Dean Roomkin reports on his latest trip to Shanghai.
At the end of September, I had the opportunity to visit Shanghai as part of my Board of Director’s responsibilities for GMAC – the Graduate Management Admission Council. Shanghai truly has to be seen to be believed. Before arriving in this amazing city, I had been told that it had a “European feel” about it; I disagree. Shanghai was unlike any place I have ever visited in Europe. The development in the city is just astounding; in one tour, our guide pointed out that half of what is Shanghai today was rice fields just 10 short years ago. Today, those fields have been replaced by one skyscraper after another. I also witnessed real-time examples of what students learn in Operations classes – countless barges bringing raw materials up the Yangtze River and finished goods down the river, day and night.
China is truly leap-frogging into the 21st century. An unambiguous example of its technological advances is represented by the frictionless maglev train, a highly advanced automatic non-driver train that uses the basic principles of magnets to replace the wheel and track trains. It travels at an unprecedented speed of more than 310 mph, twice as fast as Amtrak's fastest commuter train. While technologically astounding, these trains are not quiet. The “roar” that they create when they enter the central city is a fitting symbol of the “roar” with which Shanghai and China have come barreling into the global market. For more information on the maglev, I suggest you visit http://www.transrapid-usa.com/.
One of the highlights of the trip was a presentation given by Dean and Vice President Rolf D. Cremer of the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). He indicated that in China alone, there are as many as 250 MBA and EMBA programs, many of which have been created in the last 5 years. I also had the opportunity to meet with Majdi Bader Abulaban, an MBA graduate from 1990. As profiled in the September issue of Weatherheadlines, Mr. Abulaban has recently been recognized as the “China Innovator of the Year.” Earning this prestigious award required extensive interviews and applications. It was truly a pleasure to be able to meet this impressive alumnus in person.
The international travel component of my position on the 15-person peer-elected GMAC board is certainly a bonus. I am personally and professionally dedicated to this role as it is important to my profession as a Dean of an AACSB-accredited school and the business education industry in general. It allows me to stay current on the trends in MBA education while developing relationships with leaders from other top management schools and increasing the world-wide visibility of the Weatherhead School.
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