China - Mandarin / MBA? - advice needed


nazking15
Hi Everyone,

Was hoping you could give me some advice. One of my key personal and professional goals is to work in China/HK in the future, either in asset management or management consultancy. I have c3 years of investment banking experience (emerging markets equity research sales / investment banking) from one of the top global investment banks (based in London). I am also doing part 3 (final part) of the CFA this summer. Furthermore, I have a strong undergrad from the London School of Econ. Is it worth my while going to China (say BLCU) for a year to learn mandarin and apply to MBA programmes such as HKUST / CEIBS while I am in language school? With my background, is an MBA useful? Any advice would be appreciated.

Xie Xie!
Hi Everyone,

Was hoping you could give me some advice. One of my key personal and professional goals is to work in China/HK in the future, either in asset management or management consultancy. I have c3 years of investment banking experience (emerging markets equity research sales / investment banking) from one of the top global investment banks (based in London). I am also doing part 3 (final part) of the CFA this summer. Furthermore, I have a strong undergrad from the London School of Econ. Is it worth my while going to China (say BLCU) for a year to learn mandarin and apply to MBA programmes such as HKUST / CEIBS while I am in language school? With my background, is an MBA useful? Any advice would be appreciated.

Xie Xie!
quote
bianca
Is it worth my while going to China (say BLCU) for a year to learn mandarin and apply to MBA programmes such as HKUST / CEIBS while I am in language school? With my background, is an MBA useful?

You need absolutely no mandarin skills to apply to HKUST and you will probably not learn much mandarin during the course of your studies there. Not so the case at CEIBS, as (although their classes are in English) most participants are from all over China, and many communications are written in chinese.

Also remember that the best place to learn mandarin in China is Beijing as you'll have to distinguish with local dialects otherwise (certainly in HK, but also a bit in Shanghai).

After this, the reasoning behind an MBA, is the usual one.
To be fair, with your prior knowledge of Finance and CFA, you probably won't learn much out of any Finance course of any MBA programme. The point of such a course is really to provide you a more general view (ie. build additional skills in Entrepreneurship, Marketing, etc...)

If you would like to do an MBA to have an additionnal 2 years to study Chinese, then you may apply to the Tsinghua or PKU IMBA programmes. These programmes from top Beijing universities will allow you to practice mandarin in the street and also to attend to classes held in mandarin.

Cheers,
Bianca
<blockquote>Is it worth my while going to China (say BLCU) for a year to learn mandarin and apply to MBA programmes such as HKUST / CEIBS while I am in language school? With my background, is an MBA useful?</blockquote>
You need absolutely no mandarin skills to apply to HKUST and you will probably not learn much mandarin during the course of your studies there. Not so the case at CEIBS, as (although their classes are in English) most participants are from all over China, and many communications are written in chinese.

Also remember that the best place to learn mandarin in China is Beijing as you'll have to distinguish with local dialects otherwise (certainly in HK, but also a bit in Shanghai).

After this, the reasoning behind an MBA, is the usual one.
To be fair, with your prior knowledge of Finance and CFA, you probably won't learn much out of any Finance course of any MBA programme. The point of such a course is really to provide you a more general view (ie. build additional skills in Entrepreneurship, Marketing, etc...)

If you would like to do an MBA to have an additionnal 2 years to study Chinese, then you may apply to the Tsinghua or PKU IMBA programmes. These programmes from top Beijing universities will allow you to practice mandarin in the street and also to attend to classes held in mandarin.

Cheers,
Bianca
quote
nazking15
Hi Bianca,

Thanks a lot for your advice. You are correct, I was planning on doing an MBA to broaden my skill set and to develop relevant business contacts in that region (whether it be HK or mainland). I was also planning to go to Beijing to learn Mandarin. Do you think that it will be possible to apply for MBA progs such as those in CEIBS, HKUST, Tsinghua etc while I am attending language school? Will this put me at a disadvantage compared to those who are applying while still working? Also, do you think my background / level of work experience is enough for those kind of schools? Based on their websites, a minimum of 2 years is required but I'm assuming successful applicants will have a lot more.

