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Indian managers made-in-China

An Indian executive from a Chinese B-school is still a rare product. But going to China and not the US for an MBA is fast becoming the next big career move as the recession shifts the world focus to China and India, reports Reshma Patil.

world Updated: Jul 05, 2009 22:30 IST
Reshma Patil

An Indian executive from a Chinese business school is still a rare product. But going to China and not the US for an MBA is turning into the next big career move as the recession shifts the world economy's focus to China and India.

Deep inside Shanghai's Pudong, seven Indians are taking Mandarin classes, visiting Chinese entreprenuers and learning Chinese negotiation skills in China's best business school. In 2004, there were only two Indian students on this campus, spread a 20-minute drive from Shanghai's showpiece skyscrapers along the waterfront Bund. The next batch this year will have almost a dozen Indians.

The 15-year-old China Europe International Business School established by the Chinese government and the European Commission, is China's first campus to offer a full-time MBA in English, and topped Asia's B-schools for the last six years in the Financial Times' annual global surveys.

"We're seeing growing applications from India,'' Rama Velamuri, associate professor of entrepreneurship, told HT. "Fundamentally, you can get the same MBA in a top global school. But we offer additional insights in the Chinese context.''

The degree costs more than India's best B-schools but half the cost of studying in the top US universities where Indians are among the largest number of overseas students and faculty.

"My China focus evolved while working in the US,'' said Delhi native and current student Puneet Butan, whose choice between an MBA in the US or China was partly decided by the recession. "Working with the Chinese and realising China's growing global importance, I felt the need to understand how Chinese companies are heading abroad and global companies are heading to China."

Last March, about 250 companies offered 1,000 positions to recruit the 156 graduates of 2008. Offers for overseas students were reportedly lower this year. Indian students find it difficult to arrange bank loans in China, but they say the investment has long-term benefit. "To work in China, you need China-specific skills,'' pointed out Chennai native and student Karthik Ramani.

The intake is limited to about 60 per cent Chinese and 200-odd students. Mumbai native Vishal Agrawal said he considered the School 'better than India's B-schools'.