour across Bordeaux, tasting at Château Margaux a wine from a business case that I studied; exploring famous architecture at the Napoleonic Palace in nearby Versailles, and travelling across Europe with friends to places such as Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, Lisbon, and many more.
“It was a rich experience for what seemed like a very short school year. Studying in Beijing was different, but equally rewarding. The Tsinghua campus is beautiful with a rich history. Outside of the campus, exists a vibrant city with both historical and modern monuments that offered endless exploration.”
Richard says he had a “great time” in Beijing, and it was a “dream come true” when he got the chance to sing on stage at the Tsinghua MBA Gala Night. He was also a key member of the university’s ping-pong team in which he won his first championship.
And when it came to living in Paris for a year, he says it’s a city that you can “easily fall in love with”.
So, what’s next?
Between learning new cultures and exploring new ways of doing business, studying an MBA abroad is undoubtedly an enriching experience, one that can make you stand out in a competitive job market.
Prior to the MBA, Jack was a military officer with experience in military strategy and operations but had always wanted to move into strategy consulting and had a particular interest in the technology industry.
After graduating from the MBA, Jack secured a role as a consultant in strategy and private equity in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) industry back in the US in San Francisco.
Richard considers himself lucky as an MBA graduate who has been able to ‘restart’ his career, switching from international trade to industrial real estate. Despite not knowing anything about the industry before the MBA, Richard credits the Tsinghua Global MBA for equipping him with the essential know-hows of international business and for giving him the confidence to explore new areas of interest.
“After graduating in 2014, I came back to Beijing and joined China Fortune Land Development Co., Ltd in its elite MBA programme, helping the company found its European subsidiary in Munich.
“In 2019, I shifted to China VAST Group as vice president and the general manager of the Shanghai representative office where my main job is to attract foreign direct investment to the industrial parks.”
So, what’s next for the pair?
“I wish I could contribute something to promote the Sino-European collaboration. Our plan is to open the offices in Beijing and Shanghai to attract more people,” said Richard.
“I would like to continue to bring the unique perspectives garnered from my MBA to strategy consulting, creating the most value possible for my company and clients, and I aspire to bring strategic leadership to the TMT industry through global public and private partnerships,” said Jack.
By Stephanie L