Thanks
Hi Bianca,

Thanks a lot for your advice. You are correct, I was planning on doing an MBA to broaden my skill set and to develop relevant business contacts in that region (whether it be HK or mainland). I was also planning to go to Beijing to learn Mandarin. Do you think that it will be possible to apply for MBA progs such as those in CEIBS, HKUST, Tsinghua etc while I am attending language school? Will this put me at a disadvantage compared to those who are applying while still working? Also, do you think my background / level of work experience is enough for those kind of schools? Based on their websites, a minimum of 2 years is required but I'm assuming successful applicants will have a lot more.

Thanks
quote
strekstar
This was an interesting article from a Tsinghua student - http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/57e3578a-f9eb-11dd-9daa-000077b07658.html - appears to have similarities with you.

I think targetting companies you want to work for while you are in China will be important. Do you want to work for a Multi-national or a Chinese company? It seems most of the opportunities for foreigners in China right now are with Chinese companies, as they are trying to internationalize and do M&A. MNC's in China have been localizing pretty heavy as of late. Tsinghua and Beida may be the best schools for getting in with Chinese companies - so many of their undergraduates are in the top Management of those companies and may have sympathy to a fellow foreign alumni.
This was an interesting article from a Tsinghua student - http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/57e3578a-f9eb-11dd-9daa-000077b07658.html - appears to have similarities with you.

I think targetting companies you want to work for while you are in China will be important. Do you want to work for a Multi-national or a Chinese company? It seems most of the opportunities for foreigners in China right now are with Chinese companies, as they are trying to internationalize and do M&A. MNC's in China have been localizing pretty heavy as of late. Tsinghua and Beida may be the best schools for getting in with Chinese companies - so many of their undergraduates are in the top Management of those companies and may have sympathy to a fellow foreign alumni.
quote
nazking15
thanks for that strekstar! another friend of mine told me about tsinghua and i must admit, it sounds pretty amazing! I've worked for MNCs during my career so far and would probably want to work for a high growth Chinese company if I was there! Do you think that I should apply while still working here in London or bite the bullet, move to Beijing this fall to begin studying Mandarin and then apply while I am there?
thanks for that strekstar! another friend of mine told me about tsinghua and i must admit, it sounds pretty amazing! I've worked for MNCs during my career so far and would probably want to work for a high growth Chinese company if I was there! Do you think that I should apply while still working here in London or bite the bullet, move to Beijing this fall to begin studying Mandarin and then apply while I am there?
quote
bianca
thanks for that strekstar! another friend of mine told me about tsinghua and i must admit, it sounds pretty amazing! I've worked for MNCs during my career so far and would probably want to work for a high growth Chinese company if I was there! Do you think that I should apply while still working here in London or bite the bullet, move to Beijing this fall to begin studying Mandarin and then apply while I am there?

Hi nazking,

Regarding the language, here's a link to the best description I found of mandarin requirements in China: http://www.find-mba.com/board/9083

Basically, if your goal is to work for a Chinese company in China, the odds are that 3 years in Beijing will hardly be enough. It will be a good start, but my understanding is that (if you start from scratch) it would take you something around 4 or 5 years of immersion to be proficient enough.
In this respect, 1 year of mandarin study + 2 MBA years at Tsinghua or PKU would bring you to a good intermediate level.
Then, expect to work another year or two at and MNC or chinese companies expanding overseas before achieving complete fluency.


As for your worries about taking a year off to study and putting in on paper, I believe that studying mandarin is one of the few things that can be shown as "value studies". Spending a full year at it or only a semester may be questionnable, but exposure to China (or any of the BRICs for that matter) can not be considered by any serious b-school as an error on your CV.
<blockquote>thanks for that strekstar! another friend of mine told me about tsinghua and i must admit, it sounds pretty amazing! I've worked for MNCs during my career so far and would probably want to work for a high growth Chinese company if I was there! Do you think that I should apply while still working here in London or bite the bullet, move to Beijing this fall to begin studying Mandarin and then apply while I am there?</blockquote>
Hi nazking,

Regarding the language, here's a link to the best description I found of mandarin requirements in China: http://www.find-mba.com/board/9083

Basically, if your goal is to work for a Chinese company in China, the odds are that 3 years in Beijing will hardly be enough. It will be a good start, but my understanding is that (if you start from scratch) it would take you something around 4 or 5 years of immersion to be proficient enough.
In this respect, 1 year of mandarin study + 2 MBA years at Tsinghua or PKU would bring you to a good intermediate level.
Then, expect to work another year or two at and MNC or chinese companies expanding overseas before achieving complete fluency.


