EMBA program focuses on Chinese business practices, culture

  • New approach to global immersion
    New approach to global immersion
    Incoming W&M EMBA students will now spend a week during the fall semester of their first year studying and learning Chinese business principles from leading scholars at Fudan’s School of Management.
    Courtesy photo

William & Mary’s Mason School of Business Executive MBA (EMBA) program is pioneering a new approach to the global immersion portion of its curriculum beginning this fall.

The program has established a relationship with Fudan University, located in Shanghai and one of the oldest and most selective universities in China. Incoming EMBA students will spend a week during the fall semester of their first year studying and learning Chinese business principles from leading scholars at Fudan’s School of Management. Students will study the same topics they are learning at William & Mary, including marketing strategies, finance, global economics and operation and supply management.

The shift is a result of a growing global economy, with further emphasis being placed on students gaining exposure to the business practices and culture of other countries. 

“I believe everyone needs to know about China, and understand how the Chinese economy works, where it’s headed and how it will effect business in America and globally,” said Assistant Dean for MBA Programs & Clinical Professor of Economics and Finance Deborah Hewitt.

“You can read and learn about China, but for William & Mary EMBA students to have the opportunity to actually go to China and learn from top Chinese professors and hear how the Chinese are doing business is a distinctive academic experience. To me, this semester is the heart of our program.”

At the end of the EMBA program, students will select another country for a weeklong experiential learning trip. Past classes have visited Chile, Thailand, Italy, Hungary, France, Belgium, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Argentina, Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam.

“I am delighted with this new relationship,” said Lawrence B. Pulley, dean of the Mason School of Business. “Fudan is one of the top universities in China and the world of business is becoming more global almost daily. This immersive experience will greatly enhance our students’ preparation to make a difference in their companies and industries, and sets our program apart.”

Efforts for William & Mary students to study at Fudan University began last year, said Hewitt. Administrators from the business school collaborated with the Reves Center for International Studies to discuss how the program could enhance international education for EMBA students. Last summer, Stephen E. Hanson, vice provost for international affairs and director of the Reves Center, along with Hewitt and Susan Hughes of the EMBA program, and Bill Geary with the undergraduate program, traveled to China to investigate seven possible universities. 

“We were looking for a high-quality university that could deliver executive level-education,” said Hughes, director of the EMBA program.

Being one of China’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning, Fudan University was an obvious choice, said Hanson.

“Its location in prosperous Shanghai couldn't be more appropriate as a site for learning firsthand about what makes China's dynamic economy tick,” he added. “The establishment of this new partnership between the Mason School of Business and the Fudan University School of Management marks an important step forward in William & Mary's engagement with China and East Asia more generally.”

Outside of the classroom, students will visit Hong Kong, known as the country’s capitalist hub, and be immersed in the Chinese culture, visiting landmarks, historical sites and restaurants in old and new China. They will also attend an American Chamber of Commerce mixer and meet Americans who are currently conducting business in China. 

William & Mary’s EMBA program takes 19 months over five semesters. Students learn with the same cohort throughout the program and have access to an Executive Partner network consisting of more than 100 senior business executives from more than 20 different industries.