Officials look to add third business master’s degree in China partnership

Media Credit: Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

School of Business Dean Linda Livingstone is helping push forward a new project management master's program in China. Officals hope that the new program could help build the business school's global profile and increase international recruiting.

The business school is considering launching its third international master’s degree program at Renmin University in China.

Dean Linda Livingstone said adding the program in project management could help boost the school’s profile and increase recruitment abroad. As the third degree offered through the business school’s partnership with Suzhou-based Renmin University, it would also aim to build on GW’s connection with China.

“That’s a program that we’ve been doing for a long time, and so we are in discussions about that as an opportunity. That’s the first one we are looking at right now,” Livingstone said.

Livingstone, who will visit China in December, said the program could strengthen the University’s “portfolio” overseas. A strong international presence for the business school has been a major focus since former dean Doug Guthrie led the University’s efforts to eventually open a campus in China.

“We will continue to build those relationships and [China] will continue to be an important part of our portfolio of countries that we’re dealing with outside the U.S.,” Livingstone said.

Project management teaches students how to create long-term strategies for companies in the public sector and government organizations. Julia Keleher, an adjunct professor in the business school, said companies look for project management majors to help plan large-scale projects like construction.

“It’s intended to prevent you from flying the plane while you’re building it at the same time,” Keleher said.

Provost Steven Lerman said the appeal of the program could help the University strengthen its relationship with China and create “deep and enduring partnerships” as GW looks to recruit international students and build more connections abroad.

The business school also offers accounting and finance master’s degree programs with Renmin University. Students in those programs spend one year at GW and one year in China.

“If we already have a partner where something is working well and a partner we’re building a relationship with, if there are opportunities to grow that by expanding it to other programs, I think we should take them rather than going out and inventing everything each time,” Lerman said.

The project management program would “transcend culture and language,” Lerman said, which would make it an attractive offering to add to the GW and Renmin University partnership.

“Every place needs people who can manage big projects. That happens in business, the public sector and government,” Lerman said.

The University had started to make plans to apply for the power to grant degrees in China and eventually open a campus there under Guthrie. The former dean had touted GW’s international presence during his time as the vice president for China operations, but talks about expansion died out after he was fired over a year ago.

This fall, Lerman announced he would revive a global degree program that would send undergraduates abroad for up to three years, including one year in China.

Brandon Lee and Mary Ellen McIntire contributed reporting.

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