News & Voices

New Journeys & New Beginnings: Peking University NSD’s PKU-UCL MBA Opening Ceremony Held

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On 2 September, 2017, following the PKU-Vlerick MBA opening ceremony, another important opening ceremony was held at the National School of Development’s (“NSD”) Langrun Gardens Campus – that of the PKU NSD and England’s University College London (“UCL”) joint MBA Program.

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In just one year, Peking University and UCL went from signing a strategic cooperation agreement at PKU’s Linhu Xuan Building to welcoming their inaugural MBA cohort, signalling a new beginning in BiMBA’s 20-year history of Sino-foreign joint academic programs.

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At 9am, Peking University’s NSD BiMBA Academic Dean Dr Du Guiying began proceedings. Via video link, NSD Honorary Dean Professor Justin Lin, NSD Dean Professor Yao Yang and NSD BiMBA Dean Professor Chen Chunhua each gave their best wishes. Respectively, they described the new students’ coming months of study from the perspectives of Chinese economic development, NSD’s program positioning and personal development, whilst affirming the need for students to make the most of their academic and business opportunities. In the coming two years, students will learn via a combination of mandatory and elective courses, in addition to the National School of Development’s seminar series.

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Other notable attendees to the ceremony included BiMBA Business School MBA Program Academic Director Professor Zhang Li, Institute for Law and Economics at Peking University’s Co-Director Professor Xue Zhaofeng, UCL’s UCL-PKU MBA Program Director Michael Manlangit, BiMBA Business School Executive Dean Dr Gu Qifeng and NSD Assistant Dean Dr Liu Xujie.

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NSD BiMBA Business School Co-Dean Professor John Yang introduced BiMBA’s values concept which it has held throughout its 20 year history. Prof. Yang stated that BiMBA is a business school that is ‘small in scale with a unique ethos’. Its setting in the historical Langrun Garden in the Yan Garden district on Peking University’s campus gives it deep academic and cultural roots. The newly reconstructed Chengze Garden will also bring new opportunities for BiMBA. Both schools will use their best teaching teams to cultivate top business talent. In this era of innovation, BiMBA has always emphasized individual thinking to its students, and individualism; UCL also has a strong tradition of innovation and entrepreneurism. Professor Yang expressed his hope that this inaugural class of the PKU-UCL MBA will become the first in a line of innovators.

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UCL School of Management Deputy Director (Education) Professor Alan Parkinson gave a stirring speech as the representative of UCL. Whilst precise, Professor Parkinson’s speech was not lacking in ‘British humour’, which helped close the gap between UCL and BiMBA, and UCL and the new students. He said that, as an accountant, he should be ‘calm and collected’, but was in fact incredibly excited as today was a milestone in the journey Peking University and UCL – the MBA program had officially begun. UCL’s teaching and alumni span the globe and, like PKU, it has a rich and profound history. Professor Parkinson said that, given UCL’s rigorous academic approach, study will not be easy but full of achievement, and he was hopeful to see the students’ great results.

Beginning with the 2017 MBA program, BiMBA will provide a ‘Career Development Mentor’ program, inviting 100 mentors from companies and 100 alumni mentors to give students one-on-one career development consulting and advice. Following the appointment of 20 such mentors in PKU-Vlerick’s opening ceremony, close to 20 mentors accepted the invitation during the opening ceremony and will be an invaluable resource for students in their career development.  

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As representatives of company mentors and alumni mentors, respectively, Lenovo Group Global Senior Vice President Ms Gao Lan and Sanpower Group Ltd. Vice President Mr Jing Tian each gave a message to the new students. Ms Gao Lan reflected on her early experiences in the workplace, stating that young people need the help and support of more experienced managers. She hopes that she and the other mentors will help MBA students better understand and navigate their career paths in enterprises, help students realize their potential and help them learn to take advantage of development opportunities. As a BiMBA alumnus, Mr Jing Tian had first-hand exposure to life as a PKU student. He called on students not to limit themselves to learning, but also to understand their historical responsibility as PKU students, to pay attention to societal problems and strive to   change the world for the better.

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The final appearance in the opening ceremony was the MBA student representatives, Zhang Heyang and Ryan Thomas, who represented the Full-time and Part-time classes, respectively.

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They each recounted their decision to join Peking University, BiMBA and specifically the PKU-UCL MBA program: to seek a new direction in their career development, to broaden their management knowledge and horizons, and to get a handle on the heart of today’s age of innovation. Whilst they expect to be worked hard, they are well prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities given in the coming months and years.  

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At the end of the ceremony, with the melodious PKU anthem, Yanyuan Qing, in the air, BiMBA and UCL professors and guests put school badges on the new students, a sign of the beginning of an earnest and beautiful journey.