BI-Fudan: 18 years of success

27 November 2014

An increasing number of students with extensive management experience are choosing the BI–Fudan MBA programme in Shanghai. The 18-year-old collaboration between Norway and China attracts leaders with high competence and ambition.

The opening ceremony of class 23 of the BI Norwegian Business School – Fudan MBA programme welcomed 55 new students from a variety of businesses. This year they have even longer management experience than previous years.

- We believe this reflects the quality of the programme and how we constantly work with improvement and adaption to a rapidly changing business environment, says Jan Ketil Arnulf, Associate Professor at the Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour and Dean at The BI-Fudan MBA programme.

A perfect mix of values

The BI-Fudan MBA programme is taught at Fudan University in Shanghai by faculty from both BI and Fudan. It was the first foreign MBA programme to be credited by the Chinese Government.

- For me this is a chance to mix the Nordic and Chinese business and leadership values. I believe this will increase my possibilities to work in a company doing business between these two countries, says Milo GE (35), a marketing manager in BASF. She used to work in a Norwegian company, and sees the BI-Fudan MBA programme as a wonderful opportunity to get back into the Nordic world.

- The core values of the program, being creativity, competence and empowerment, are all things I value. I have a lot of experience, but feel I need a theoretical framework in which I can systemise my knowledge, she says.

Growing business opportunities

Pål Bråthen, Commercial Consular at Innovation Norway, welcomed the students with focus on how both Norway and China in the future will need a highly educated workforce that understands both cultures.

- China’s position as a foreign investor in Norway will increase. In the maritime sector, Chinese and Norwegian industries are complementing, and the commercialisation and innovation in Chinese maritime industry will create a lot of new initiatives, he said.

Open up for new ideas

- The BI-Fudan cooperation is the most intensive and long-term academic commitment between Norway and China and has existed for over 18 years, said Øivind Stokke, Consular Genaral of Norway in Shanghai.

He advised the students of class 23 to take advantage of the cultural diversity they will experience on the programme.

- Diversity is always positive and can bring new ideas to both you and your company. It is also very important for Norway as a country that that over 2000 Chinese alumni have ideas about what Norwegian business culture is, he said.

Create your own silk road

- Today people speak of a new silk road, linking China closer to other maritime industries. But the most interesting silk road, is the one you are going to travel now. A road where knowledge and experience can be shared in a professional and international environment, said professor Rolv Petter Amdam, Dean, Executive Programmes, BI Norwegian Business School. He has visited the BI-Fudan MBA programme on several occasions.

- At BI Norwegian Business School in Norway we use case-studies from BI-Fudan MBA students to illustrate our theory and make better lectures on Chinese and international business. The two-way intercultural exchange is a prerequisite for success, he said.  

You are tomorrow's leaders

- People often say that Chinese industry only copies what is there and lack innovation. I look at it from another perspective, said Sissel Hammerstrøm, Program Director China, BI Norwegian Business School.

- The Chinese industry is extremely innovative when they take an already existing product and improve it and adapt it to the Chinese market.

She told the students to approach the programme in a similar way.

- Even though we strive to introduce you to the factors that are linked to the strong economy and high productivity in Norway, we are not asking you to do it the Norwegian Way in China. That would be impossible. But if you can bring some of this knowledge into the new world of China, it will give you many advantages in a long-term business perspective. It can turn you into tomorrow`s talented leaders who can motivate and empower your employees. The international business needs people who understands the West and the East, and you are the ones to do it, she said.

The importance of sharing

Professor Yang Changjiang. Associate Dean, Graduate School, Fudan University encouraged the students to use the MBA programme as a platform for both social and personal development.

- Get to know people and make connections that can last for life, was his advice.

-Relationships was also the main focus of the welcoming words of professor Yin Zhiwen, Associate Dean, School of Management, Fudan University.

-The long- time collaboration between these BI Norwegian Business School and Fudan is unique in the world. It can be described as a fruitful marriage that requires mutual understanding and sharing. Sharing personal experiences, new knowledge and business concepts is the secret of the success of this joint venture, he said.

Be active

Zhan Hang, student representative of MBA 22 told the new students to be proud to of themselves to start a program that is amongst the world's top ten on salary increase.

- We are all here to climb the career ladder. But if you are active and take part in group discussions and alumni activities, you will benefit even more from the program, he said.

Better leaders

Yu Lining, student representative of MBA 23 expressed her gratitude to the ones who elected her and her fellow students.

- We all come from different backgrounds, but we all have a wish to become better leaders. I believe this program will allows us to accomplish that ambition.To be able to study leadership and business culture in a global context, is a very exciting journey that I am proud to be starting, she said.

Prepare for the next level

- I chose this programme because it is tailored to real business, and I have it recommend by people I know and trust. Having worked for seven years as a "corporate rat", I believe it is time to learn more about the concepts of leadership and international business and prepare for the next level in my career. As a father of two sons. I want to stay international, but learn locally. Studying part-time in Shanghai is a wonderful choice, he said. 

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