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Tianjin University—an International MBA Center
| Updated: 2013-04-24 10:12:14 | By Paula Taylor (JIN Magazine) |

Being in the right place at the right time is crucial, it can be life changing. With China's status as a super economy already established, now is the right time to be here and now is a great time to be in Tianjin. No longer is Tianjin the poor relation to Beijing, it is coming out from under the shadow and is emerging as a viable option to work and study.

Businesses are wising up and realising that good training is essential to fast development. Bosses are willing to invest in their most precious commodity - their staff. Good Managers need on-going training in able to better fulfil their own potential and that of their subordinates. As discussed in a previous article, it is not necessarily essential for Chinese students to go abroad to get a good education as they can obtain it here, but for foreign students looking for a good MBA programme, Tianjin also has good opportunities.

Tianjin University has been chosen as the latest partner of the IMM MBA Project, which has been described by the Financial Times as "one of the world's most senior international MBAs". This is truly an international collaboration, as seven leading business schools worldwide participate in this programme. A unique factor of joining the programme is that a student obtains not one, but two degrees, a Purdue University MBA and an MBA from Tianjin University.

Having been started at Purdue University in the US 20 years ago, the IMM program is not a new concept, it is well established and respected. Tianjin University's Professor Wei Zhang gave us some background information. Professor Zhang really believes in this course and has confidence in the myriad benefits to be had. The IMM Program spans a 20-month period. It is distinctive in that the subsequent instructional sessions are concentrated into five two-week residential periods. This schedule makes it possible for participants to be drawn from around the world, and it eliminates the problem of potential interruptions in their education for participants who experience job transfers during the program.

The mandate of the course is learning through experience. In a normal work situation Managers would only generally have a short time to resolve issues and then maybe they would hastily make a wrong decision. Enrolling on this programme means the students, who are mostly already managers, will have a chance to have brainstorming sessions with other like-minded managers and will be able to solve problems in real time. Imagine having the opportunity to pick the brains of the best in the business!

Sounds good so far but still I wanted to know why someone should choose this programme rather than any other. It is competitively priced and even cheaper than some programmes as everything is included, books, tuition, and accommodation. The only thing that is not included is the international air fare, so at 55,000 euros it really is a feasible option.

Apart from the reasonable cost there are other sound reasons to join this programme. Students will only be in a foreign environment for two weeks of the course, so the usual problems associated with a new environment will not really be felt. Everything is done to make the students' lives easy so that they can study with no distraction. Enrolling on this course will really give the students an international experience, as apart from living away from their own country, they will also be able to mix with students of many other nationalities. As already stated this programme was set up 20 years ago in the US with Europe as a partner, but now China, Brazil and Hungary have also been added as partners.

As far as learning in the classroom is concerned, this is just one aspect of the course, but another important part is being given access to business people in different places and seeing how they do things. Also as the student body is made up of students from four continents, they all have very different perspectives. Another benefit is that this is not a full time MBA course, it is broken down into five instalments so students will be able keep their jobs as well as studying

This programme is as good as anything else offered elsewhere in the world, in part because of its longevity and good reputation, hence although there are different branches, the quality of teaching has been maintained. As it is an international programme at the moment the school is recruiting Chinese students to take part. There are more than 1,000 top business people that have already attended this programme. The beauty of it is that it connects business people together with other people who can advance their business interests. In China connections are everything, the valuable relationships that are formed on the course will have long lasting benefits.

Extensive teamwork is mandatory and there are case studies to be examined which must be their own experience, real problems that they will face. They can talk about these problems, analyse them and can find ways to solve them, so this experience is very valuable. It is a perfect opportunity to enhance their critical thinking ability. In the real world sometimes Managers don't get enough time to think of a perfect fix, but on this programme it can be part of their study

As they are only here for a short time Professor Zhang and his team do not anticipate participants will face any real problems, but in any event there is a sufficient support network in place. Naturally the course allows for a little time to sample local culture.

Professor Zhang says "It is a good time to come to China to study as we live in a changing world, if you want to be a global leader you cannot ignore this part of the economy. Now is the right time to be in China and get on board before it is too late". Students do not have to worry about speaking Chinese as all the classes are in English.

Tianjin University would like to develop greater collaboration with more schools, at the moment it is affiliated with a number of them including Purdue University, University of Arizona, Plymouth and Portsmouth Universities in the UK, Hong Kong University and Taiwan University among others.

Students who enrol on this programme will also find that the value of it includes global vision and international networking, which will bring them to new heights. Training local talent is also very important. More and more companies are willing to pay for this extra training for their staff, so many students are either fully or partially supported by their companies. This programme also helps Chinese entrepreneurs.

Professor Zhang went on to say "The change of leadership will bring new ways of thinking and development. I also teach an entrepreneur's class so I know their mind set. This course will help Chinese people compete in the international market and get them to understand the international standards".

It definitely looks as though Tianjin University is a viable option for any potential Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerbergs out there who want to achieve their highest potential. China may not be the first choice for anyone wanting to undertake a course like this, but the smart person will not dismiss the idea without giving it careful consideration.


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