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First students graduate from business partnership program

By Meaghan Whelan

Spring convocation marks a special milestone for the Faculty of Business Administration: the first group of students from the 2+2 agreement with Renmin University of China in Beijing is graduating with their bachelor of business administration degrees.

Eight students will graduate at the spring convocation, while 15 other students enrolled in the program are expected to graduate at the fall 2010 convocation.

The 2+2 program is a model that sees students complete the first two years of their Memorial business degree at their home university in Beijing and their final two years on campus at Memorial. Prof. Mike Burns, director of the International Programs Office in the Faculty of Business Administration, said the program is an excellent opportunity for the university and for students.

“The 2+2 model brings well-trained students with a known ability level, who have also had specific preparation for study at Memorial, to our campus to learn and study,” he explained. “Our enrolment increases and high-quality students, who bring a lot to the classroom, become a part of our culture.”

Prof. Burns said that all students benefit from having a more diverse student body.

Wanggu Ouyang is one of the students who will be graduating this semester. He said coming to Memorial created new opportunities for him.

“I decided to come to Memorial for the academic and personal experiences. More importantly, in China, many industries prefer to hire graduates who have either overseas educational background or work experience,” he said. “So I think obtaining an undergraduate degree at Memorial will facilitate my future career path.”

The format of the program makes it more likely for the international students to succeed. Prof. Burns visits the Chinese campuses five to six times per year to lecture, promote the program and provide information.

“This close connection between our campuses helps ensure students are well prepared and able to succeed,” he said. “Moreover, by spending the first two years studying in China, students are given a more gradual transition to the western culture and business environment, and more time to develop their English skills.”

The Faculty of Business Administration has 2+2 agreements with Renmin University of China, Xi`an Jiao Tong University City College and Beijing Foreign Studies University, all top ranked universities in China.

As well, Prof. Burns explained, it benefits the wider university.

“These Faculty of Business Programs are also important in the wider university context. We are helping to meet the university’s strategic objective of recruiting international students and the Faculty of Business Administration has been a major source of growth in this area.”