As for your worries about taking a year off to study and putting in on paper, I believe that studying mandarin is one of the few things that can be shown as "value studies". Spending a full year at it or only a semester may be questionnable, but exposure to China (or any of the BRICs for that matter) can not be considered by any serious b-school as an error on your CV.
quote
nazking15
thanks for that strekstar! another friend of mine told me about tsinghua and i must admit, it sounds pretty amazing! I've worked for MNCs during my career so far and would probably want to work for a high growth Chinese company if I was there! Do you think that I should apply while still working here in London or bite the bullet, move to Beijing this fall to begin studying Mandarin and then apply while I am there?

Hi nazking,

Regarding the language, here's a link to the best description I found of mandarin requirements in China: http://www.find-mba.com/board/9083

Basically, if your goal is to work for a Chinese company in China, the odds are that 3 years in Beijing will hardly be enough. It will be a good start, but my understanding is that (if you start from scratch) it would take you something around 4 or 5 years of immersion to be proficient enough.
In this respect, 1 year of mandarin study + 2 MBA years at Tsinghua or PKU would bring you to a good intermediate level.
Then, expect to work another year or two at and MNC or chinese companies expanding overseas before achieving complete fluency.


As for your worries about taking a year off to study and putting in on paper, I believe that studying mandarin is one of the few things that can be shown as "value studies". Spending a full year at it or only a semester may be questionnable, but exposure to China (or any of the BRICs for that matter) can not be considered by any serious b-school as an error on your CV.


Hi Bianca,

Thanks for that. I agree with your time frame - 1+2+2 - the question in my mind is when exactly I should start out on that path. I guess my explicit quandry is whether I should have 3 or 4 years of FT professional experience under my belt before starting intensive language studies. Will I be okay with 3 years experience in reality at the best Chinese schools?

Thanks!
<blockquote><blockquote>thanks for that strekstar! another friend of mine told me about tsinghua and i must admit, it sounds pretty amazing! I've worked for MNCs during my career so far and would probably want to work for a high growth Chinese company if I was there! Do you think that I should apply while still working here in London or bite the bullet, move to Beijing this fall to begin studying Mandarin and then apply while I am there?</blockquote>
Hi nazking,

Regarding the language, here's a link to the best description I found of mandarin requirements in China: http://www.find-mba.com/board/9083

Basically, if your goal is to work for a Chinese company in China, the odds are that 3 years in Beijing will hardly be enough. It will be a good start, but my understanding is that (if you start from scratch) it would take you something around 4 or 5 years of immersion to be proficient enough.
In this respect, 1 year of mandarin study + 2 MBA years at Tsinghua or PKU would bring you to a good intermediate level.
Then, expect to work another year or two at and MNC or chinese companies expanding overseas before achieving complete fluency.


As for your worries about taking a year off to study and putting in on paper, I believe that studying mandarin is one of the few things that can be shown as "value studies". Spending a full year at it or only a semester may be questionnable, but exposure to China (or any of the BRICs for that matter) can not be considered by any serious b-school as an error on your CV.</blockquote>

Hi Bianca,

Thanks for that. I agree with your time frame - 1+2+2 - the question in my mind is when exactly I should start out on that path. I guess my explicit quandry is whether I should have 3 or 4 years of FT professional experience under my belt before starting intensive language studies. Will I be okay with 3 years experience in reality at the best Chinese schools?

Thanks!
quote
bianca
Will I be okay with 3 years experience in reality at the best Chinese schools?
From my research, Tsinghua or PKU have "lower" requirements for foreign students (unlike for Chinese nationals). The reason is that foreign students is a good way to raise their profile.
Check out Tsinghua's requirements page (http://mba.sem.tsinghua.edu.cn/tabid/185/Default.aspx) and you'll find that the requirements are very poor, with WE being only optional.

