It’s been over a year since the Covid-19 pandemic began, but it is still taking its toll on economies worldwide. This uncertainty has made many professionals think about the skills and qualifications that can help them disaster-proof and future-proof their careers. Those with managerial experience may find themselves eyeing an MBA to help accelerate their journey along the career ladder.
"There are usually five reasons a manager would pursue an executive MBA,” says David Dufour, director of the International MBA for Executives at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University’s International Business School Suzhou. “These would be to expand their vision beyond their current job function; learn new and applicable skills; grow their networks; give their careers an international dimension; and gain new opportunities.”
The IMBA, a part-time course delivered entirely in English, does all these things, particularly giving careers a level of international applicability.
“Of the 15 academic staff in the IMBA program, there are 11 different nationalities,” says Dufour. “Our teachers also have at least 10 years of presence in China, so they can teach their topic with a Chinese understanding. We favor practitioners because they can bring their corporate experience to the role.”
The school’s high quality staff and teaching excellence have led to IBSS becoming the youngest business school in the world to be awarded the coveted ‘triple crown’ of business school accreditation (AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA).
“The Triple Crown is a demonstration of the quality of our programs,” says Dufour. “Particularly the latest one from the Association of MBAs, which we received in December 2020.”
Kirsten Johnston, owner of branding agency JWDK and a 2019 IBSS IMBA alumna.
Kirsten Johnston, owner of branding agency JWDK and a 2019 IBSS IMBA alumna, says she chose the program because it ticked several crucial boxes for her: a credible business school, offering a part-time English-led program and one not too far from her home in Shanghai.
“Having experience in Australia and the UK, I initially wanted to pursue an MBA to gain a better understanding of the Chinese business landscape. But I got so much more – not only did I learn about cross-border business, but I also learned more about how the company engine works. I felt more in control of my company.”
Dufour says entrepreneurs and business owners are actually a growing group within the program. “We’re seeing an increase in entrepreneurs who are looking for better management skills and better ways to develop their companies or investments,” he explains.
Jeff Zihao Cao, VP Strategic Development China for ArrowFast and Chair of the IMBA alumni club.
Jeff Zihao Cao, VP Strategic Development China for ArrowFast and Chair of the IMBA alumni club, completed his IMBA in 2018. The program gave him a greater sense of confidence, he says: “When I moved to a job in the healthcare sector in 2020, I was nervous, because this industry was uncharted territory for me. But the IMBA really helped me. Not only did it give me the tools to help me adapt to my new role faster, but I also gained a valuable network of peers who I could turn to for advice.”
In addition to the network of professionals, students have said one of the most valuable aspects of the program is the dissertation. Johnston says: “A few weeks ago, I did a presentation with a big property company here in China, and actually pulled a lot of my information from that dissertation. It's still very valid today.”
Cao believes that an MBA is more than a qualification: “I always tell people who are thinking of getting an MBA that it’s not a panacea. It’s not going to solve all your problems. What it is, is a catalyst. It can facilitate you to progress faster, and to help you transform your career.”
The International Business School Suzhou is accepting applications for its International MBA for Executives until mid-August for the 2021/2022 academic year. For more information, please scan the QR code.