Fuqua Builds New Campus in China

Posted by: Alison Damast on January 29, 2010

Duke’s Fuqua School of Business continues to move forward with its ambitious plans for a global MBA campus network, most recently breaking ground on a new campus location in China. Back in 2008, I wrote a story about Fuqua’s efforts to create a revamped international MBA program, one that would allow students to attend overseas campuses all around the world. Since that time, the school has developed new facilities with partners in Dubai, Russia, India and the United Kingdom. Now, the school is setting its sight on China. Just last week, Fuqua Dean Blair Sheppard and Duke President Richard Brodhead broke ground on a 200-acre campus location in Kunshan, China expected to be completed in 2011. The campus will have five buildings, with space for research and residential facilities for Fuqua’s programs, the school said in a press release. The venture is a partnership between Duke and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of the top schools in China.

Among the initial offerings at the school are an executive MBA, non-degree executive education offerings and a pre-experience master of management studies degree, taught by Fuqua faculty. Beyond the classroom, Fuqua has an ambitious agenda in the region; helping to revitalize the Yangtze River delta area. Already, the school says it has formed some industry and government partnerships that they say will help them meet this goal. Eventually, the campus will include programs from Duke’s schools of public policy and environment, and it global health institute, among others.

The new campus appears to be a smart strategic move for Fuqua; today many leading American business schools have campuses or offices in China, and increasingly, more Chinese students are opting to study at home, rather than the U.S. I think Duke should be able to carve out a niche in this region fairly easily; it already has strong ties with China, with 600 Chinese students enrolled in its programs and partnerships with influential Chinese institutions in areas such as global health and international development. It will be interesting to follow the school’s progress in the region over the next few years.

Readers, what do you think of Duke’s plans to establish a stronger presence in China? Do you think there is a need for more American business schools to build campuses in China?

Reader Comments


February 1, 2010 9:27 AM

But why did Duke choose to build the campus at Kunshan which is about 50 min outside Shanghai? It is like Oxford building a campus at Great Neck, NY.


February 2, 2010 9:38 AM

It's duke. They don't think.


February 9, 2010 10:50 AM

Due to local regulations, it is much easier and more economic to build a campus in Kunshan vs building one in Shanghai. Compared to Duke campus 500 miles away from NY in US, this campus is just 50 miles away.


February 9, 2010 1:19 PM

Very bold move. However, will this expansion erode the brand value of Duke MBA program?


February 10, 2010 6:12 PM

How Duke look at the the overall brand reputation of being a US private school vs. a global school? How to make sure student get same quality teaching and helpful career service in both US and China?


February 10, 2010 9:17 PM

I have heard that there was a lot of govt pressure in this deal, which may explain why Kunshan was the site chosen. The other perplexing thing is that the local partner, Shanghai Jiaotong, supposedly has a deal with USCs Marshall School that makes USCs GEMBA the only international EMBA that Jiaoda can offer. This relationship would seem to rule out Duke offering an EMBA in China unless it plans to get USC booted.

MBA schools in China

February 11, 2010 11:24 AM

Scare the hell out of me...


February 11, 2010 7:05 PM

What is the advantage for an American Business School, who is probably already stretched financially at home, in building a campus in China. Where does 'ownership' of facilities lay? Any insights on the financing and repatriation of $s? Wouldn't it be better to establish a degree program/exec programs with a university using their existing facilities so that you aren't anchored in one place if things go askew?


February 12, 2010 3:16 PM

I did the global emba and the class was very small. 30 or so. I think Duke should strengthen it's existing programs and network before developing new ones...


February 12, 2010 3:16 PM

I did the global emba and the class was very small. 30 or so. I think Duke should strengthen it's existing programs and network before developing new ones...


February 14, 2010 1:40 AM

The majority of US schools are moving to a model in which they operate through what is called a Wholly Owned Foreign Entity (WOFE) so that they can hire their own staff, receive payments and conduct their operations without working through a local partner, which remains quite challenging. A WOFE also gives them a vehicle for repatriating money earned in China. That said, if you are a big name like Duke, the government will almost certainly insist that you have a local partner involved in any training you do beyond a short stay. Most Chinese universities are space constrained, so even if you don't build your own campus, you'll be asked to pony up for the latest building they are putting up. Duke is probably wise to build their own space if they can afford it and if it gives them control over its use.


February 22, 2010 1:23 PM

This project may become known as "Sheppard's folly". The Canadian Dean of the Fuqua School at Duke has failed to answer alot of fundamental questions about the value of this Chinese venture, his partner Shanghai J Uuniversity was identified by the NYT as ground zero for cyber crimes and warfare against US interests in China like Google. Duke is potentially doing a disservice to the Chinese people not to mention the US national interest! This can end very badly. Sheppard needs supervision before he does damage to Duke's reputation and brand.


February 25, 2010 12:45 AM

Calling it "Sheppard's folly" may be more than apt. Just as was the case with "Stewart's Folly" (the US purchase of Alaska), the long term value of Sheppard's strategy may be difficult to see. But, I see it as a bold bet with significant upside and manageable downside. Just look at INSEAD's success in Singapore for an example. Yes, local partners can expose you to some unsavory activities, which is all the more reason to have your own operating base that gives you the autonomy to steer clear of these hazards. Few schools can afford what Duke is doing, but it will give them a significant advantage in China if they can make it work.


March 10, 2010 1:27 PM

It’s a wise long term strategy to strengthen the Duke/Fuqua brand. Duke/Fuqua’s upward movement in US rankings/reputation has stalled due to the intense competition at the elite level. It now is stuck in the top ~10 b-school niche. Expanding in China and elsewhere is a good strategy to build a stronger global reputation. China, Dubai, and Russia are all rising economies. It’s imperative to tap into these markets to expand the alumni network and reputation. There is going to be short term pains, as with any venture/change. However, the long term benefits can potentially outweigh the short term pains.

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