In reality, I think that although it use to be fairly easy to get in a couple of years ago, these institution are getting harder to get into as their programmes become more acknowledged worldwide.
However, 3 years of WE should be enough in your case (esp. with CFA Level 3).
<blockquote>Will I be okay with 3 years experience in reality at the best Chinese schools?</blockquote>From my research, Tsinghua or PKU have "lower" requirements for foreign students (unlike for Chinese nationals). The reason is that foreign students is a good way to raise their profile.
Check out Tsinghua's requirements page (http://mba.sem.tsinghua.edu.cn/tabid/185/Default.aspx) and you'll find that the requirements are very poor, with WE being only optional.

In reality, I think that although it use to be fairly easy to get in a couple of years ago, these institution are getting harder to get into as their programmes become more acknowledged worldwide.
However, 3 years of WE should be enough in your case (esp. with CFA Level 3).
quote
nazking15
Will I be okay with 3 years experience in reality at the best Chinese schools?
From my research, Tsinghua or PKU have "lower" requirements for foreign students (unlike for Chinese nationals). The reason is that foreign students is a good way to raise their profile.
Check out Tsinghua's requirements page (http://mba.sem.tsinghua.edu.cn/tabid/185/Default.aspx) and you'll find that the requirements are very poor, with WE being only optional.

In reality, I think that although it use to be fairly easy to get in a couple of years ago, these institution are getting harder to get into as their programmes become more acknowledged worldwide.
However, 3 years of WE should be enough in your case (esp. with CFA Level 3).


Thanks Bianca... certainly lots to think about!
<blockquote><blockquote>Will I be okay with 3 years experience in reality at the best Chinese schools?</blockquote>From my research, Tsinghua or PKU have "lower" requirements for foreign students (unlike for Chinese nationals). The reason is that foreign students is a good way to raise their profile.
Check out Tsinghua's requirements page (http://mba.sem.tsinghua.edu.cn/tabid/185/Default.aspx) and you'll find that the requirements are very poor, with WE being only optional.

In reality, I think that although it use to be fairly easy to get in a couple of years ago, these institution are getting harder to get into as their programmes become more acknowledged worldwide.
However, 3 years of WE should be enough in your case (esp. with CFA Level 3).</blockquote>

Thanks Bianca... certainly lots to think about!
quote
MBAAdmCrac...
Hi Everyone,

Was hoping you could give me some advice. One of my key personal and professional goals is to work in China/HK in the future, either in asset management or management consultancy. I have c3 years of investment banking experience (emerging markets equity research sales / investment banking) from one of the top global investment banks (based in London). I am also doing part 3 (final part) of the CFA this summer. Furthermore, I have a strong undergrad from the London School of Econ. Is it worth my while going to China (say BLCU) for a year to learn mandarin and apply to MBA programmes such as HKUST / CEIBS while I am in language school? With my background, is an MBA useful? Any advice would be appreciated.

Xie Xie!


Hey,
I'm based in HK right now and I used to live in Beijing. I think I can give you my two cents.

If you want to work in China /HK, you've got a good academic background there so that's all good. However, the main asset if you want to settle here is to have actual Asian experience, so it's great that you are considering HKUST/ CEIBS.

As for the language school--1 year would realistically not help you develop the level you need to actually work here. Why don't you just apply straight for the program, and then develop your language skils while you're at it? That makes more sense to me in terms of how you should invest your time and money.

Also, personally, I think that you should aim for Peking U or Tsinghua. As noted by another poster, their requirements for foreigners are lower because Mainland China, in general, still have a distance to go before becoming a more international region. Also, Peking U and Tsinghua are 1) the top schools in China, 2) well-respected in Hong Kong as well so you hit two regions with one stone, 3) allows you to develop your mandarin skills and 4) allows you to communicate with the people in both China and HK (people in HK speak Cantonese).

Finally, an MBA is always useful, and if you've got the relevant experience and if you've done your research, you will be able to launch a career in asset management / management consultancy.
<blockquote>Hi Everyone,

Was hoping you could give me some advice. One of my key personal and professional goals is to work in China/HK in the future, either in asset management or management consultancy. I have c3 years of investment banking experience (emerging markets equity research sales / investment banking) from one of the top global investment banks (based in London). I am also doing part 3 (final part) of the CFA this summer. Furthermore, I have a strong undergrad from the London School of Econ. Is it worth my while going to China (say BLCU) for a year to learn mandarin and apply to MBA programmes such as HKUST / CEIBS while I am in language school? With my background, is an MBA useful? Any advice would be appreciated.

