A group photo of Carlson School alumni during a visit to China.

School Leaders Reignite Relationships in China, South Korea

Friday, November 10, 2023

A delegation of leadership from the Carlson School of Management visited three cities in Asia over nine days to reestablish that the Carlson School remains committed to impacting business education on a global scale.

The delegation, led by Dean Jamie Prenkert and joined by representatives from the Carlson Global Institute, and Institutional Advancement included visits to Shanghai and Guangzhou in China and Seoul, South Korea.

The sprawling itinerary included welcoming new cohorts of students for the Medical Industry MBA (MIMBA) and China Executive MBA (CHEMBA) programs, engaging with hundreds of alumni, committing to and expanding global partnerships, and further committing to the Carlson School’s role as a global leader in business education.

Welcoming New Students

The trip began with the Carlson School welcoming its fourth cohort of Medical Industry MBA (MIMBA) students in Shanghai. This unique degree goes beyond a traditional MBA curriculum to include knowledge and practical skills specific to the management of the medical industry.

“I was struck by the new students’ passion and commitment to a global healthcare perspective,” says Steve Parente, associate dean of global initiatives and MIMBA academic director.

The following week, school leaders were in Guangzhou to welcome its 22nd cohort of China Executive MBA (CHEMBA) students. This degree represents a longstanding partnership between the Carlson School and Lingnan College of Sun Yat-sen University. The degree is co-taught by faculty from both schools and helps give students a globalized business view.

“CHEMBA is a unique program that feels more like a family,” says Susie Yu, executive director of the program. “This is reflected in the 50 alumni who attended the new student inauguration to welcome them into the CHEMBA family.” One of the hallmarks of CHEMBA is its strong alumni network. During the inauguration ceremony, leadership of the CHEMBA Alumni Association/University of Minnesota Alumni Association Guangzhou transitioned from Simon Hu, ’09 MBA, to Raymond Liang, ’16 MBA, and Atwood Li, ’15 MBA.

Engaging Alumni

Carlson School Dean Jamie Prenkert meets with alumni in Asia.

Alumni engagement was a significant thread throughout the entire visit. In about one week, hundreds of Carlson School alumni across the three cities had the opportunity to meet with school leadership and share their experiences.

In Shanghai, the school held a reception for locally based alumni. This event, attended by more than 100 graduates, was hosted by Jeff Yuan, ’98 MBA, a partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Alumni from all degree programs were able to reconnect with each other and school leaders throughout the night.

While in Guangzhou, the Carlson School delegation visited the businesses of two CHEMBA students. The first was the Guangzhou United Family Hospital, where they met Chief Pediatrician Kelly Xia, ’18 MBA, for a tour of the medical facility that is a leader in many areas of Chinese healthcare. They followed that with a tour of Midea, one of the world’s largest producers of major appliances, led by Marianna Zhao ’13 MBA, chief talent officer and director of human resources. Throughout both tours, Xia and Zhao shared how their CHEMBA degrees prepared them to deliver in their current leadership roles in their organizations.

Finally, in Seoul, the Carlson School leaders hosted events for local alumni to meet with Prenkert, who became dean in July. During these meetings, Prenkert heard directly from them about the value of their Carlson School education and the many ways they were applying their skills in their current roles. Throughout the visit, it continued to be clear that nearly anywhere you go in the world, a network of Carlson School alumni will be there to greet you. 

Committed Partnerships

Carlson School Dean Jamie Prenkert stands with Carlson School staff members in front of the Shanghai skyline.

The Carlson School has had numerous partnerships across Asia for many decades. One of these long-standing partnerships is with Lingnan College of Sun Yat-sen University as the academic delivery partner of the China Executive MBA (CHEMBA) program. During the visit, Prenkert met with academic leadership to commit to the continued partnership of this academic program. 

In addition to existing partnerships, the school’s leadership explored potential new opportunities for collaboration. One visit featured the leadership of the China European International Business School (CEIBS). This visit was facilitated by Dingbo Xu, ’96 PhD, and Yajin Wang, ’15 PhD. Another visit was to TusPark Shanghai, a global science park that specializes in business development and innovation about potential partnerships.

Carlson’s Global Impact

One of the hallmarks of the Carlson School is its commitment to global business education. This is reflected in many ways, including the diversity of its students, the research of its faculty, and the school’s commitment for all graduates to have an international experience. The Carlson Global Institute is uniquely positioned in the school to help facilitate international experiences and partnerships.

The October visit to China and South Korea was one of the first major global visits by Carlson School leadership since 2020. In many ways, it signals to the world that the Carlson School remains committed to impacting business education on a global scale.