An education: MBAs with Chinese characteristics

BEIJING: At business school with Chinese characteristics, undergraduate students debating how a company should deal with striking workers get a harsh reality check from their professor.While students suggest negotiating better benefits for the strikers — a textbook answer — their lecturer presents them with a classic Chinese company tactic: Get law enforcement to break up the labour action.China´s Communist Party has adapted market economics to its own system since enacting major reforms in 1978, paving the way for the rise of many companies — and creating the need for business schools to train a new class of entrepreneurs.”Forty years ago, the idea of a business school would have been inconceivable,” Mao Jiye, dean of the business school in Beijing´s elite Renmin University, told AFP. “Forty years ago, we never had any business research institutions like that.”On December 18, 1978, the Communist Party launched “reform and opening up” under then leader Deng Xiaoping, a series of market-oriented economic reforms aimed at attracting foreign investment.As new money flooded into the country, there came a need for an expertise in managing companies that were geared towards the market economy. At Renmin, which claims to be the first Chinese university to offer a master´s in business administration, students learn to manage human resources and work within organisational structures, but also get tips on how to navigate China´s notoriously complex business world.The theories are mostly Western but the case studies discussed are all Chinese, Mao said, citing home-grown firms like electronics giant Haier and internet giants Tencent and Alibaba. “There is a push to be creative with theory application because the market is multifaceted and very international and in the midst of change,” second-year student Li Tangge told AFP.Over 2,000 post-graduate students go through Renmin´s doors every year — nearly half are in the MBA programme, with about 100 from outside China. “Foreign students come to Renmin University to better understand the Chinese landscape, Chinese application of Western theory,” Mao said.He dismisses suggestions that the programme is a study in contrasts, with entrepreneurship and private ownership diametrically opposed to Marxism, the bedrock of the Chinese government. “What we do in the day-to-day is think about how to help enterprises increase productivity, and grow wealth. I feel this is something that doesn´t conflict with Communist principles,” Mao said.
Source: The News International
An education: MBAs with Chinese characteristics