Chinese Students Flock to Global B-School Courses

Aug 24, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Finance training has long been regarded as one of the more practical fields of study. In China, however, it’s becoming even more popular due to the combination of political uncertainty and the complex global economic landscape, according to a recent report from The Financial Times. But can the world’s business schools keep up with the demand? Here’s a closer look.

Uncertain Economy Driving Demand

Thanks to everything from fintech to Brexit, the financial industry is not only evolving quickly, but facing a great deal of uncertainty ahead. As a result, more students are looking to arm themselves with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to succeed in the face of these changes.

Specifically, the new world of business will require “highly trained individuals with the intellectual maturity and independence that only postgraduate courses can develop,” according to one b-school administrator as reported by FT.

Top Destinations

One top destination for Chinese b-school students? The UK, where students from China make up a full half of the international student population enrolled in finance courses at FT-ranked global masters programs. Experts attribute this trend at least in part to the falling value of the sterling.

Meanwhile, there’s good news for international students interested in studying in the US. Applications are also on the rise, and show no sign of stopping. Explained one administrator of the lack of impact of the government’s current anti-immigration stance, “We fashion ourselves as a global school.”

The Hands-On Imperative

However, growing demand from China also presents a new challenge for business schools: Constructing curricula to meet the needs of modern students. Explains FT, “Even as demand increases, schools are having to adapt what they offer to students to help them prosper in a world where employers want graduates with increasingly sophisticated skills.”

Practical experience, in particular, is a priority. One business school program director in Belgium told FT, “They live it and they learn it. If they were successful once in a rather safe school environment, students will feel confident to replicate the analysis and apply the learnings in future professional contexts.”


Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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