Asian Firms Tap Western Business Schools

Ann McClure's picture

Fueled by an appetite for growth, corporations in China, India and other markets in Asia are sending an army of managers and executives to Western business schools to groom future leaders. U.S. and European business schools, meanwhile, are cashing in on the growing roster of clients from cash-rich companies and strengthening ties with the markets and people driving the world economy.

“To sustain the high rate of growth in the emerging markets, there is a sense they need to develop world-class capabilities,” said Harbir Singh, professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “That is really the core reason that people are upgrading their skills and making sure they are globally competitive.”

For Bin Yu, chief financial officer of Tudou, a leading online video distributor in China, the move to get more master’s degrees in business, and executive M.B.A.’s for those already in the field, is obvious.

“You have seen the trend of going for M.B.A. and E.M.B.A. starting to pick up in the past 10 years, especially in the past five years, along with the evolution of Chinese economic system as it gets exposed to the outside world,” she said. Ms. Yu signed up for the executive M.B.A. program at Insead, based in France, last spring. The one-week-per-month class modules took her to the school’s campuses in Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Fontainebleau in France as well as to Tsinghua University in Beijing, with which Insead has a relationship.

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