CIBL at LSE’s business Mandarin course can be the bedrock to your career success
London School of Economics, Confucius Institute for Business London
May 28 | 5 minutes read
China’s ascent as an economic powerhouse has caught the attention of many companies who are eager to expand their business into the country. While many turn to learning Mandarin — the language of business — to bridge the divide, understanding the Chinese business and cultural nous are equally essential in helping organisations seal the deal.
According to the Director of Academic and Professional Development Division and Language Centre, LSE, Dr Neil McLean, many verbal and non-verbal cues matter when it comes to the Chinese business context. “It matters where people sit in a room, what time different people arrive, or what order different people are going to speak. These things — along with the intercultural communicative awareness and perspective — are necessary to help you work successfully in building rapport and understanding relationships,” he said.
Ultimately, a holistic business Mandarin course encompasses both the language and cultural aspects, which is what the Chinese Language and Culture for Business Programme (CLCB), a part-time executive programme for Chinese language learners with a global vision and an interest in China by CIBL, encompasses.
An all-rounded business Mandarin programme for ambitious professionals
The CLCB programme draws on CIBL’s partnership between two globally renowned institutions: the London School of Economics (LSE) and Tsinghua University. It has benefitted many executive students in their personal and professional development and can open the door to new opportunities, as echoed by alumna Helen Yang.
“What drew me to this programme at the Confucius Institute is that it’s not just language learning, but it’s also the way of doing business in China,” she said. “Seeing as I work for the Department of International Trade, I hope to one day work in China, and this course will help with the intercultural communication aspects with Chinese colleagues.”
Another alumni, Michael Zhang, said the programme is well-structured with a clear syllabus. “The classes are held after work while there are also make-up classes, so if you miss a class, you can still catch up. Besides, the classes are quite small, and the teachers tailor the work to individual pupils,” he said.
CLCB also has an online platform that makes it convenient for students to learn anytime and anywhere.
A programme that enhances one’s competitive edge
Dr McLean explained that the programme reflects what students need to know to do business with their Chinese counterparts. As Mandarin can be a challenging language to learn, students are taught by executives with over two decades of teaching experience under their belt.
Classes are held in small groups to ensure students receive more individualised attention and have more opportunities to participate.
“Our graduates will be able to demonstrate their command of Mandarin through the achievement of different levels on the HSK,” he said. The HSK is the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) system, used by Chinese educators and employers to measure a foreigner’s ability in Chinese, with one being the lowest and six being the highest proficiency.
The CLCB course is scheduled to be delivered both online and in-person in March and October yearly. Students have two options to choose from — an online and on-campus version — ideal for both beginners and proficient speakers.
The online CLCB is a five-month online programme delivered using a blended learning approach. It empowers learners to communicate effectively within a Chinese business context. CLCB uses a mixture of standard textbooks and authentic materials designed by course instructors for each student in the programme.
CLCB covers topics such as Business Mandarin, HSK Mandarin Class, Intercultural Communications, and Business Masterclass. Students can also partake in an optional China study trip that provides students with a well-rounded learning experience.
Upon completion, students can expect to engage in conversations in Mandarin and understand simple texts, focusing on business contexts; and gain valuable insight into the challenges and opportunities in the Chinese market through a series of China Business Briefings, to name a few.
Students who want a more comprehensive programme can opt for CLCB’s full course at LSE’s campus in London. The 10-month course is delivered via a blended learning approach. It covers the Chinese language and provides management and intercultural communication training to ensure students gain an in-depth knowledge of doing business with China.
A deep dive into China’s culture
Both online and full course students have the opportunity to engage in a two-week study trip to China to fully immerse themselves in the local culture and experience the country for themselves.
Alumna Sarah Chidgey, who also works for the Department of International Trade, said, “We went to Tsinghua for two weeks in July and it was a fantastic time.” They engaged in a wide range of activities, including visiting an AI company, toured the Forbidden City, took some tai chi classes, attended cultural lectures and participated in intensive Mandarin study at Tsinghua University.
Alumni Matei Negrescu concurs. “The Tsinghua trip was one of the highlights of the programme,” he said. Negrescu enjoyed combining the intensive study of Mandarin at Tsinghua University with great teachers and colleagues for a couple of weeks while simultaneously immersing himself in the Chinese culture and way of life.
Oladeji Ikuesan, who works for a consulting company, said they learned “quite a lot of Chinese” in China, adding that he enjoyed spending time exploring the city, eating good food and learning tai chi for the first time.
“I recommend it to anyone who is contemplating taking this programme,” he said.
CIBL is offering a free, intensive taster course for learners who are considering joining the CLCB programme for both the online and on-campus options. Among the components include a CLCB induction, which gives students an overview of the CLCB programme; a two-hour Mandarin class for beginners; as well as a one-on-one session with one of CIBL’s teachers to know more about the programme.
To find out more about the programme, contact Executive Education Advisor and Community Manager Martina Zuccarella at firstname.lastname@example.org or request a free one-to-one consultation.