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Business schools lure more Chinese

2014-04-01 11:03 China Daily Web Editor: qindexing
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An increasing number of Chinese students are applying to enroll in French business schools because of their greater emphasis on China, experts said.

Frank Bostyn, president of the NEOMA Business School in France, who came to Beijing for a news conference on his school in December, said the number of Chinese students on its campus has tripled in recent years.[Special coverage]

"We now have more than 300 Chinese students on our campuses, and they make up 17 percent of all our students," he said.

Bernard Ramanantsoa, dean of HEC School of Management in France, said there are about 160 Chinese students studying at the school, including those pursuing master's, MBA and PhD degrees.

"It's the largest number apart from the French," he said, adding that while the number of Chinese students on the campus has increased, the growth in applications has been even greater.

According to Bai Lisha, a consultant on studying in France at the Education International Cooperation Group, the trend of more Chinese students applying for business schools in France started in 2011.

"That year, there were 200 to 300 Chinese students applying for French business schools through our Beijing branch company. But now the number has increased to 500 a year, and it is actually much bigger if we consider our branch companies in other cities," she said.

This is due to twin factors, she said, China's increasing importance in the commercial world, and French business schools strengthening their promotion in China.

SKEMA Business School, a leading French institution, is one such example. The school, which has campuses in France and the United States, built its Chinese campus in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, in 2009.

Richard Francis, China Campus director of the school, said it views China as one of its most important markets in the world.

"In order to be on top of developments in the global economy, it is important to be based in the three key international markets - Europe, Asia and North America. And China is the major economy in the Asia region.

"It is also a source of excellent students and executives who wish to learn about the other major knowledge economies - Europe and the US - where we also have campuses," he said.

Bostyn said his school would like to recruit students from China because the Chinese market is vitally important to the school, and will become even more important in the future.

"China is a big country with a proud tradition, and it has a strong education background. People are entrepreneurial and motivated. So that means we will find a lot of Chinese candidates with the potential to be good managers and entrepreneurs," he said.

France is also famous for its business education, Bai said.

"As more and more Chinese students and parents got familiar with French business schools, they started to realize that French business schools are also a good choice apart from French public universities that offer free education," she said.

Bai believes the number of Chinese students applying for and going to French business schools will keep growing.

"This year will mark the 50th anniversary, as China and France established their diplomatic relations in 1964, and the relationship between the two countries has been smooth," she said. "We can expect that more cooperation and dialogue between China and France will be carried out in the future."