BiMBA - Bringing together East and West (2)


BiMBA - Bringing together East and West (2)

By Sarah Kent

Increasing numbers of Chinese students are also interested in international MBAs. As Bruce Stening, Vlerick International Dean of BiMBA, explains, "Young Chinese recognize the need to have a more global mindset.  While that might be gained by going abroad to do an MBA, they see advantages in attending an internationally-focused MBA in China."

These advantages are becoming relevant to more and more students. When BiMBA was founded, the majority of Chinese applicants worked for large multinationals (MNCs), but in the past four years the number of applicants from private and state-run businesses has increased these businesses enter international markets. 

BiMBA comes under the umbrella of Peking University, but as a joint ventures, it is also to offer its students the benefit of Vlerick’s resources. Laura Johnson, 30, a British citizen who graduated from BiMBA in 2008 and went on to start her own business in Beijing, says one reason she chose BiMBA was the Vlerick degree she would earn, as well as the guarantee of study with internationally renowned professors - 80% of the professors at BiMBA are international. 

Another distinguishing feature of BiMBA is the emphasis placed on economic research. In this, it benefits from being operated by the China Center for Economic Research (CCER) which functions as a think-tank for the Chinese government.

Dr. Zhang emphasizes the benefits to students of having access to such a famous economic research institution: it takes the MBA beyond simply a study of management and allows students to gain an in-depth understanding of China’s micro-economic climate.

However, Dr. Zhang does not see BiMBA's strengths as purely academic. The program strives to create a close-knit community. Classes are kept small; the full time MBA only takes between 50-60 students, while the part-time class has an intake double this size. The course begins with an outward-bound team building exercise, such as a hike in China's grass lands or mountains - an activity that also gives students the opportunity to gain a better understanding of China.  

For Dr. Zhang, this element of the course is just as important as the academic side. Students from different backgrounds are given the chance to form friendships and gain insights into each other's diverse perspectives. He values this knowledge just as highly as the MBA curriculum.  

The close ties that students form on the course also have benefits for the future. BiMBA has a well-established mentoring program that matches students with alumni working in the student's field of interest, many of whom hold prestigious positions at MNCs. The success of this program is reflected in the impressive 98% employment rate BiMBA has for graduates of its full-time MBA program. 

BiMBA, and programs like it, are a proud reflection of China's move to the forefront of the global economy and its development in the global community. Its importance lies in the message that it sends for the future: that students do not only gain an insight into the ways in which Chinese and Western cultures mix and benefit from each other, but that they become part of that synthesis.