Asian Business Schools are Beating Western Rivals

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - 13:27

Educational institutions from Asian countries have made a quantum leap and broken into the ranks of elite schools across the world specializing in educating entrepreneurs and business managers.

In 1999, the first Financial Times global ranking included no Asian schools. Fast forward to 2018 and there are already 16 Asian schools in their rankings, from Singapore, South Korea, India, Vietnam and of course, China, University World News reports.

Obviously, the current macroeconomic climate is one of the main reasons for the rise of Asian business education. The center of the global economy has shifted and Asia will undoubtedly drive growth in the coming decades.

Business education in Asia is little more than 30 years old. The first business school in China, the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai, was founded in 1994. The business school at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is a bit older, dating back to 1991.

The booming economy has a serious shortage of professional business managers who need to be educated somewhere. That is why many business schools, in China, for example, receive government aid – the aforementioned CEIBS was created with state funds.

Government subsidies provide a key advantage for attracting students as the cost of an education at some of the top-ranked Asian business schools is cheaper than at Western schools. For example, according to the Financial Times, an 18-month course at CEIBS costs US$62,600, while the worldwide average for an MBA is US$86,000.

In addition, Asian schools are more willing to provide scholarships. CEIBS subsidizes 70% of its students, discounting between 40% and 100% of tuition fees.

Asia generally adopts a very modern approach to education, and this is what sets it apart. American and European schools primarily educate their students about Western markets, relegating events from other parts of the globe to a position of secondary importance.

Obviously, it is impossible to teach business in today’s world without taking into account what’s happening in Asia. But for a typical American business school, this context is considered secondary, not primary.

In Asia, the opposite is true. Business schools see their mission as building a bridge between their countries and the West. Their main objective is to help students understand how business is organized around the world and in order to do that they immerse their students in a global context first and foremost.

Asian businessmen need this context to understand Western colleagues, work in American and European companies and build connections with the business community outside of Asia.

Once students learn in detail how Western business operates, professors in Asian business schools will extrapolate these global happenings to their local context, explaining how certain business disciplines, theories and laws are applicable in Asia.

This emphasis on global processes in educational programs can be explained by the fact that Asian schools are well aware of the interest in understanding differences in mindsets as well as the recognition that a deep knowledge of other cultures is an important skill for contemporary businessmen operating globally.

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