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Seton Hall, China bind ties through MBA program

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In the four years since Seton Hall University expanded its MBA program to China, it has reached maximum enrollment due to increased demand among Chinese business professionals. 

Joyce Strawser, dean of the Stillman School of Business and an associate professor in the Department of Accounting and Taxation, travels to China each year to evaluate the program.

Seton Hall teaches the China MBA program in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Zhuhai. It is the same program that is taught on its South Orange campus.

The relationship between the university and the Chinese extends back more than 35 years ago with the first student exchanges. 

“We think it is important to expand our reach and reputation internationally,” Strawser said. “We think it is important to have connections with educational institutions and prospective students all over the world. And the university has been involved in relationships and affiliations with Chinese universities for years.”

“The people we are targeting are senior executives, seasoned business leaders, or in some cases entrepreneurs,” she said. 

At the end of the China MBA program, students come to New Jersey to graduate and experience the state. They study how business is conducted in China versus other nations: the differences in culture, operations and regulations.

“The tradition in China and many other countries is the instructor is a much more all-knowing [person] — more of a unilateral transfer of knowledge,” Strawser said.

By contrast, American students ask more questions and engage more with fellow students. The professors in China encourage their students to ask questions of each other.

Steven Lorenzet, a Seton Hall associate dean and associate professor, teaches in the China MBA program. He believes it is attracting better and more qualified applicants and veteran industry professionals. Some 160-200 students take the Seton Hall China MBA program at a given time across the three cities.

“We are getting students who are capable of high-level work,” Lorenzet said. “We are pleased with the quality of work we are seeing. Nearly all these cohorts are already experienced professionals in their careers. It is probably too early to see where they are in terms of their upward mobility.”

“We seem to be getting an increased interest with each intake cycle,” he continued. “President Trump tends to change the nature of conversations. There were a great deal of conversations between the two countries regarding sanctions being leveled.”

Lorenzet teaches in English and an interpreter translates to Chinese.

“The program has reached its capacity point,” Lorenzet said. “We can increase our selectivity because the MBA program is increasing. We have this exchange from the American perspective and the Chinese perspective and the students like it. It is a great international collaboration.”

Donna Wei Tang is among the students in the China MBA program. She is a general manager and director of marketing and commercial operations with the Qingdao Wellsprings Real Estate Co. in Qingdao, China.

Her employer has developed many residential communities, office buildings and a shopping center in Qingdao, and she is in charge of the marketing for the whole company and the commercial operation management of one of its shopping centers.

“With the development of the company and the increasingly higher personal position, I have more and more responsibilities in charge,” she said. “I am eager to go back to school and study business administration systematically and comprehensively to improve my comprehensive level.

“ … I was deeply moved when I learned about the history of Seton Hall University, which has made great contributions to the communication between Chinese and American cultures. I can feel that this is a school with heart education, a project with heart education.”

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David Hutter

David Hutter


David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at dhutter@njbiz.com.

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