Xie Xie!</blockquote>

Hey,
I'm based in HK right now and I used to live in Beijing. I think I can give you my two cents.

If you want to work in China /HK, you've got a good academic background there so that's all good. However, the main asset if you want to settle here is to have actual Asian experience, so it's great that you are considering HKUST/ CEIBS.

As for the language school--1 year would realistically not help you develop the level you need to actually work here. Why don't you just apply straight for the program, and then develop your language skils while you're at it? That makes more sense to me in terms of how you should invest your time and money.

Also, personally, I think that you should aim for Peking U or Tsinghua. As noted by another poster, their requirements for foreigners are lower because Mainland China, in general, still have a distance to go before becoming a more international region. Also, Peking U and Tsinghua are 1) the top schools in China, 2) well-respected in Hong Kong as well so you hit two regions with one stone, 3) allows you to develop your mandarin skills and 4) allows you to communicate with the people in both China and HK (people in HK speak Cantonese).

Finally, an MBA is always useful, and if you've got the relevant experience and if you've done your research, you will be able to launch a career in asset management / management consultancy.
quote
nazking15
Hi Everyone,

Was hoping you could give me some advice. One of my key personal and professional goals is to work in China/HK in the future, either in asset management or management consultancy. I have c3 years of investment banking experience (emerging markets equity research sales / investment banking) from one of the top global investment banks (based in London). I am also doing part 3 (final part) of the CFA this summer. Furthermore, I have a strong undergrad from the London School of Econ. Is it worth my while going to China (say BLCU) for a year to learn mandarin and apply to MBA programmes such as HKUST / CEIBS while I am in language school? With my background, is an MBA useful? Any advice would be appreciated.

Xie Xie!


Hey,
I'm based in HK right now and I used to live in Beijing. I think I can give you my two cents.

If you want to work in China /HK, you've got a good academic background there so that's all good. However, the main asset if you want to settle here is to have actual Asian experience, so it's great that you are considering HKUST/ CEIBS.

As for the language school--1 year would realistically not help you develop the level you need to actually work here. Why don't you just apply straight for the program, and then develop your language skils while you're at it? That makes more sense to me in terms of how you should invest your time and money.

Also, personally, I think that you should aim for Peking U or Tsinghua. As noted by another poster, their requirements for foreigners are lower because Mainland China, in general, still have a distance to go before becoming a more international region. Also, Peking U and Tsinghua are 1) the top schools in China, 2) well-respected in Hong Kong as well so you hit two regions with one stone, 3) allows you to develop your mandarin skills and 4) allows you to communicate with the people in both China and HK (people in HK speak Cantonese).

Finally, an MBA is always useful, and if you've got the relevant experience and if you've done your research, you will be able to launch a career in asset management / management consultancy.


Hey!

Thanks for that - very informative! You might be right about applying while I am still working. I guess my initial thought was to spend a year learning Mandarin at language school and then continuing with it while doing the MBA to gain a greater level of fluency. However, the risk I'll be taking is that I won't have anything to fall back on if I'm rejected. I guess you can't win either way!

Did you study at either Peking U or Tsinghua? Did you have prior Mandarin fluency?
<blockquote><blockquote>Hi Everyone,

Was hoping you could give me some advice. One of my key personal and professional goals is to work in China/HK in the future, either in asset management or management consultancy. I have c3 years of investment banking experience (emerging markets equity research sales / investment banking) from one of the top global investment banks (based in London). I am also doing part 3 (final part) of the CFA this summer. Furthermore, I have a strong undergrad from the London School of Econ. Is it worth my while going to China (say BLCU) for a year to learn mandarin and apply to MBA programmes such as HKUST / CEIBS while I am in language school? With my background, is an MBA useful? Any advice would be appreciated.

Xie Xie!</blockquote>

Hey,
I'm based in HK right now and I used to live in Beijing. I think I can give you my two cents.

If you want to work in China /HK, you've got a good academic background there so that's all good. However, the main asset if you want to settle here is to have actual Asian experience, so it's great that you are considering HKUST/ CEIBS.

As for the language school--1 year would realistically not help you develop the level you need to actually work here. Why don't you just apply straight for the program, and then develop your language skils while you're at it? That makes more sense to me in terms of how you should invest your time and money.

