MAS­TERS OF NONE

IT OF­FERS THE MOST EX­PEN­SIVE ED­U­CA­TION IN THE COUN­TRY—BUT IS THE MBA LIT­TLE MORE THAN A STA­TUS SYM­BOL?

The World of Chinese - - Tea Leaves -

What hap­pens to a com­pany equipped with 34 cur­rent or as­pir­ing CEOS, in­stead of just one? The Haid­ian Dis­trict Peo­ple’s Court of Bei­jing has the an­swer—it goes bank­rupt.

Ac­cord­ing to the court’s Weibo, the dis­tressed com­pany was es­tab­lished in De­cem­ber 2014 by stu­dents of a Ts­inghua Univer­sity CEO pro­gram, fol­low­ing a crowd­fund­ing round on the group’s 120-mem­ber Wechat group that raised 6.8 mil­lion RMB from 34 in­vestors to run a restau­rant by the east gate of Ts­inghua Univer­sity. To­day, that eatery boasts as­sets to­tal­ing nearly 5,000 RMB, and a debt of over 3 mil­lion RMB.

While de­tails of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the bud­ding CEOS and Ts­inghua’s busi­ness pro­gram re­main sketchy, the post gar­nered 20 mil­lion views and 670,000 com­ments, most won­der­ing why a com­pany run by sup­posed elites trained by the top academy in the coun­try would flop so spec­tac­u­larly.

It may be a re­flec­tion of the ed­u­ca­tion on of­fer: The “CEO pro­gram,” or Ex­ec­u­tive Master of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion (EMBA), is a part of a large and prof­itable ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor in which stu­dents en­roll hop­ing to be­come China’s next Jack Ma. When the de­gree was in­tro­duced in 1991, nine uni­ver­si­ties were au­tho­rized to of­fer EMBAS by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, but the num­ber had risen to

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