China's business schools produce around 20,000 MBA graduates a year. But the education they receive is often not up to that of a western business school and so potential employers risk being disappointed.
BusinessWeek recently conducted a survey of corporate recruiters at both Chinese and multinational companies with operations on the mainland.
Fewer than 20% of respondents described Chinese MBA graduates as either good or excellent, and only 34% said student quality had improved over the past three years.
The most common complaints were that students lack confidence, cannot express themselves well and are unwilling to take risks.
In recent years, many new business schools have been set up in China and overall quality has dropped. So, many employers are suspicious of Chinese MBAs and prefer Chinese executives to have been to an established business school in the west.
New Oriental Education and Technology Group has found a lucrative business helping Chinese students get into US business schools by preparing them for the entrance exams. More on the company, which recently listed on the NYSE, in this EngagingChina story.
Elsewhere on the skills front:
- Another play on China's private education boom is China Education Group, listed on London's Plus market. The company has just reported (pdf) its first full set of financial results since listing a year ago. Revenues, while still small at £2.5m, rose 33% and profits increased 28% on a pro forma basis. The group derives its income from a management contract to run a private college in Shangdong which has two campuses. It has also signed a deal to offer foreign languages and other skills via distance learning in China.
Picture Credit: “Identity Portraits – Graduate” by Zhang Xiaogang