Gaining a Truly Global Experience With The Double Degree |

Gaining a Truly Global Experience With The Double Degree

By Phil Cottrell

Updated April 12, 2018 Updated April 12, 2018

This article is sponsored by Peking University's, Guanghua School of Management.

Peking University's Guanghua School of Management established its first double degree program back in 2001, when it signed a cooperation agreement with NUS Business School in Singapore. This program continues to allow its cohorts to gain a global business outlook by studying in two of Asia’s most diverse and dynamic business landscapes. Partnerships such as this have multiplied over recent years and now Guanghua offers MBA students a choice of 12 double degree programs. Collaboration with top business schools across the globe, in locations such as New York, Barcelona and Seoul provide ample opportunities for global learning.


The benefits of North American partnerships

The benefits of North American partnerships
Of those 12 double degree programs, four are run in conjunction with partner business schools in North America. It was at one of these institutions, McCombs School of Business, in Austin, Texas, that Lina Xu discovered her ideal program.

She was perhaps destined to study at Guanghua. In her own words “Peking University was my dream school, back even to high school when I was a teenager. When I was exploring MBA schools, of course, Guanghua School of Business was my first choice.”

Having always had the desire to study overseas as well, the double degree program was a great match for Lina. She chose McCombs as, “[It] has the best energy finance program in the world.” Aside from the advantages of gaining two degrees from two different schools, Lina explains that for her, “Obtaining the experience and enlarging your horizon is way more important than the degree itself.” She cites networking opportunities as a key benefit.

While the US and China might be two of the world’s major superpowers, there are clear cultural differences between the two countries. Lina believes the program helped her to be adaptive to the environment around her, and has taught her the skills to acclimatize to different cultures and customs much faster and easier. “One thing that comes into my mind directly is the way you interact with people. The new generation of Chinese people are more aggressive at getting things done, due to the outside environment pushing us to be competitive.”


Offering a different Asian perspective

Offering a different Asian perspective
Nick Cheng might not have travelled half way across the world for his double degree, but that isn’t to say his experiences have been any less international.

Having spent his first year at Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy (ICS) at Hitotsubashi University, in Japan, he is very aware of the cultural and teaching differences between the two schools and countries.

He remarks that the major advantage of splitting the MBA across two countries was how it helps you prepare for global roles. “The main reason is learning from diversity. By splitting the MBA between two schools and two countries, it can help you understand how cultural differences impact on education, processes, and daily operations. By understanding different worlds, it will help you tackle problems with wider viewpoints.”

There are many subtle differences that allow students the chance to learn from others and the way that they approach learning and business. He describes the ‘Chinese culture’ at Guanghua as,“less organized but gives students more freedom to learn and try things by themselves", while the 'Japanese culture' at ICS meant that things were, "very well organized - everything was planned out by the beginning of the year and followed through without much deviation. The school gave us the chance to do rice planting, Zen meditation class, visit senior homes, and [participate in] a special week called Knowledge Week, to give students time and space for self-reflection.”


A double degree so good she had to stay

A double degree so good she had to stay
Chua Nan Sze doesn’t do things by halves. In fact, she tends to do them in doubles. “Even during my undergraduate days, I double majored in economics and psychology to pursue two very different disciplines,” she reveals. It should then have come as little surprise when she embarked on the NUS-Peking University double degree program. After all, “Why go for one when you can have your cake and eat it too?”

She further reinforces the advantages of getting a world view, “Especially for such a unique combination of Peking University and the National University of Singapore, there are many opportunities to compare and contrast. Singapore is a modern cosmopolitan city while Beijing is steeped in culture and tradition. I got to learn lessons from the rich history of China that can be applied in business warfare in modern society today.”

Another benefit that she experienced, as do many double degree MBA students, was the chance to pick up or improve upon language skills. “Best of all, I could take classes comfortably in English while honing my Chinese language skills through daily conversation with faculty members and friends.”

In terms of her own career, the time at NUS was clearly enjoyable enough for her to return as the current director of graduate studies at the school. “Today I oversee the entire suite of MBA, executive MBA and MPAM (master in public administration and management) programs in NUS Business School. I strongly believe that my double degree MBA, coupled with my leadership skills, experience in China and my strong work ethic, have given me the necessary boost to excel and get to where I am today.”


The advantages of the double degree, then, are clear. In an age where technology has brought the world closer together than ever before, the skills required to work globally are key. Through studying in different countries and having the chance to completely immerse yourself in different cultures, these programs help students become true global business people and citizens. 

Apart from the double degree program with ESADE (students need to apply and be accepted to both ESADE and Guanghua at the same time in order to enroll), students need to be accepted to Guanghua before they can apply to their program of interest.

This article is sponsored by Peking University's, Guanghua School of Management

This article was originally published in February 2018 . It was last updated in April 2018

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Phil is the editor of and has a breadth of editorial and digital marketing experience. He has worked across a variety of industries from e-commerce and commercial real estate to managing all content for a C-suite careers site aimed at UK and US professionals.

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