Business school adds exchange in China

The School of Business launched its first program in China Saturday, partnering with one of the country’s top universities to offer Chinese students a master’s of science in finance.

The program, the first step of dean Doug Guthrie’s pursuit to expand the business school into China, will adopt a “one-plus-one” model, offering the first year of courses at Renmin University in Suzhou, China and the second year of courses in Foggy Bottom.

“This partnership allows GWSB to gain a new and innovative position as an educational institution in China,” Guthrie said in an e-mail while in China.

Twenty-two students have enrolled in the program, which will adopt a nearly identical curriculum to GW’s traditional graduate finance program. Guthrie said he expects to double the number of students in the program next year and eventually start a master’s program in accountancy.

The graduate courses taught by GW faculty emphasize financial theory and quantitative methods in financial management. Students are expected to complete an internship in China at the end of the first year.

Guthrie, who is a top China scholar fluent in Mandarin, announced plans for the business school’s China expansion when he assumed the deanship last year. He traveled last week for the program’s ribbon-cutting ceremony to Suzhou, which is home to Beijing-based Renmin University’s satellite campus.

The dean said he expects the business school will continue to establish stronger ties in the country. The “second track” of his plan calls for GW to secure an “independent degree-granting status” for the program.

“That’s more complicated because it has to be approved by the ministry of education, and there’s a whole set of processes. We’ve been in several months of contract negotiations with them. That’s still in the works,” Guthrie said last month.

The move comes as many Western business schools try to gain traction in China – a critical market to reach future business leaders. The country already has many business schools of its own, but several top American colleges like Washington University in St. Louis and Duke University have recently set up their own campuses or partnerships in the country.

Guthrie said the business school has set its sights on developing programs in Brazil and sub-Saharan Africa as well.

“GWSB has a very strong international business department. We are building on this strength by developing deep relationships in a couple of countries, China first among them,” Guthrie said.

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