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China graft war hits MBA candidates

The Auditorium at Tsinghua University (Image courtesy of Tsinghua University)The Chinese government has issued a new regulation banning officials and executives of state-owned enterprises (SOE) from taking MBA courses using public funds.

As part of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, government officials taking costly MBA or EMBA degrees will have to pay the tuition themselves instead of claiming reimbursement from public funds as they used to. Those already enrolled in such programs must withdraw immediately, the Financial Times said.

Executives from China’s state owned enterprises constitute a large group of MBA and EMBA students. About 30 percent of the students enrolled in Tsinghua University’s EMBA program are SOE executives, 7 percent are government officials, and 40 percent are private entrepreneurs, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

Business training programs in famous Chinese universities can be priced between 400,000 yuan ($65,183) and 700, 000 yuan ($114,071). Some schools offer discounts to government officials, who may bring in wealthy entrepreneurs seeking networks, critics said.

The tuition reimbursement ban has significantly affected business schools, with many government officials quitting their EMBA courses or declining scholarships in recent weeks, the Financial Times said.

But some people don’t agree with the move. “You may find individual cases of corruption within the EMBA community but we mustn’t let a rat’s dropping spoil a whole cauldron of soup,” one EMBA program head said.

Sources: Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Beijing Youth Daily (北京青年报)


Hui Zhi is the Senior Manager for Content with the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post first appeared.

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