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Business dean visits China to re-affirm the importance of strategic partnerships

Dr. Wilfred Zerbe, dean, Faculty of Business Administration and Chen Guangde, vice president of Xi’an Jiaotong University and president of Xi’an Jiaotong University City College.

By Jennifer Kelly

Since 2006, the Faculty of Business Administration’s international academic partnerships have made a major contribution to Memorial’s internationalization goals. Strengthening these programs is an important faculty goal and it was with this purpose that three members of the faculty recently visited China.

Dr. Wilfred Zerbe, dean, Faculty of Business Administration; Mike Burns, director, international programs; and Christina Wang, international programs officer, recently met with four existing strategic partners in Beijing and Xi’an. Additionally, Mr. Burns and Ms. Wang also met with senior representatives of prospective partners in Chengdu, Mianyang, Jinan and Shanghai. The visit included meetings with senior administrators, program managers and prospective students at the different institutions.

An important focus has been the institutional collaborations, where students study two years at a foreign university and then complete the final two study years at Memorial. Over the past three years, a collaborative program with Renmin University of China has allowed nearly 180 students to finish their business degrees at Memorial. During this visit, Dr. Zerbe and Professor LI Xiang, dean of Renmin’s School of International Education, signed a new agreement to expand the range of this collaborative program.

“These programs, complemented by the work of the Office of Student Recruitment, have contributed to roughly 40 per cent of Memorial’s international student growth,” said Dr. Zerbe. “Thus, success of these initiatives requires an ongoing diligence of ensuring student quality - this means staying abreast of the changing China educational landscape.”

At Beijing Foreign Studies Universities, an agreement was signed to formalize a new program. At China Women’s University discussions focused on extending collaboration beyond the existing Canadian Studies Summer school. In Xi’an, Dr. Zerbe participated in discussions with the vice-president of Xian Jaiotong University and professor Chen Guangde, to discuss strengthening a collaborative relationship that has already seen thirty well-trained students come to Memorial’s business programs.

Dr. Zerbe believes that the faculty’s success is due to skill at managing relationships with international partners.

“We have a unique and valued capability that helps us understand and meet the needs of our international partners,” said Dr. Zerbe. “This in turn helps us develop processes that attract high quality students and provide them with an excellent business education and experience.”