Jean-Paul Larçon and Geneviève Barré chronicle the development of Chinese management education and economic transformation since 1984.
The 1980s saw the start of modern management education in China. To accompany economic reform the Chinese government launched an initiative with the specific objective of improving the quality and effectiveness of business management through the development of specialised management education.
Tsinghua University (Tsinghua SEM) in Beijing founded its School of Economics and Management in 1984. The school’s first dean was Zhu Rongji, then Deputy Minister of the State Economic Commission, a future mayor of Shanghai (1987-1991) and of China (1998-2003).
With a history of business and management education dating back to 1917, Shanghai’s Fudan University reintroduced management training at undergraduate level in 1979, leading to the creation of the Fudan University School of Management in 1985.
In 1991 the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council (ADCSC) and the Ministry of Education gave the go-ahead for trial MBA programmes in nine universities including Tsinghua, Fudan and the Renmin University of China.
At the same time, China was opening its doors to international co-operation in management education.
An initiative created by the European Union and supported by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) gave birth in 1984 to the China-EU Management Institute (CEMI). Ten years later this became the China- Europe International Business School (CEIBS) relocated to Shanghai in the form of a partnership between EFMD and Shanghai Jiao Tong University with the support of the EU.
In the same year, Dalian University of Technology introduced the first American MBA in China in partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY) School of Business at Buffalo.
In 1991, the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and the French Foundation for Management Education (FNEGE) created the first Franco-Chinese Institute of Management Training (IFCM).
In summary, since 1984 management education in China has undergone a dramatic expansion. The annual number of students entering an MBA in China went from under 100 in 1991 to over 12,000 in 2001 and up to 20,000 in 2011. This
boom reflects the increasing demand among Chinese businesses for expertise and the growing attraction of a career in business for Chinese students.
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