Muschamp Rd

Tsinghua - 清华大学

Tsinghua has a very large campus compareable in size to UBC. It is possible to live your entire student life on campus and many Chinese students do. However outside the gates is an entire city and country to explore. The campus has numerous cafeterias, as well as private businesses where you can buy fruit, snacks, and even the occaisional English magazine for the bargin price of 10 RMB, though it will likely be several weeks old.


This section contains a brief overview of every class taken by Danna or Muskie while at Tsinghua. Although the list of classes taught in English provided by Tsinghua may sound impressive, the actual courses you will be able to bid on will number a dozen or so. Some classes are ’required‘ for IMBA students so you do not have to bid on them. The quality of the teaching and the classes is not up to the same standard found at Sauder. This is the opinion of students from other top MBA programs such as Anderson and Kellogg. Furthermore most of the classes in English are lower level than one would like given Sauder students are nearing the end of their MBA program. This also leads to some overlap with the courses you have already taken. In short do not come to Tsinghua for the classes. Attendance is mandatory if you miss two sessions of a class there may be serious repercussions as a result you must sign in every class.

International Marketing

This class is case based. The majority of the class's grade is based on group assignments and in class presentations. This course had more assignments, presentations, and what not than any other class I took. Even then it is not nearly as much work as say Mark Strat back at Sauder.

Managing Global Inovation

This was the only class taken by Muskie that was taught by a Westerner. He has a lot of expertise in this area and this class seemed to be the consensus choice among many foreign students as one of the best classes they had while at Tsinghua.

Theory of Investment

There is considerable overlap between this class and BAFI 500. This class had three homework assignments and an in class written final which was closed book but multiple choice and very easy.

Basic Chinese

I originally decided to take the Friday class, which was the harder of the two. Some students in that class had more knowledge of Chinese than others. Most students in the Friday class are Korean, very few Westerners decided to take the Friday class; I quickly switched back to the Tuesday class which is much more beginner friendly.

International Economics

This class is taught entirely different than the average economics class at Sauder. It is case based. Students are required to present on one case in class and write a final report. The teacher was formerly the head of the MBA program at Tsinghua and this class was very large partially as a result of that. There is some overlap between this course and the Core but more so with International Trading Environment and Multinational Enterprises. This class also is mostly group work and in class presentations.

Business Law

This course is on the law system in China. The teacher had a very thick accent and this course was abandoned by as many foreign students who could. It also had a grading scheme that induced a few groans. 30% of your grade was based on attendance, 10% on in class participation and 60% on the final exam.

Data Mining and Decision Making

Danna thinks this class is only suitable for people who have never taken statistics before and are really keen to learn.

Entrepreneurship (in Chinese)

There are many guest speakers invited by the professor who puts forth great effort to attract them and make the course as a relevant and interesting as possible.

Advanced Managerial Communication

This class is of benefit to people who are interested in corporate communication. The teaching materials are good, movies are shown in class and it is very easy to pass. The course however is almost exclusively teamwork based.


This section contains a list of professors who either Danna or I recommend:


The quality of your classmates, particularly their English may be worse than the average student at Sauder. That said some have very good English. Although there are many exchange students in the program, most of them are not native English speakers. There are a few fellow Canadians, more Americans than at Sauder and maybe a token person from the UK or Australia. There are a lot of students from Germany and Italy at least while we were at Tsinghua. Many people doing an exchange at Tsinghua did not choose it as their first choice unlike Danna and I who both ranked it first. This is similar to Sauder itself where a number of your classmates may have 'settled on' Sauder after being rejected somewhere else. Although you may have classmates from big name US schools such as Anderson and Kellogg some of your classmates may come from schools you aren't quite so familiar with. If you want to hobnob with the creme de la creme of business school students, Tsinghua is not for you.

Korean Classmates

In China you would expect a lot of Chinese classmates, but there are also a lot of Koreans in the International MBA program at Tsinghua. There are also some Koreans that are on exchange from Korean schools. The Koreans on average seem to have better English than many of their Chinese counterparts. Muskie has hypothesized that the high number of Koreans is due to three factors:

  1. Changes in US visa policies post September 11th.
  2. The weaker Won against the US dollar after the Asian Currency Crisis.
  3. Geographic proximity: for Koreans wishing to study abroad in English Tsinghua represents one of the closest and most well regarded (within Asia) universities at which to pursue an MBA.

