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Four Brazilians tell what it's like to do an MBA in China

When choosing an MBA abroad, many Brazilians aim at the United States or Europe - two cradles of the most renowned theories and models in the business world. However, there are more and more followers of a less traditional destination: China.

It is not for less. The executive MBA offered by the Chinese Tsinghua University in partnership with Insead, for example, was considered the best in the world in 2015, according to the British newspaper "Financial Times".

Other schools in the Asian country, such as HKUST Business School and Ceibs (China Europe International Business School), have also been on the FT's top 20 global MBAs for years.

Although the Chinese economy is experiencing a worrying slowdown, Brazilians who decided to take an MBA in the country do not regret their choice.

Learning how to negotiate with local companies, getting to know a culture completely different from that of Brazil and having contact with the most widely spoken language in the world - even though classes are usually offered in English, not Mandarin - are some of the greatest rewards brought by the experience.

See below what 4 Brazilians who made this choice have to say about the surprises, difficulties and discoveries brought by China:

Foreigner wins double

There is a huge demand for the work of a foreigner, which makes it a great destination for those looking for an international experience

The sociologist from São Paulo Beleza Chan , 29, decided to take an MBA at Peking University, known as the “Chinese Harvard”, motivated mainly by a personal question: daughter of Chinese, she was immensely curious about her family's country of origin. .

But the lessons learned from the experience went far beyond what she expected. “I was surprised to see how well the foreigner is received,” says the Brazilian. "The Chinese management style is usually very rigid, with little attention to employee motivation, so they are looking for someone who can bring a new culture, another look at running a company."

MBA in China: the balance of 14 months of study, work and travel

According to Beleza, who currently works at an educational sector startup in Beijing, the wages practiced in China reflect this preference: there, she says, those who come from another country usually earn double or even triple what a native receives.

In addition to the financial attractiveness, the country offers many professional opportunities. “There is a huge demand for the work of a foreigner, which makes it a great destination for those looking for an international experience,” he says.

In the Brazilian's opinion, having a Chinese MBA is a differential for the curriculum of any executive. "With this experience, you can position yourself in the market as a facilitator of relations between Brazil and China, someone who has contacts there and understands the local mentality," he says.

In Addition to the censorship imposed by the government - “you feel completely out of touch with what's going on in the world” - Beauty cites pollution as a disadvantage. According to Greenpeace, the level of air quality is below the recommended level in almost 300 Chinese cities, including the capital Beijing.

Networking with the dragon

It was an excellent decision, mainly because the teachers had a lot of academic and practical experience

Luciano Antonini, 34, from Santa Catarina, also did his MBA at Peking University, which offers a double degree with Belgium's Vlerick School of Business.

It was not the engineer 's first adventure in the Asian country: still in graduation, he had spent a year in the city of Zhengzhou to study Mandarin. On the occasion, he did a three-month internship at an Embraco factory in Beijing.

In 2010, he returned to China to establish a component factory for the compressor industry from scratch. The idea of ​​doing an MBA in the country was born from the desire to learn more about the market and establish business partnerships with the locals.

“It was an excellent decision, mainly because the professors had a lot of academic and practical experience, and were up to date with the most recent cases in the most diverse industries”, says Luciano.

Diversity is another positive point cited by the engineer. "People were from areas as different as TV, fashion, technology and banks," he says. "There was a Chinese majority, but also colleagues from countries like India, Turkey, Germany, France and Italy."

As negative points, he cites the size of the classes, which reached 50 to 60 students per session, and the lack of partnerships between the university and the private sector to promote and retain talent.

After assessing the experience, the program is perfect for the executive who wants to develop activities in China and expand his networking with the Asian dragon, says Fernando.

Chinese head

The eastern country was also the choice of Fernando Oshiro, a 34-year-old from São Paulo, an engineer specialized in the automotive sector. Between 2010 and 2012, he attended the global executive MBA at the University of Southern California, in partnership with Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

As the majority are Chinese and speak Mandarin among themselves, you need to make an effort, actively seek contact, dig your space in the group

The biggest reward of his studies in Shanghai - “an incredibly cosmopolitan city” - was the expansion of his networking. “I made a lot of contacts, especially with Chinese,” says Fernando, who was impressed by the number of MBA colleagues who held high positions in large companies or were successful business owners.

The language was not a problem, he said, since most of his classmates spoke English. Still, it took a certain amount of waist to approach them. “As the majority are Chinese and speak Mandarin among themselves, you need to make an effort, actively seek contact, dig your space in the group”, he explains.

Offered in partnership with the University of Southern California, classes in Shanghai were very similar to those taught in Los Angeles. However, there was a concern to adapt and customize the explanations and cases for the Chinese reality.

According to the engineer, this contributed a lot to expand his view on the market and, above all, the Chinese mentality when doing business. "I realized, for example, that they are very pragmatic and make decisions very quickly," he says.

The distance from Brazil, both culturally and geographically, is one of the biggest challenges for those who do an MBA in China, according to Fernando. From his home in Sorocaba to his residence in Shanghai, he faced about 36 hours of travel. It is a long way away - which, for him, only increased the longing for Brazil.

Open doors

Having contact with the Chinese opens many professional doors anywhere. After all, which country does not negotiate with them?

Santa Catarina engineer Esequias Pereira Junior, 33, currently works for an appliance company in New Zealand. On your resume, China appears twice.

The first is a visit to Zhengzhou in 2005, “at a time when no one spoke about China”, to learn the local language. At Embraco, he worked as a Chinese, Portuguese and English interpreter. Years later, he would return as an expatriate engineer from the same company. Until 2014, Esequias lived in the country's capital.

He opted for the Peking University MBA because he intended to reconcile studies and work - and the program offered by the institution allowed part-time dedication.

The balance was an important increase from a cultural point of view. In the New Zealand multinational for which he works today, his experience with diversity makes all the difference. “I live with people from all continents, and I use a lot of what I learned in Beijing,” he says.

For Esequias, living and studying in the spotlight of the business world is a great investment. “Having contact with the Chinese opens many professional doors anywhere,” says the engineer. "After all, what country does not negotiate with them?"

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