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10 Reasons Why You Should Choose China For Your MBA

From affordable tuition to top career prospects, there has never been a better time to study for an MBA in China

Wed Apr 3 2024

BusinessBecause

For many years, business school students seemingly had two choices: study in Europe or study in North America. Now, that has all changed. Business schools in Asia feature prominently in the most prestigious global MBA rankings, and the rise has been spearheaded by business schools in China.

The rankings are a reflection of growing global interest in MBA programs in China. Tuition fees are generally more affordable than in Europe or North America, while career prospects rival their Western counterparts.

Here are 10 reasons why more and more students are venturing East to study for an MBA in China:


1. Combine Eastern and Western management styles

China first opened its doors to the Western world in the late 1970s, and since then cooperation between East and West has only grown. Modern MBA programs in China have incorporated Western management teachings into their curricula without sacrificing Eastern ideals.

Chinese-American student David Wong studied the International MBA at Fudan University School of Management. According to David, the program acted as a testing ground as he attempted to bring together those disparate styles of teaching and communicating.

“If I landed a job in China and aligned with the Western style of working with people and communicating, I probably would have made various mistakes,” he explains. “In a classroom setting, it's just one project. There's no real career impact.”

For Thai student Tadsika Tharanachetda, the International MBA at Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Antai Business School allowed her to better understand China within a global business context.

“It’s allowed me to delve deeper into understanding China and why it holds the place it has today,” she says. “The program also goes beyond the borders of China providing a distinct opportunity to learn from a global perspective.”


2. Globally-ranked MBA programs

Business schools in China and Hong Kong have become a fixture at the top of global MBA rankings. Take this example: in the 2014 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking, there were just two schools from the region in the top 50. By 2024, that number had tripled to six. Fudan University School of Management surged from 83rd in 2014 to 27th in 2024.

But it’s not just local schools giving the region greater global relevance. In recent decades some of the world’s top universities have chosen to set up satellite schools in China, including NYU, Duke and John Hopkins. Meanwhile, the joint MBA between Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management and MIT Sloan is considered one of the best of its kind in the world.

No longer are MBA rankings dominated by schools in Europe and North America. The rise of Chinese business schools is a trend that’s only expected to grow in the coming years.


3. Affordable MBA tuition fees

Despite the growing global prestige of Chinese MBA programs, tuition fees remain affordable compared to their European and North American counterparts.

For example, the 22-month MBA program at Peking University Guanghua School of Management costs around 188,000 RMB - or just USD$26,5000. At Zhejiang University School of Management, you can study a 2.5 year International MBA for just 336,000 RMB (USD$46,500). That’s a fraction of the tuition fees at leading American business schools, which can sometimes run north of $200,000.


4. The biggest post-MBA salary increases in the world

The 2024 FT Global MBA Ranking also revealed the huge career possibilities that an MBA in China could bring. 

Fudan University MBA graduates saw an average salary increase of 194% - the second-highest increase of any school in the world. Similarly, Peking University Guanghua School of Management graduates saw an increase of 143%.


5. Strong postgraduate employment rates

An MBA no longer offers the career guarantees that it once did. In 2024, MBA employment rates are down across some of the world’s leading business schools. But in China, they remain strong.

According to their most recent employment reports, 100% of graduates of both the Antai MBA and Guanghua MBA were employed three months after graduation. The employment rate at Renmin Business School is 96%, while at Fudan University it is 91%.


Read more about studying in China

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6. Silicon China

Silicon Valley may be the world’s leading tech hub, but China is its clearest competitor. 

Today it is home to more than 300 unicorns (startups valued at over USD$1 billion), and some of the country’s biggest tech companies include global giants Huawei, Tencent, and Lenovo. The astonishing growth of China’s tech sector has been buoyed by the population’s high adoption of smartphone technology. There are 974 million smartphone users in China–some 300 million more than any other country.

It all means that there are more career opportunities within China’s burgeoning tech sector than ever before. And studying an MBA is one of the best ways to break into it. The country’s leading business schools now offer specialist tech electives, while tech is an increasingly popular career path for MBA graduates in China. For instance, around 30% of Guanghua MBA students move into the tech industry after graduating. At Tsinghua University, 31% of graduates go on to work in the technology, media, and telecom (TMT) sectors.


7. International exchanges aplenty

Given the growing international links between China and the rest of the world, it’s only natural that business schools in China offer plenty of opportunities for global travel.

Jiaming Liu, who studied at Yale School of Management as a part of the Fudan IMBA, believes his experience gave him invaluable insights into the global tech industry. 

“We’ve gotten tons of insight into the high-tech prospects between China, the EU, and the US,” he says.

Partnerships between leading Chinese and American business schools are not limited to Fudan, however. Tsinghua University offers a world-leading MBA program in conjunction with MIT Sloan, while Zhejiang University School of Management allows Global MBA students to study abroad at business schools such as Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University.


8. Diverse cultural offerings, a rich history, and expanding infrastructure

Chinese cities take pride in their cultural offerings. Newcomers can take guided tours around the city to gain an overview of its history, visit museums on rainy days, join expat sports teams, lounge around in one of the country’s many inner-city parks, and, of course, try karaoke.

Thai MBA student Purita Worapornchai also highlights the modern day diversity of cities like Shanghai. 

“Not only is Shanghai one of the most developed cities in China, but also at the same time it gives me a feeling of diversity that’s very strong,” she says.

For Canadian Steven Yang, an MBA student at Antai College of Economics and Management, he was amazed by the ease of traveling through such a vast country. A trip from Shanghai to Beijing now takes just six hours after the introduction of China’s high-speed rail network. 

“During my two-year stay in China I was able to travel to many different cities, and I was very impressed by the amount of development that has happened,” he says. 


9. The opportunity to learn the world’s most-spoken language

English may be the global lingua franca, but Mandarin is the world’s most-spoken language. In fact, around one-fifth of people on Earth speak it.

Although most MBA programs in China are conducted in English, schools also make it easy for international students to learn Chinese. At Fudan University School of Management, they have the option to join a Summer Chinese Language Immersion (SCI) before starting their MBA. 

Chinese language courses form part of the MBA curriculum at Peking University, while Tsinghua University offers Chinese classes every semester.


10. China has a vital role on the global stage

An MBA is by its nature a global degree. Students are expected to master the business fundamentals, but also learn how they apply across different countries and cultures. 

Understanding China’s role in the global economy is therefore a fundamental part of any business program.

“If you’re doing anything to do with international business in this day and age at an MBA level, you cannot pretend that China isn’t an important market,” says Amber Miller-Greenman, a graduate of the International MBA program at Renmin Business School.

Perhaps Guanghua Global MBA alum Aminu Ibrahim Hashim puts it best when summarizing the lure of studying in China.

“Who wouldn’t want to be in China when entering the business world?” 

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