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Working Toward GLobalization, HBS Expands Recruiting in China

By Evan M. Vittor, Crimson Staff Writer

Dean of Harvard Business School (HBS) Kim B. Clark announced during a recent visit to China that the school will expand recruitment in that country as part of the school’s ongoing effort at globalization.

Clark’s visit to China was part of the Global Research Forum held in Shanghai last week, which brought together HBS alums, faculty and several top Harvard administrators to discuss current business-related issues in China. HBS conducts similar forums in various international locations every couple of years.

Heinz Professor of Environmental Management Richard H. K. Vietor, who is the director of the five-year-old HBS research center in Hong Kong, said the forum went extraordinarily well.

“It was a spectacular success. We had about 1,000 people that came from all over the world, including about 20 faculty members, Dean Kirby, Dean Bloom and Dean Clark,” Vietor said, referring to Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences William C. Kirby and Dean of the School of Public Health Barry R. Bloom.

George Yeo, the minister of trade and industry in Singapore, capped off the two-day event with his keynote speech.

“He is smart as a whip and he gave a spectacular speech,” Vietor said.

Although the focus of the event was education, Vietor said that it also served as a social gathering for the many HBS alums who attended.

“It is a way for our alumni to get together in different parts of the world,” Vietor said. “[There was] celebrating and partying at night and then academic sessions during the day.”

While the event was actually delayed a year due to the SARS outbreak in China, Vietor said the event was still a great success and set the stage for many future research projects in China.

“It helps build our own business school network in the region,” Vietor said. “We had many meetings with business school deans and local leaders of large Chinese companies, and we set up a bunch of research projects for our faculty.”

While Vietor said that these types of research initiatives are a good starting point, he still contends that the school needs more faculty members whose primary speciality is China.

“We are really short given that the Chinese economy is some 2.5 to 3 trillion dollars. There are so many things going on there and we have to teach about them and understand them,” Vietor said. “I think Kim [Clark] would like to find two or three real experts on China.”

Clark could not be reached for comment.

Vietor noted the difficulty in finding such faculty members given language barriers and the unfamiliarity of Chinese scholars with the case method of teaching used by HBS.

In addition to recruiting more professors who specialize in China, Managing Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Brit K. Dewey cited similar goals for recruiting more Chinese students to HBS.

“We are in the process of expanding our global reach,” Dewey said. “China is an area of tremendous potential and tremendous economic growth.”

Dewey said that the school already has efforts underway to entice more applicants from China.

“We have had members of the MBA admissions board travel to China to do outreach, and we have had students and alumni serve as ambassadors to help market the program,” Dewey said.

While HBS may be promoting HBS more aggressively in China, Dewey maintains that Chinese applicants are held to the same rigorous standards as every other applicant.

“We want to choose the 900 best leaders from around the world, and this increased marketing is to make sure that the pool from which we draw is truly global,” Dewey said.

Three percent of the incoming class at HBS is from China and 33 percent hail from abroad.

HBS has been engaged in a partnership with the prestigious Qinghua University in Beijing for the past three years to help teach students there about the case method and to develop cases with their faculty.

In addition, the Harvard Business School Press has agreed to a partnership with Commercial Press, a subsidiary of the China Publishing Group and China’s oldest publishing house. The deal calls for up to 150 HBS Press titles to be published and translated by Commercial Press over the next three years.

—Staff writer Evan M. Vittor can be reached at evittor@fas.harvard.edu.

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