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Universities told to enroll MBA students without experience

LOCAL universities have each been asked by the Ministry of Education to admit 50 to 60 new graduates into their MBA programs this year, according to a new requirement aimed at easing unemployment pressure.

In the past, universities had required MBA applicants to have at least three years' work experience.

Nationwide, universities were asked to admit an extra 6,000 new graduates with no work experience into their 2009 MBA programs.

The ministry wants universities nationwide to admit an additional 50,000 full-time postgraduates this year, principally studying for MBAs and other qualifications including degrees in public administration, engineering, law and accounting.

"Shanghai will enroll 1,000 additional postgraduates this year," said Tian Weifeng, director of the higher education department of the Shanghai Education Commission. "Most of the places will be given to fresh graduates with no work experience."

But some have questioned the admission of graduates with no work experience, saying they may not be able to understand MBA courses without business experience.

"Whether it is OK to enroll people with no work experience depends on the reason the person is admitted," said Liang Neng, executive MBA program director of the China-European International Business School.

Liang said that each year Wharton School in the United States, consistently ranked the best business school in the world, accepted only a few new graduates each year, mainly to its MBA finance programs, because in some areas of finance workplace experience is not always necessary. He said such students accounted for a very small percentage of the total.

"MBA students need a certain amount of real world perspective in order to fully appreciate and contribute to the insights of the MBA classroom," said Lydia Price, associate dean and academic director of CEIBS' MBA program. "But that perspective can be gained in different ways. First-hand working experience is of course one efficient means; closely observing the workings of a family business for a long period of time would be another. Students in the CEIBS MBA program have from two to 10 years' experience."

Liang said majors that demanded professional management experience would not be suitable for fresh graduates while those only requiring theoretical knowledge could be suitable.

Local universities are drafting schemes to help graduates adapt to MBA studies.


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