China Needs Old Boys With M.B.A.’s

I have heard and read this many times before – there is not enough experienced managerial talent (and experienced talent in general) for China’s needs. This past weekend’s New York Times article again confirms this in, “China Needs Old Boys With M.B.A.’s:”

“In the West — not to mention Japan and South Korea — management skills are a given. Graduate schools of management churn out M.B.A.’s, while instilling the basic processes and systems that virtually all multinational companies rely on. People who rise to the top of companies are the ones who have mastered the art of management. But there are also many first-rate managers who populate the middle ranks of companies. They are the lifeblood of most big companies. Not so in China. “The shortage of managerial talent is huge,” said Zheng Yu-sheng, the associate dean at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. In the course of my two weeks in China, I heard this refrain constantly — and not just from business school professors… Xiang Bing, dean of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, said: “We Chinese are so willing to work hard for money. We are intelligent. We have the drive and the passion. But we put too much attention on technology and not enough on institution-building. And our soft skills are a real weakness.””

The irony of this (in my opinion), is that although China regards Taiwan as a renegade province seeking independence, without Taiwanese managerial and technical expertise, and investment, in the 1980’s and 1990’s, China would not be where it is today…

I had sent the New York Times article to a friend of mine, who happens now to be the Director of Global Immersion Programs at The Wharton School of Business (Graduate Division), and she had commented that:

“I remember this same conversation from 2000-2004 when I was visiting Beijing and Shanghai for admissions. So many advertisements on English TV reflecting the extreme shortage of managerial talent and great need for MBA and executive MBA programs. I’m sharing this with a couple of my colleagues who are planning and accompanying an upcoming program in Beijing & Shanghai, as well as HK and Taipei.”

A friend of mine founded ORIENTED.COM, which I have written about in the past. ORIENTED.COM is sort of a “LinkedIn for Asia,” and they try to match opportunties for BMW’s – Bi-lingual, Mid-career, Western-educated/western-trained professionals. For those who have the freedom and interest to work overseas in Asia, I do think there are a lot of opportunities for Asian-Americans who are bi-lingual to truly be limitless. Have any of you found this to be the case – or this is just more media hype?

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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