Business schools in Asia: Growing in popularity and quality

Chinese Business School programmes are aimed at developing the competencies focused on Asian businesses.

By U2B Staff 

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According to a survey conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), applications to MBA programmes to elite business schools in the United States is dropping. The downward trend began in 2014 and in 2017, the percentage of applications to business schools in the United States, including Stanford, Harvard, and UPenn declined by 7%.

More interestingly, programmes outside of the United States reported an increase in application volume. Applications to business schools in China and the Asia Pacific showed an increase in applications by 67%, Canada by 62%, and Europe by 61%.

The GMAC also reported that MBA programmes in China and the wider Asia-Pacific region have seen a year-on-year rise in application volume. GMAC also reports a 41% increase of applications to MBA programmes in China, reflecting the strong growth in international applications in 2019, with a further 23% reporting stable growth in international applications.

So, while the demand for MBAs may be dropping in the United States, the demand for the programme is growing in the Asia Pacific, predominantly in China, in line with its growing economy. Chinese business schools have also demonstrated growth in quality over the years.


Last year, many of these Chinese business schools achieved international status and recognition including the “triple crown” accreditation awarded by AMBA, EQUIS, and AACSB.

As of April this year, a total of eight business schools in China made it into the list of 100 triple crown accredited schools: Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Beijing Institute of Technology, Lingnan College and Sun Yat-sen Business School both of which are from the Sun Yat-sen University, School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, University of International Business and Economics, Zhejiang University and Xiamen University.

The Hong Kong Baptist University School of Business also makes the list of 100 triple crown accredited business schools this year.

Chinese business schools are also highly ranked by major publications such as the Financial Times, Forbes, and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Additionally, business programmes based in China and Hong Kong occupy 14% of the Financial Times’ top 50 MBA rankings, with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) listed as the best performing schools.

The appeal of Chinese Business Schools likes the fact that they are not merely replicating the business school programmes conducted by their western counterparts.

In fact, Chinese Business Schools are teaching students about business from the perspective of western companies by developing their own case studies that are focused on Asian businesses.

An MBA programme from a Chinese business school provides a highly sought-after mixture of local and international knowledge.


Indian business schools are also demonstrating strong quality in terms of MBA offerings, with three schools that have made it to the list of 100 triple crown accredited schools. These institutions include the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Indian Institute of Management Indore, and the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. These schools also made it to the Financial Times’ top 100 MBA in 2020.
Also on the list is the Lee Kong Chian School of Business based in Singapore.

Given that Asia is powering global economic growth, and companies are increasingly doing business in or with countries such as China and India, a business school programme in these regions are undoubtedly becoming increasingly valuable.