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EMBA tuition fees rise with nation's booming economy
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China's most prestigious management schools have announced increased tuition fees for their lucrative executive master's of business administration (EMBA) programs while the two stock exchanges saw the fastest annual growth in market values.

The Shanghai-based China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), ranked by the Financial Times as among one of the world's top ten business schools, led the price rise by increasing tuitions of its two-year EMBA program from 308,000 yuan (41,000 U.S. dollars) to 338,000 yuan, Shanghai's Jiefang Daily reported on Wednesday.

Fudan University Management School in the same city later announced a 13.4 percent price increase for its EMBA program. A joint EMBA program between Fudan and the University of Washington is even more expensive, with a 19 percent price hike to 435,000 yuan for the 18-month program.

The programs cultivated by the best Chinese business schools are priced much lower than global brands, whose EMBA programs are charged from 60,000 to 120,000 U.S. dollars.

Zhang Weijiong, provost of the CEIBS, said inflation, indicated by the continuous growth of the consumer price index in the past year, and CEIBS's pledge to increase salaries of professors contributed to the fees rise.

Zhang said, "The current round of economic boom, particularly in the private sector, thirstily demands high-end management professionals who are not only trained in western ways but also keen on the Chinese market."

In building an international brand for elite business administration, the CEIBS kicks off a new EMBA program, advertised in The Economist, to train Chinese expatriates who are working for the most competitive multinationals.

The most outstanding business schools at Beijing-based universities have kept up with their Shanghai peers in terms of price increases. The EMBA program at either Beijing University or Tsinghua University cost over 330,000 yuan.

An insider familiar with the decision to increase prices said the business schools increase tuition fees to some degrees, because they want to brand themselves as the best schools among so many choices available in the market.

"The best schools have to charge the most," the insider said.

Anyway, education experts argue, those EMBA candidates are price-insensitive. Some said one of the most valuable assets from their perception for the elite EMBA education would be the networks they build up among their peers.

"Considering the tuition fees as entrance fees for possible greater business successes, one third of a million yuan is not that high," one MBA professor said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 13, 2007)

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