If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain; if you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees; if you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people.
So goes the Chinese proverb. And that is exactly what China is doing, as an increasingly vast network of entrepreneurs revolutionizes the global business world.
With people, come entrepreneurs. With entrepreneurs, comes innovation. How, though, do you go about deciding where to study an MBA in a country that covers over 3.7 million square miles?
Enter Beijing, China’s capital, business hub, and home to the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), a breeding ground for billionaire entrepreneurs like Alibaba founder Jack Ma.
Here are five reasons MBA entrepreneurs should study in Beijing:
The revolutionary “Made in China 2025” program is set to change the face of Chinese manufacturing. The plan prioritizes ten sectors—including new advanced information technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), new energy vehicles and equipment, and biopharma and advanced medical products—that it aims to transform with the help of nurtured, entrepreneurial talent.
The focus will be on developing the competitiveness of Chinese companies in the global market, and help will be needed from domestic and foreign entrepreneurs bringing their own initiatives into the ring.
In China, business revolves around “Guanxi”, or personal relationships. Pre-meeting small talk is important, and it often takes the building of strong relationships before a deal is brokered.
Indeed, local business school CKGSB boasts an impressive web of connections. 17 Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business alumni recently made the Forbes China 30 under 30 list. The CKGSB MBA offers a unique mentoring program that connects pupils to students on the Executive MBA (EMBA) program—students get mentored by the upper echelons of China’s business elite.
Inside the Haidian district of northwestern Beijing lies Zhongguancun, China’s Silicon Valley, and the long overdue competitor to America’s tech behemoth. Headquartered there are Chinese tech giants Weibo and Youku, as well as the China operations of multinationals like Microsoft, plus hundreds of fledgling startups.
The Chinese government began a national venture capital fund in 2015, that is now estimated at $2.6 billion. 80% of that is invested in early-stage startups.
4. Work-Life Balance
Every MBA student needs their downtime. Whether you’re patiently waiting for client decisions, or want to relax after a long day of strategic thinking, there’s no better way than by indulging in Beijing’s flourishing craft beer movement. Founded by entrepreneurs Carl Seltzer and Liu Fang, Great Leap Brewing offers unique beers that explore the beauty of Chinese history and culture. Elsewhere in the city is Panda Brew, and Jing-A Brewing Co.
Or, one can indulge in the verdant charms that lie on Beijing’s periphery. The northwestern Badaling National Forest Park houses one of the most popular sites of the Great Wall, and is easily accessible by public transport.
Alternatively, located a mere 15 km from central Beijing is the Summer Palace, an exquisitely preserved royal park. Among the many buildings is the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, ironically two key factors to building business relations that prosper in China.
As an entrepreneur in China you should keep friends close, and politicians closer. With the government based in Beijing, the city couldn’t be closer to the men and women who hold a vast amount of influence over the Chinese business world.
Startup and entrepreneurial success is integral to the government’s agenda, as they pursue the “Made in China 2025” initiative. Half of business school funding also comes from the government, as well as huge investment in startups across Zhongguancun.
The Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business stands apart though, as a private non-profit. Founded in 2002 with the support of the Li Ka Shing Foundation—the brainchild of the Hong Kong philanthropist and entrepreneur—CKGSB has entrepreneurship at its core.
The school has strong links to the Chinese business elite—its CEO and chairman-level alumni collectively lead one-fifth of China’s most valuable brands.