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A Sino-German approach to MBA education By Yang Lan Source:Global Times Published: 2015-3-23 18:03:01

 The Executive Master of Business Administration degree (EMBA) program

jointly run by Shanghai's Tongji University's School of Economics and
Management and Mannheim Business School from Germany celebrated
last Thursday the graduation of their third class of students as well as
their incoming fourth class.
As a young program with only a few years in the Chinese market, this
unique EMBA has developed strengths in combining a classical MBA
studies with a strong Sino-German focus. It provides a world-standard
education to general managers in the field of finance, marketing,
accounting and operations, integrated with the challenges of operating in
a Sino-German business environment. The program awards a Chinese
degree and a German degree. On average, the work experience of its
students is 11 years.
Presiding over the dual graduation and opening ceremony of the Tongji
Mannheim EMBA program was president of Mannheim Business School,
Professor Jens Wüstemann, who shared with the Global Times his views
on an internationalized MBA education.
GT: How do you feel about the cooperation between Mannheim and
Tongji? Have there been any major achievements and challenges in its
EMBA program?
Wüstemann: Tongji and Mannheim are cooperating in many fields of
business education, from bachelor and master education to multiyear
research. Regarding the EMBA program, it is always a little risky to bring
new MBA programs to a competitive market. But we designed it very
carefully, listened to the needs of the business community, and we are
pleased to announce our third graduation. Our students have a great deal
of experience and leadership from a variety of fields and industries. Forty
percent of the students are from Germany; 40 percent from China, and
the remaining are from the rest of the world.
GT: You have taught many Chinese senior managers and business
leaders in the EMBA course. What do you think are the strengths of
Chinese leaders, and what are their weaknesses?
Wüstemann: They are eager to learn, they have excellent skills, and they
are very motivated. They want to change the world, so they have the right
mind-set. I have to say that "weakness" is the wrong word, but if I could
think of some opportunities for improvement, they could be a bit more
creative in class. China in general is becoming more innovative, and you
can see this in a lot of industries. So instead of following ideas, Chinese
leaders should strive to develop new ideas.
GT: How can the EMBA program help them with this?
Wüstemann: A good MBA program such as ours provides opportunities in
class and out in the real world for students to test ideas, to discuss ideas,
and to exchange views with professors and corporate partners. We have
many case studies based on being innovative, and offer a module
dedicated to innovation.
GT: In your classes, what are the differences between Chinese students
and the German students?
Wüstemann: I believe that in our globalized society, there are no 'Chinese
students' or 'German students.' Having said this, we are all the result of
cultural influences. Therefore, there exist cultural differences, such as in
character and mind-sets. But there are also many similarities between the
Chinese and Germans. Students from both countries seem to be
extremely eager to learn. Many have strong engineering or mathematics
backgrounds. The industries in both our countries are also quite
GT: Why would a German choose to study an EMBA program in China?
Wüstemann: Students who work in multinational firms, such as SAP, BASF
and Bosch, know that the Asian market, particularly China and especially
Shanghai, provides incredible business opportunities. They want to be
prepared. Our program is a solution for this. It is also a great opportunity
to earn a degree from such a prestigious university as Tongji.
GT: What do you think should be further integrated into international
education programs such as the EMBA?
Wüstemann: We just discussed this Wednesday with the School of
Economics and Management at Tongji University. Developing in the field
of digitalization is a challenge to all multinational firms, so we want to
become one of the first programs to offer digitalization in a Sino-German
context. We are also thinking about designing modules from different
disciplines that combine technologies and business content.
Professor Jens Wüstemann, president of Mannheim Business
Photo: Yang Lan/GT
Posted in: Metro Shanghai
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