Career Development Center

I was originally and continually refused access to the Career Development Center. Furthermore although there are many more recruiters than seem to come to Sauder, finding out when they are coming is very difficult for non-Chinese speakers. I am still in the process of finding out exactly where this information is posted and I'm never heard back from Sauder on why I could not use career services at Tsinghua. Also the Career Center is heavily geared towards Chinese students, you need spoken and written Mandarin, they send out announcements in Mandarin to your Tsinghua email address. They have a website which has an English version, however the English version seems to be about a year behind the Chinese version! Another unofficial/official communication channel is the class discussion forum. This is different than the course discussion forum. Each course you take will have it's own website similar to WebCT, however each MBA class (2002, 2003, 2003 Executive, 2003 Part Time etc.) will have its own discussion area. And on top of that there is something known as the Tsinghua BBS MBA Base. These discussion forums are primary geared towards Chinese speakers and even their existence is not common knowledge among exchange students.

Tsinghua Email Address

Initially, I ignored this largely because almost all emails are in Chinese and the webmail interface is also mostly in Chinese, but that can be adjusted. However once I learned the settings to allow downloading of the mail I realized this was a mistake. There is a lot of information especially on recruiters and company presentations sent to your official Tsinghua email address. This is also an email for life and your class year is included in your id. Here are the settings to check the account using POP3:
Incoming Mail Server
User Name andrew.05
Password initially set to the very secure 123
Outgoing Mail Server
To read Chinese email you need a decent email client. Also there are a variety of competing encodings, although it would be nice if everyone use UTF-8 which is the latest and greatest text encoding, a lot of the email I received in Chinese is in 'EUC' encoding.

Recruitment Posters

In the main lobby there are frequently posters for events on campus, however they tend to appear the day of the event. In the hallway on the fifth floor in the Weilun building is another section where posters are displayed for upcoming recruiting sessions. These posters are often entirely in English and you will definitely recognize most of the companies. Chinese companies also recruit and these posters are mostly in Chinese. The recruiting presentations are almost always in the auditorium of the SEM building.

Tsinghua Alumni

Starting with our exchange class, MBA exchange students will be considered alumni of Tsinghua university. This is a non-trivial feather in your hat as the current leadership of the People's Republic of China are all Tsinghua alumni. Although alumni services are currently geared towards Chinese speakers, there is some limited English content with more promised to come.

Networking Opportunities

The Chinese love to exchange business cards. As a foreigner your business card will be particularly in demand. Also having a Tsinghua MBA business card in Chinese will give you some amount of credibility. It also helps if you have an interesting name in Chinese and a brief introduction in Chinese memorized. Although there are lots of opportunities to network with the many other MBA students at Tsinghua, you can get some pretty interesting networking opportunities if you get involved outside of campus. Muskie before coming researched and joined several groups:

The Canadian Alumni Network is very involved with both the embassy and the local Canadian business community and the vast number of Chinese with Canadian connections particularly those that have studied abroad at Canadian universities. The name Sauder but more specifically UBC carries some weight with this crowd and through their events you can meet high ranking government officials both in China and Canada as well as business leaders. Finally New Media BC was a group Muskie joined back in Vancouver. They have relations with Beijing Multimedia Industry Association and through them he learned of a large conference and exhibition they were organizing in December. Although it was still costly, Muskie was able to get a discount by being a Tsinghua student and a member of New Media BC.

The Greater Tsinghua Community

Outside of your MBA class and possibly outside of your faculty lie some excellent networking activities. Muskie was tapped to help prep a team of Tsinghua undergrads to attend a business case competition in Hong Kong. This was beneficial to both parties. The undergrads outnumber the MBAs just like at UBC. So for some big Tsinghua events, the undergrads are more involved in the organization. Just walking around campus and eating in the cafeterias can lead to some interesting encounters, keep your business cards handy. Currently in China the government is largely controlled by Tsinghua alumni, don't underestimate this fact. Many big names come to Tsinghua to speak, people also come to Tsinghua for these events.

Onward to Section 5: Leaving China or return to the introduction.

Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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