'Exhausting' executive MBA programmes worthwhile, says billionaire

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 January, 2013, 12:32pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 January, 2013, 12:57pm

Chinese billionaire and entrepreneur Feng Yajuan runs over 10 businesses. But she said it’s not her demanding career that is wearing her down, but the four executive MBA programmes she attended in the past year.

Feng, 40, said she had participated in EMBA programmes offered by the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business , Peking University, China Europe International Business School, and University of Science and Technology of China last year, a Chinese business magazine reported on Monday.

“It’s exhausting, “ Feng said. As required, Feng had studied in classes held in cities all over the country, including eastern Hangzhou, central Qufu, southwestern Chengdu, northern Mohe, and southern Sanya.

But Feng said she did not regret her decision. “The EMBA programmes have changed my life forever,” she said.

“My classmates come from all walks of life and work in different areas; they have inspired me and some have turned into my clients,” she said.

Networking has been cited as a major motivation for China’s EMBA students - who are generally very eager to succeed.

Zhang Hongyu, chief executive of a Zhengzhou-based agriculture machine producer, said he had found a new buyer for his products through an EMBA programme. This saved his company annual costs of 5 million yuan (HK$6.23 million) .

Not everyone is so fortunate. Wang Xiaowei, a rice wine dealer from Henan, claimed he had lost 6 million yuan due to investment fraud committed by one of his classmates, the report said. The classmate has disappeared.

Although EMBA programmes in China are criticised for being overly commercial, they remain popular with many ambitious entrepreneurs - and eager "husband-seekers".

Wang Shi, a 61-year-old China real estate tycoon and chief executive of Vanke, became the centre of attention after divorcing his wife last year and marrying 31-year-old actress Tian Pujun, after meeting her in an executive MBA class, according to Chinese media

This triggered heated discussion among China’s netizens about the role EMBA programmes play in matching successful business men with young women looking for rich husbands.

“No other investment will beat this kind of return ,” commented a Chinese netizen on China’s twitter-like service Sina Weibo.