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UB GETS OK TO RESTART ITS MBA PROGRAM IN CHINA

The University at Buffalo, whose pioneering MBA program in China died in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre, will be reborn.

UB's School of Management announced Thursday that it has received approval from China's Ministry of Education to renew its program to give top Chinese executives the chance to earn a master's degree in business administration from UB.

The program, which is scheduled to begin in January, will be the only U.S. offering that is affiliated with a nationally ranked Chinese University, in this case Renmin University in Beijing.

"It's absolutely phenomenal," said Lewis Mandell, the dean of the management school. "It's kind of like, in the United States, being in partnership with Princeton or Yale."

The 30 to 35 students who are expected to participate in the program each year could become an important source of managerial talent for Chinese companies or foreign ones moving into the Chinese market.

"We will not only help China advance its business goals, we will be improving U.S. access to the Chinese marketplace," said John Thomas, the management school's associate dean of international programs.

The renewed program also puts UB in a position to boost its prestige by becoming a leading expert on China, its markets and its business practices, Mandell said.

"It's important to us because it gives us a commanding presence in a portion of the world -- in Asia -- that's going to be of growing importance," because of the enormous size of its markets and rapid growth, Mandell said.

The two-year program will be taught in English by UB faculty members who will travel to China to teach courses in one- or two-week periods, Mandell said. Some English-speaking faculty members from Renmin University also will teach some courses.

In the future, Mandell said the relationship with China could be expanded so UB's MBA students in the United States could go to China.

UB's management school was the first U.S. school to establish an accredited MBA program in China in 1984. But that program died in 1991, after the U.S. Commerce Department cut off funding for the program in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre. UB announced its intention to revive the China MBA program last December.

Start-up funding for the new program is being provided through a $200,000 grant from Praxair, an industrial gases company that has about 1,000 employees at its site in the Town of Tonawanda, as well as five joint ventures and two wholly owned companies in China.

Beyond that, the MBA program is expected to be self-supporting, deriving most of its revenue from the $15,000 annual tuition per student, Mandell said.

UB is not the only local school moving to establish a presence in China. Canisius College is one of 25 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States that are working together to administer a master of business administration degree program at the University of Peking in Beijing.

UB also has an Executive MBA program in Singapore, which was established in 1994 and now has 80 students. Its first class will graduate in March.

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