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A degree that means business (5)

(China Daily)

10:45, November 04, 2011

Making connections

Making friends and adding business contacts is a focus of many students who enroll in executive MBA programs, which were introduced to China in 2002 and in 2009 were offered by 62 universities.

The programs are designed for working managers and executives. Many of the students are already successful in business, and wealthy.

"EMBA students typically have a higher level of work experience, often 10 years or more, compared with normal MBA students and have an average age of 40 or so," said Shen Jia, who completed his two-year course at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai in 2005.

"I aimed to learn more practical management abilities from the EMBA course and other classmates to run my own business in a more organized way, but I didn't learn as much as I expected," Shen said. At the time, he ran a computer training organization in Wenzhou. He isn't working now.

What it costs

MBA students often expect their degrees to pay off in higher salaries later. Meanwhile, the cost of earning them has been going up.

Last month, Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance at Shanghai Jiao Tong University announced it would increase tuition for its two-year, part-time MBA course by 32 percent - going from 180,000 yuan to 238,000 yuan - starting in 2012. That will put its tuition at the top for MBA courses among universities in China.

Shanghai Tongji and Peking universities have raised their tuition more than 60 percent in the past three years.

The cost is still lower than the 400,000 or more yuan required at two top-rated schools that offer only MBA courses, said Paul Sun, 30, a part-time MBA student at Guanghua School, Peking University.

He referred to Shen's school, CEIBS, which is a joint venture of the European Union and China's Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, and Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, which entrepreneur Li Ka-shing started as China's first private, nonprofit independent business school.

Compared with those schools, Sun said, "MBA courses in most universities are not that expensive." If tuition keeps going up, though, he said fewer people will be able to afford to enroll.

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