Cornell and Tsinghua launch double degree MBA in Beijing

Johnson will be the first top US school to teach a full-time MBA in China

Cornell University’s Johnson school and Tsinghua University in Beijing are to launch a double degree programme in which participants will be awarded an MBA degree from Cornell and a Finance MBA from Tsinghua’s PBC School of Finance – formerly the graduate school of the People’s Bank of China. The programme is part of a wider collaboration between the Johnson school and Tsinghua.

Several brand name business schools already offer an Executive MBA – an MBA for working managers - in China. In February the Kellogg School of Management announced its agreement with Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management to run an EMBA programme in the country’s capital and Insead jointly teaches an EMBA with Tsinghua.

One of the big differences between these programmes and the Cornell initiative is that the Cornell MBA will be taught in Chinese as well as English, according to Soumitra Dutta, dean of the Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Prof Dutta says that the alliance between the schools has two strategic advantages for Cornell. The first is to help make both the professors and students at the Johnson school more aware of what is happening in business in China. “From the global perspective, the US and China are the two big players right now.”

The collaboration will also mean that professors from Cornell will be teaching some of China’s fastest-rising financial stars. “If you want to have more influence in China, you need to have more local alumni,” says Prof Dutta. “To change the dynamics you need to generate more alumni locally in China, people who are going to live in China.”

As well as a Wall Street trek, participants will take some classes in the US with Cornell’s MBA and EMBA students there. They will also participate in classes in the one-year Cornell Tech MBA programme taught in New York. Prof Dutta believes there will be a natural tie-in between Cornell Tech and Tsinghua, which is China’s most prestigious science university, and often referred to as the MIT of China.

The 21-month double degree programme will begin in April 2015, and is expected to enrol about 65 students a year, with an average age of 30 to 35.

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