Also, personally, I think that you should aim for Peking U or Tsinghua. As noted by another poster, their requirements for foreigners are lower because Mainland China, in general, still have a distance to go before becoming a more international region. Also, Peking U and Tsinghua are 1) the top schools in China, 2) well-respected in Hong Kong as well so you hit two regions with one stone, 3) allows you to develop your mandarin skills and 4) allows you to communicate with the people in both China and HK (people in HK speak Cantonese).

Finally, an MBA is always useful, and if you've got the relevant experience and if you've done your research, you will be able to launch a career in asset management / management consultancy.</blockquote>

Hey!

Thanks for that - very informative! You might be right about applying while I am still working. I guess my initial thought was to spend a year learning Mandarin at language school and then continuing with it while doing the MBA to gain a greater level of fluency. However, the risk I'll be taking is that I won't have anything to fall back on if I'm rejected. I guess you can't win either way!

Did you study at either Peking U or Tsinghua? Did you have prior Mandarin fluency?
quote
bianca
Thanks for that - very informative! You might be right about applying while I am still working. I guess my initial thought was to spend a year learning Mandarin at language school and then continuing with it while doing the MBA to gain a greater level of fluency. However, the risk I'll be taking is that I won't have anything to fall back on if I'm rejected. I guess you can't win either way!
Did you study at either Peking U or Tsinghua? Did you have prior Mandarin fluency?
Hi again,
In my case, I'm hoping to go to Tsinghua starting from next year. Prior that, I'm planning to take mandarin lessons to achieve at least some fluency.

Why ?
1) Because the best thing about a Tsinghua or a PKU is not the IMBA classes (which will probably be average), it's the Chinese network. The chinese students there are going to be the some of the brightest and most interesting people one can find in China. So communication with them is a must for me.
2) Because (crossing my fingers real hard) I'd love to attend classes taught in mandarin either at the b-school or other departments (eg. Engineering school), where I'm sure the education will be top notch.
3) It will just make things much much easier. Seriously, you don't want to go at a Beijing restaurant and look at the menu with a blank face...

Would it be possible for you to take mandarin lessons while still working ?
<blockquote>Thanks for that - very informative! You might be right about applying while I am still working. I guess my initial thought was to spend a year learning Mandarin at language school and then continuing with it while doing the MBA to gain a greater level of fluency. However, the risk I'll be taking is that I won't have anything to fall back on if I'm rejected. I guess you can't win either way!
Did you study at either Peking U or Tsinghua? Did you have prior Mandarin fluency?</blockquote>Hi again,
In my case, I'm hoping to go to Tsinghua starting from next year. Prior that, I'm planning to take mandarin lessons to achieve at least some fluency.

Why ?
1) Because the best thing about a Tsinghua or a PKU is not the IMBA classes (which will probably be average), it's the Chinese network. The chinese students there are going to be the some of the brightest and most interesting people one can find in China. So communication with them is a must for me.
2) Because (crossing my fingers real hard) I'd love to attend classes taught in mandarin either at the b-school or other departments (eg. Engineering school), where I'm sure the education will be top notch.
3) It will just make things much much easier. Seriously, you don't want to go at a Beijing restaurant and look at the menu with a blank face...

Would it be possible for you to take mandarin lessons while still working ?
quote
nazking15
Thanks for that - very informative! You might be right about applying while I am still working. I guess my initial thought was to spend a year learning Mandarin at language school and then continuing with it while doing the MBA to gain a greater level of fluency. However, the risk I'll be taking is that I won't have anything to fall back on if I'm rejected. I guess you can't win either way!
Did you study at either Peking U or Tsinghua? Did you have prior Mandarin fluency?
Hi again,
In my case, I'm hoping to go to Tsinghua starting from next year. Prior that, I'm planning to take mandarin lessons to achieve at least some fluency.

Why ?
1) Because the best thing about a Tsinghua or a PKU is not the IMBA classes (which will probably be average), it's the Chinese network. The chinese students there are going to be the some of the brightest and most interesting people one can find in China. So communication with them is a must for me.
2) Because (crossing my fingers real hard) I'd love to attend classes taught in mandarin either at the b-school or other departments (eg. Engineering school), where I'm sure the education will be top notch.
3) It will just make things much much easier. Seriously, you don't want to go at a Beijing restaurant and look at the menu with a blank face...

