A virtuous circle

4 campuses, 4 stories - BiMBA in Beijing

In China, we are building on our reputation for combining high-quality teaching and research with expert insight into both the local and the global market. In partnership with Peking University, the Beijing international MBA (BiMBA) is a recipe for success – and popularity.

Bruce Stening“It’s typical of Vlerick to place emphasis on quality,” explains Bruce Stening, Professor of Management and International Dean of the BiMBA. “And in our case we see that the BiMBA programme benefits from a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, a virtuous circle. We have a good reputation, so we attract quality. This quality and talent help us to maintain our reputation, and so it goes on.” The full-time BiMBA attracts a significant proportion of international students, while the admissions policy for the part-time programme emphasises industrial diversity. “Forbes has rated us the best part-time MBA programme in China, so that attracts local talent. The challenge for any school is then to ensure that it makes sufficient offers of a place to get the numbers, but not too many to compromise on quality.” Both BiMBA programmes pride themselves on achieving this.

Top-notch students

“Students are demanding wherever you are,” says Bruce, “but in the Chinese market, they’re particularly competitive and critical. They’re highly intelligent and demonstrate high-quality thinking, especially the part-time students. They’re top-notch and sharp as tacks and want to immediately see the application of a model or theory to reality. Bear in mind that not only does the culture here place high demands on you in terms of work, but that family commitments are also demanding. There’s a reputation to keep up.”

Whilst the BiMBA generally attracts young adults with a sound academic and working background, our reputation is also growing among the more mature workforce. “We’re seeing growing opportunities in the executive market, and developing company-specific programmes and courses that combine Western and Chinese insights as only Vlerick can do.”

Tailor-made programmes

Part of the strong reputation enjoyed by the BiMBA programme is due to the use of materials that are highly relevant, with a healthy balance between international and local references. “Before BiMBA, MBAs were too parochial,” explains Bruce. “We’re very intent on the programme being international but contextualised for China. Offering case studies from local and international businesses is one way of achieving this, but tailoring the teaching methods is another.” The end-of-year evaluations show how successful faculty staff are at adapting their materials and tools to the group they are teaching, so as to get more out of the students.

Committed presence

China is changing rapidly, so it’s difficult to set long-term goals in terms of business education. “However,” says Bruce, “it’s still important that there is a notion of long-term presence – and we have that. We have the biggest name in China, Peking University, partnering with the number 1 in Benelux, and we have gradually built up a strong, committed relationship. There are few schools that can match that.”

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