Frank Vidal, dean of Audencia Nantes Business School

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French business school Audencia Nantes is the latest European business school to launch a double degree MBA programme and other courses in collaboration with universities in China. The school, which has a Paris campus as well as one in Nantes, has signed agreements with two Beijing-based institutions.

Earlier this week Esade Business School, from Barcelona, announced that it will launch a dual degree with the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University in September 2015. And in June this year London Business School and Fudan University, in Shanghai, announced that they would teach a double degree Masters in Management (MiM) programme for pre-experience students, also from September 2015.

Audencia’s first accord is with the Beijing Institute of Technology. Audencia will teach the double degree MBA, a double degree Grande Ecole Masters in Management programme and an international masters degree with BIT. The second agreement is with Tsinghua University’s School of Continuing Education. The two institutions will launch an executive DBA programme in responsible management and also a six-month “prépa” class, which will enable Tsinghua graduates to study on Audencia’s two-year Masters in Management programme.

Research collaboration is also included as part of the relationships with the two Chinese universities.

Frank Vidal, dean of Audencia, says there are a number of reasons for the rush of European business schools to forge alliances in China. The first is the need to find new markets as the economy in Europe stagnates. But for France in particular, there has been a surge of agreement because 2014 marks the 50-year anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between France and China.

“We have chosen our partners carefully,” says Prof Vidal. Audencia’s aim is to recruit 50 per cent of its students from outside France by 2015 – today 75 per cent of students are French. “We need a way of recruiting the best students and this is one way to do that.”

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