Would it be possible for you to take mandarin lessons while still working ?


Hi Bianca,

I agree with your goals! I've been in the awkward position of having been in Beijing (and Kunming and Guangzhou for that matter!) and not knowing what's going on. I've tried taking Mandarin lessons after work but it hasn't worked out. My work hours are very long and I've often had to miss lessons due to business travel etc. This is the main reason why I was thinking of dedicating the time to start learning Mandarin in an immersive way.
<blockquote><blockquote>Thanks for that - very informative! You might be right about applying while I am still working. I guess my initial thought was to spend a year learning Mandarin at language school and then continuing with it while doing the MBA to gain a greater level of fluency. However, the risk I'll be taking is that I won't have anything to fall back on if I'm rejected. I guess you can't win either way!
Did you study at either Peking U or Tsinghua? Did you have prior Mandarin fluency?</blockquote>Hi again,
In my case, I'm hoping to go to Tsinghua starting from next year. Prior that, I'm planning to take mandarin lessons to achieve at least some fluency.

Why ?
1) Because the best thing about a Tsinghua or a PKU is not the IMBA classes (which will probably be average), it's the Chinese network. The chinese students there are going to be the some of the brightest and most interesting people one can find in China. So communication with them is a must for me.
2) Because (crossing my fingers real hard) I'd love to attend classes taught in mandarin either at the b-school or other departments (eg. Engineering school), where I'm sure the education will be top notch.
3) It will just make things much much easier. Seriously, you don't want to go at a Beijing restaurant and look at the menu with a blank face...

Would it be possible for you to take mandarin lessons while still working ?</blockquote>

Hi Bianca,

I agree with your goals! I've been in the awkward position of having been in Beijing (and Kunming and Guangzhou for that matter!) and not knowing what's going on. I've tried taking Mandarin lessons after work but it hasn't worked out. My work hours are very long and I've often had to miss lessons due to business travel etc. This is the main reason why I was thinking of dedicating the time to start learning Mandarin in an immersive way.
quote
andy.j.
i think Bianca is right - knowing Mandarin is essential for networking in mainland china. that's why i would take mandarin lessons before if i where you - i think that with intensive studying, you may get the basic level needed for communication pretty quick, and then be able to develop your skills further during the MBA.
i think Bianca is right - knowing Mandarin is essential for networking in mainland china. that's why i would take mandarin lessons before if i where you - i think that with intensive studying, you may get the basic level needed for communication pretty quick, and then be able to develop your skills further during the MBA.
quote
nazking15
i think Bianca is right - knowing Mandarin is essential for networking in mainland china. that's why i would take mandarin lessons before if i where you - i think that with intensive studying, you may get the basic level needed for communication pretty quick, and then be able to develop your skills further during the MBA.


Hi Andy,

I agree with you whole-heartedly! I guess the question continues to be how i should do the language thing before actually applying there!
<blockquote>i think Bianca is right - knowing Mandarin is essential for networking in mainland china. that's why i would take mandarin lessons before if i where you - i think that with intensive studying, you may get the basic level needed for communication pretty quick, and then be able to develop your skills further during the MBA. </blockquote>

Hi Andy,

I agree with you whole-heartedly! I guess the question continues to be how i should do the language thing before actually applying there!

quote
andy.j.
If you could afford it(both money wise and career wise), you should consider taking this year for intensive mandarin learning in china. this would not only give you a good basis for further development of your language skills during the MBA, but also a better understanding of the culture, which is a very important thing for one wanting to do business there.

that being said, it is a big investment and you should really be clear with yourself about your goals before deciding to make such a move.
If you could afford it(both money wise and career wise), you should consider taking this year for intensive mandarin learning in china. this would not only give you a good basis for further development of your language skills during the MBA, but also a better understanding of the culture, which is a very important thing for one wanting to do business there.

that being said, it is a big investment and you should really be clear with yourself about your goals before deciding to make such a move.
quote
bianca
that being said, it is a big investment and you should really be clear with yourself about your goals before deciding to make such a move.
As an investment, a 1 year language study + 2 years MBA in Beijing (eg. Tsinghua or PKU) is still pretty sound.
The total cost of such an adventure would probably be around USD60k (USD10k per year in living expenses and USD20k in tuition + USD10k extras). I don't know what the opportunity cost is for you, but that's still a lower cost than many western MBA programmes (2y). And it will give you a definite edge if your aim is to work in China.

