Fudan MBA Won AACSB's 2022 Innovations That Inspire

On April 5th,  AACSB's 2022 Innovations That Inspire Member Spotlight Program honored Fudan University School of Management (FDSM) for the course Strategic Mindset and Innovation – the Israeli & Chinese Experience, one of the Fudan MBA Global Immersion Program (GIP). As the only business school in China won the AACSB award this year, Fudan MBA was highlighted for its diversified and innovative course design with other programs from 24 global leading business schools, including the University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business, and IE Business School, etc.

This is another international recognition won by the Fudan MBA Program after the 2022 Global MBA Ranking released by Financial Times -- No. 32 in the world, No. 1 among business schools of Chinese universities, and among the top 40 globally for four consecutive years -- demonstrating that the Fudan MBA Program has been maintaining its spirit of innovation and making breakthroughs despite the pandemic.

The course Strategic Mindset and Innovation – the Israeli & Chinese Experience, one of the Fudan MBA Global Immersion Program was recognized by AACSB's 2022 Innovations That Inspire Member Spotlight Program for its rich components of cutting-edge theory and practice. These elements creatively integrated online and on-site courses jointly designed with Coller School of Management of Tel Aviv University, so as to keep reshaping the global vision and innovative business insights of the Fudan MBA students when the COVID-19 pandemic prohibited overseas exchanges     .

AACSB's Innovations That Inspire

FDSM has been maintaining its AACSB accreditation since 2008. AACSB, short for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, was founded in 1916 by 17 prestigious universities and colleges, like Harvard University, Yale University, etc.

Today, AACSB stands as the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer degrees in business and accounting, while AACSB accreditation has been recognized worldwide as the hallmark of excellence in management education, and the highest level of specialized accreditation that an institution and its business programs can earn.

Now in its 7th year, AACSB's Innovations That Inspire Member Spotlight Program was first created to shine a spotlight on the variety of ways that business education is leading and innovating to create positive societal impact. This year, the program set the theme as celebrating “diversity and inclusion” in initiatives of business schools.

Fudan MBA’s Award-Winning Hybrid Program

International exchange and vision expansion have always been major concerns of the Fudan MBA program. Meanwhile, FDSM has been putting sci-tech innovation education at the center of its new development strategy, aiming to integrate management education with sci-tech innovation practices. Therefore, when the pandemic broke out and a previously planned one-week visit to Israel had to be cance led, efforts to find potential alternative solutions were immediately launched by the faculty.

While courses and speeches delivered by Israeli scholars and entrepreneurs could easily be conducted online, the key issue for the Fudan MBA Program was to diversify the curriculum and arrange inspiring, face-to-face interactive activities so as to deepen the students’ understanding of sci-tech innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit and corporate culture of the Israeli companies.

In 2021, FDSM co-launched a hybrid program titled      “Strategic Mindset and Innovation –the Israeli & Chinese Experience” with Tel Aviv University. The two-score elective course consisted of two parts. An online course from Coller School of Management, Tel Aviv University provided insights about the Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem and its globalization strategies from angles including block chain, artificial intelligence, big data, financial technology and cyber security. Meanwhile, face-to-face lectures on culture, society, and the market of China and of Israel, symposiums featuring Israeli entrepreneurs in China, visits to high-tech Israeli companies in China, as well as in-depth case studies on these companies, all initiated and coordinated by FDSM, achieved to incorporate more Chinese perspectives into the program.

As it turned out, both the impact from millennia of history and the vitality of the Israeli entrepreneurship scene grew quite tangible for the MBA students. A majority of students found the course diverse and engaging, with 96.36% of the students evaluating the experience as “very rewarding”. Sun Jinyun, Associate Professor from the Department of Business Management and Director of Fudan Youth Entrepreneurship Center, who was among the Chinese faculty of this course, believes that the hybrid course successfully captured the sense of immersion and the sense of presence of traditional overseas exchange programs. “The faculty from both FDSM and Coller School of Management even managed to make the experience more intensive and engaging now that the students didn’t need to run around from one venue to another as much as usual,” Professor Sun added.

Mr. Udi Aharoni, General and Academic Director of Lahav Senior Executive Education at Coller School of Management, Tel Aviv University, demonstrated for Fudan MBA students Israel's reform and development in the field of innovation. He said that as the country with proportion of R&D in GDP in the world, Israel has been providing solid support for scientific and technological innovation both in policy and fund. Meanwhile, the innovation and development of Israeli enterprises are also closely based on actual needs.

MBA students who participated in this innovative program shared their gains and excitement. Dong Shunfang from Class of 2022 said: "I’ve gained so much in way of thinking through these two weeks of hybrid learning online and on-site. First of all, I’ve learned a lot about the innovation culture in Israel. The Israel business culture encourages innovation and tolerates failure; innovation and development are based on actual needs; start-ups are aiming the global market, etc. These can all serve as important references for Chinese enterprises. Then in terms of business practice, Chinese and Israeli companies can form a win-win situation through cooperation: the former can get more cutting-edge technologies, and the latter can see to that their innovative products and solutions reach a much bigger market through the commercialized operation in China."

Tang Wensheng, another Fudan MBA student from the Class of 2022, was impressed to find that Israeli start-ups often target a very small subdivided segment of a certain industry; that they are extremely outstanding in R&D, customer experience, and innovation; and that excellent companies often prefer the “focus strategy”, concentrating high-quality resources for innovation.

The program brought together Chinese and Israeli professors, scholars, entrepreneurs and students from different industrial and cultural backgrounds, and engaged them in dialogues via both online and face-to-face classes, which matches perfectly with the criteria “diversity and inclusion” sought by the AACSB's 2022 Innovations That Inspire Member Spotlight Program.

Global Immersion Under Covid-19

Since the epidemic has not completely subsided in 2022, the collaboration between Fudan MBA Global Immersion Program and Coller School of Management moves on. Yet the aim remains the same: continuing to decipher the uniqueness of Israeli entrepreneurship and providing the Fudan MBA students with more extensive and diverse learning experiences.

Professor Zheng Ming, Deputy Dean of FDSM, said that winning this award is a reflection of the Fudan MBA program's emphasis on curriculum quality, the grasp of the essence of GIP courses and its courage to make bold innovations when faces with tough situations. In fact, the Fudan MBA program is also the pioneer of Chinese overseas courses. FDSM has established a solid cooperative relationship with Tel Aviv University since 2015.

The Executive Director of Fudan MBA Program, Professor Feng Tianjun, told us      under the circumstances of the pandemic, the innovative solution created by the Israeli course has provided valuable guidance for the Fudan MBA program and FDSM on the whole to pursue further on the internationalization of its management education. Mr. Udi Aharoni, General and Academic Director of the Short-term Programs at Coller School of Management, also believes that this hybrid program will open up new potential collaborations in the future for both institutes.

Professor Feng added: “FDSM will stick to its sci-tech innovation strategy, promote innovation among its faculty and the students, develop similar creative, diversified and inclusive programs with an accent on global vision and frontier business trends, so as to help students gain in both theoretical knowledge and practical experiences.”

FDSM is at this moment planning more innovative and interactive programs with its long-term partners in overseas courses such as National University of Singapore (NUS), London Business School (LBS), and MIT Sloan Business School. These programs will further improve diverse experiences and outlooks while helping the students to gain insights on global innovation and broaden their horizons despite the pandemic. 

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