Mon, Sep 19, 2005 - Page 10 News List

MBA programs building momentum

JOB FAIR A university degree is becoming a weapon of choice for the next generation of Taiwan's entrepreneurs, a situation that campuses from all over hope to exploit

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Local students are keen to pursue Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs to increase competitiveness in the job market, school representatives said.

"We saw the most online pre-registrations for the MBA Fair this year from Taiwan and China, among other Asian countries," said Meredith Curtin Siegel, senior associate director of the MBA Tour, the organizer of a fair that was held at the Taipei International Convention Center on Saturday.

According to Siegel, Taiwanese students are serious in their studies and eager to pursue a master's degree to improve general management skills, considered to be one way to enhance a competitive edge in the job market.

Every year, Taiwan has around 300,000 college graduates, with 60 to 70 percent of that number joining the job market in the same year, according to the online 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行).

The one-day MBA Fair, which is now in its 14th year in Taiwan, attracted an estimated 650 potential applicants, Siegel said.

The fair offered students advice on the MBA programs at different schools, while workshops and panel discussions informed them about admission requirements and gave tips for making a successful application.

A total of 48 business schools from 14 countries participated in this year's fair, including the London Business School, the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley.

National Chengchi University was the only Taiwanese university represented at the fair, and all nine staff manning its booth were busy answering queries from students.

"The MBA demand at our school has been increasing every year," said Jane Ko (柯世雯), public relations officer for the university's international programs.

According to Ko, the university's College of Commerce received 87 applications this year for its International MBA program from local students, up from 69 last year. The program has been running since 2001.

She added that as overseas business schools were seeing a slight decrease in MBA applications in recent years, National Chengchi University was now gearing up to attract more Asian students and therefore open up more chances for local students to study abroad.

However, Ko was confident that the program would remain competitive for locals, being the nation's first accredited MBA program taught entirely in English.

With half of the 40 students admitted every year from overseas, local students are able to improve their English ability and understanding of different cultures, which is a plus in the business world, she said.

According to a survey by 104 Job Bank, a little more than half of the positions offered by Taiwanese companies require some foreign language ability, and almost always English. English ability is especially important in the high-tech and financial sectors, the survey said.

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