I'm not sure how your original MBA financing plan was but the investment isn't much higher (it's actually often lower) than the one you'd have to come up with for a US or European MBA.
<blockquote>that being said, it is a big investment and you should really be clear with yourself about your goals before deciding to make such a move.</blockquote>As an investment, a 1 year language study + 2 years MBA in Beijing (eg. Tsinghua or PKU) is still pretty sound.
The total cost of such an adventure would probably be around USD60k (USD10k per year in living expenses and USD20k in tuition + USD10k extras). I don't know what the opportunity cost is for you, but that's still a lower cost than many western MBA programmes (2y). And it will give you a definite edge if your aim is to work in China.

I'm not sure how your original MBA financing plan was but the investment isn't much higher (it's actually often lower) than the one you'd have to come up with for a US or European MBA.
quote
nazking15
The opportunity cost is, in many ways, very limited. Also, the financing side of it isn't the issue - its more a question of whether or not, having started a year's worth of study this year, I'll actually get into the programmes! If not, I'll be a bit stuck...
The opportunity cost is, in many ways, very limited. Also, the financing side of it isn't the issue - its more a question of whether or not, having started a year's worth of study this year, I'll actually get into the programmes! If not, I'll be a bit stuck...
quote
bianca
Hi nazking,

From what I understand, your question is really about the admission process and the application justification of spending 1 year off work and studying chinese.

Only you have the answer. Is learning chinese truly a part of your career progression? What is your own motivation?

As answer tips :

Recently I read a survey conducted with many people leading successful careers (check here if you want: www.radical1000.com).
To the question "Which would you do to boost your long-term chances of success?"
Answers were:
- Lie about where you went to college: 13.8%
- Work every weekend for a year: 26.4%
- Take a big pay cut: 29%
- Learn a new language: 92.6%

Learning a new language is - by far - considered to be the best way to boost long-term chances of success. In my opinion, learning chinese (or russian, or hindi, or portuguese) should be in the mind of everyone who expect to succeed in tomorrow's world.
Hi nazking,

From what I understand, your question is really about the admission process and the application justification of spending 1 year off work and studying chinese.

Only you have the answer. Is learning chinese truly a part of your career progression? What is your own motivation?

As answer tips :

Recently I read a survey conducted with many people leading successful careers (check here if you want: www.radical1000.com).
To the question "Which would you do to boost your long-term chances of success?"
Answers were:
- Lie about where you went to college: 13.8%
- Work every weekend for a year: 26.4%
- Take a big pay cut: 29%
- Learn a new language: 92.6%

Learning a new language is - by far - considered to be the best way to boost long-term chances of success. In my opinion, learning chinese (or russian, or hindi, or portuguese) should be in the mind of everyone who expect to succeed in tomorrow's world.
quote
Oshrat.H
I totally agree with Bianca! learning a new language is a great way to boost your success chances in general. although we often get the feeling that knowing English is enough in this world, this is far from truth - there are lots of cases where you can benefit from knowing the local language, especially when it comes to lands like china(but also Germany, Spain ect.). although most people do understand written English now days, a lot of them are having trouble understanding spoken English, and prefer to talk their own language(the best example for it is Koreans - from my experience, they all understand English very good when written, but are usually having trouble understanding it when spoken)

if i where you, i would take this chance - if you don't get excepted there, you would surely be able to use the fact you know mandarin in order to get to another school some where, or to get a better job.
I totally agree with Bianca! learning a new language is a great way to boost your success chances in general. although we often get the feeling that knowing English is enough in this world, this is far from truth - there are lots of cases where you can benefit from knowing the local language, especially when it comes to lands like china(but also Germany, Spain ect.). although most people do understand written English now days, a lot of them are having trouble understanding spoken English, and prefer to talk their own language(the best example for it is Koreans - from my experience, they all understand English very good when written, but are usually having trouble understanding it when spoken)

if i where you, i would take this chance - if you don't get excepted there, you would surely be able to use the fact you know mandarin in order to get to another school some where, or to get a better job.
quote

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