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10 MBA Programs for Studying Abroad in China

China's rise as a global economic power has placed new demands on U.S. business leaders. The U.S.-China Business Council reports that U.S. exports to China have experienced a gain of nearly 500 percent since 2000.

Business schools now need to address concerns such as global staffing, supply chain management and market access. MBA study abroad programs can bring you face-to-face with these challenges, placing you in the field with business professionals from around the world. Universities often update specific programs, courses and schedules, but here are 10 of today's compelling global MBA programs that can help students learn to solve problems and build connections, reaching beyond cultural and political boundaries.

  • Florida International University Chapman Graduate School of Business, Miami, FL: This international business MBA offers a China Track that includes two semesters of business and language instruction at FIU's Miami campus. Participants spend the summer in China, refining their knowledge of Mandarin and Chinese culture while completing the remainder of their English-language business courses. The MBA in international business focuses on providing familiarity with both U.S. and global business. Studies cover classic topics such as leadership, team building, corporate finance and an internationally-targeted elective course.
  • Fort Hays State University College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Hays, KS: Fort Hays offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in Chinese culture and build networks of influence during their graduate school career. Through an innovative fellowship program, selected MBA students spend one year on the university's main campus taking courses and working as graduate teaching assistants.  In their second year, students help the FHSU Business faculty teach undergraduate management students (in English) at a partner institution. Fellows in the program receive a scholarship covering two academic years of graduate tuition, a stipend, and receive transportation to and from China as well as room and board while abroad. Mark Bannister, the Dean of the College of Business and Entrepreneurship, adds that, “The MBA immersion in China has been a launching point for students taking jobs with multinational companies and pursuing PhDs in International Business.”
  • Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, Evanston, IL: In 2013, Kellogg earned a spot in the top 15 of the Financial Times's global MBA rankings. Kellogg's MBA students have the opportunity to study at diverse institutions in China. One program is designed for senior executives, in partnership with the Hong Kong University of Science and technology. Even part-time MBA students can experience classes in global management and intensive study abroad sessions. Part-time students wishing to study in China can take classes at Beijing's Guanghua School of Management.
  • University of California, Irvine Paul Merage School of Business, Irvine, CA: The Merage executive MBA offers experiential residential sessions in cities such as Shanghai and Hong Kong. Students tour both U.S. and foreign-based companies and review business challenges faced by them. But global opportunities aren't just for execs -- Merage's full-time international business MBA offers an immersive learning experience for students. Part-time students can take advantage of study abroad options in the fully-employed version of the MBA program. Recent international study programs have been in various cities in China. Additionally, full-time students can participate in exchange programs with partnering Chinese universities.
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa Shidler College of Business, Honolulu, HI: The China Track option of Shidler's full-time Global MBA program emphasizes language immersion with Mandarin courses at the Manoa home campus and the opportunity to study abroad and/or experience a professional internship in China. Potential electives that global MBA students may take include electronic commerce and international management and industrial relations, both of which explore aspects of the course topic relevant to Asia. Partnering universities include China Europe International Business School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai University of Finance & Economics and Sun Yat-Sen University.
  • University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, College Park, MD: Multinational executives bring a new perspective to the Smith School's global MBA program. The school's China Track option is offered through the leadership EMBA program. Participants spend four days every month on the campus of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) in Beijing. Students close out this degree program with a week-long residence session at Maryland's College Park campus. This program can appeal to executives from China and other countries around the world, offering the chance to build a global network.
  • University of San Diego School of Business Administration, San Diego, CA: Through partnerships with schools in China, USD students can spend an entire semester immersing themselves in Chinese customs and business practices. Study abroad options may also include short-term stays in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. USD's "International Practicum" program allows MBA candidates to develop consulting experience with world companies. Student teams have solved business challenges for their clients in cities around the world, such as Shanghai.
  • University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, Los Angeles, CA: USC's Global Executive MBA program partners with Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Antai College of Economics & Management to give students an opportunity to meet and network with business professionals from countries throughout East Asia. The program features ten sessions in Shanghai, each from five to eight days long. This GEMBA emphasizes decision making and leadership, with a theme-based curriculum including topics such as how external stakeholders evaluate enterprises' performance.
  • University of Virginia Darden School of Business, Charlottesville, VA: The Darden Global Executive MBA brings students to Beijing and Shanghai for residencies that stress the importance of communication, demographic challenges, sustainability and resource management. This two-week residency provides case method classes taught by professors with global experience. In China, students explore factories, cultural sites and some of the region's successful companies. The program may include a hands-on improvement exercise that requires students to present their findings at the factory to company leaders, helping to prepare them for real-life challenges.
  • Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management, Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt's partnerships with schools in Beijing and Shanghai make it possible for students to immerse themselves in Chinese business education. Traditional study abroad programs offer U.S. students places in Chinese business schools. Potential options for international study include a summer program in China and short programs such as "Maymester," with English-language courses that examine differences in marketing, management and business strategy.

More reasons to pack your bags

China offers a market with earnings potential of up to $200 billion for U.S. companies, according to the U.S.-China Business Council. Such a business opportunity calls for the kind of cultural awareness and decision-making skills that MBA study abroad programs can help you sharpen. The Council notes that more than 9 out of 10 U.S. companies doing business in China want to reach consumers there, not just use local Chinese manufacturing resources. These business goals could require an understanding of the country and even the language. Explore international business MBAs and make sure your passport is in order.


"Business education," rankings.ft.com, 2013. http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/global-mba-ranking-2013

"Membership survey," uschina.org, October 2011. https://www.uschina.org/