Why International Students are Choosing to Study in China | TopMBA.com

Why International Students are Choosing to Study in China

By Julia G

Updated March 31, 2021 Updated March 31, 2021

Choosing to study in China for an MBA or business masters is becoming an increasingly attractive prospect for international students. The country boasts one of the most dynamic and fastest growing economies in the world, with mega-cities like global financial and business centers Shanghai and Beijing.

China is progressively becoming a tech start-up hub, with business schools like China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) having start-up incubators where students can develop their ideas and connect with local and international venture capitalists.

According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Studies in International Education, the number of international students in China has grown more than tenfold since 1995, from 36,855 to 422,773.

Students are often drawn to China because of the relatively low cost of living (particularly when compared with much of Europe and the US), and the availability of scholarships. The study notes that the Chinese government provides the equivalent of US$300 million in scholarships to international students each year (particularly to students from developing nations).

So, what can you expect from choosing China for your post-graduate business studies, and where are the best places to go? Read on to find out…

What are the benefits of choosing to study in China?

Business masters and MBA programs at Chinese schools facilitate East-West co-operation. Take CEIBS, one of the top business schools in the world, whose motto is ‘China Depth, Global Breadth’.

The chance to learn Mandarin is one of the greatest benefits of an MBA education in China, especially as Mandarin speakers make up a fifth of the global population.

CEIBS requires non-native speakers to attend a summer course in Mandarin before starting their MBA studies, despite their MBA course being taught primarily in English. This cross-cultural linguistic interaction is of great benefit to both local and international students.

The most valuable skill an international student gains from undertaking an MBA in China is learning how to work with all-Chinese teams. During group work at CEIBS, one or two international students will be placed in teams with two to three Chinese nationals to facilitate this learning process.

Western and Chinese approaches to teamwork and conflict management can be very different. For example, American business culture often relies on direct, blunt communication whereas Chinese business culture tends to favor indirect communication, respect and deference. Therefore, students will learn valuable skills of making sure that all team members’ opinions and feelings are considered.

Alumni networks at Chinese schools are extensive, not least because of China’s huge population. Another major benefit for MBA students learning and working in China is they have access to multiple firms across Asia, including companies like Huawei and Alibaba.

The positives to studying in China don’t end there; The Financial Times estimates post-graduate salary after an MBA at a top Chinese business school like CEIBS can be US$160,000 – a whopping 155 percent salary hike.

What are the best business schools in China?

China has no shortage of great business schools, with three featuring in the QS World University Rankings: Global MBA Rankings 2019: CEIBS placed 25th, plus Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Antai College of Economics and Management and Sun Yat-sen Business School. CEIBS is also ranked 28th in the world for EMBA studies.

Joint EMBA programs featuring Chinese schools and campuses were extremely popular in the QS Executive MBA Rankings 2019: Joint Programs, perhaps highlighting this shift in students wishing to understand both Eastern and Western business practices. Joint EMBA programs with Chinese elements include:

Why should you consider Hong Kong?

Students wanting to get a taste of Chinese business education could consider the numerous top ranked business schools in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China. The business culture is very similar, and business schools attract students from the Chinese mainland as well as further afield. Hong Kong is also one of the world’s most significant financial centers, with the highest Financial Development Index score globally.

Four schools in Hong Kong are included in the Global MBA Rankings 2019: The University of Hong Kong, HKUST Business School, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and City University of Hong Kong. Hong Kong also features in the EMBA rankings, with CUHK ranked 24th globally. There are a number of joint EMBA programs with semesters in Hong Kong, including the number 1 ranked Kellogg/HKUST joint EMBA program.

This article was originally published in July 2019 . It was last updated in March 2021

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Written by

Julia is a writer for TopMBA.com, publishing articles for business students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.


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