UNC’s New EMBA With Tsinghua In China

The University of North Carolina and Tsinghua University said today (Jan. 15) that they have launched a dual-degree Executive MBA (EMBA) program in China that fuses the disciplines of business and engineering.

UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and Tsinghua’s Department of Industrial Engineering created the Global Supply Chain Leaders Program to meet the growing need in China for executives with both leadership skills and technical knowledge.

Graduates will receive a master of business administration (MBA) from UNC and a master of engineering management (MEM) from Tsinghua.


The UNC-Tsinghua dual-degree program is the only partnership of its kind between a top Chinese industrial engineering department and a top U.S. business school.

“We are honored to collaborate with Tsinghua University, one of China’s most prestigious universities, to offer a new model for preparing executives in China to lead their global businesses,” said James W. Dean Jr., dean of UNC Kenan-Flagler, in a statement.  “We are developing a deeper understanding of how business is conducted in each other’s country, and our universities, our citizens and our economies will benefit from our work together.”

“China is the top manufacturer in the world, which requires many business leaders with global views, innovative thinking, and solid management theories and methods,” said Professor Zheng Li, director of the Department of Industrial Engineering of Tsinghua University. “This program will answer those needs.”


The first class of 24 executives from state-owned enterprises and private companies in 15 cities began their studies in October. They have an average of 19 years of work experience and their average age is 41.

One-third of the business classes will be taught in Beijing and two-thirds will be taught in Chapel Hill. At Tsinghua, classes meet once a month, Friday to Sunday. At UNC, the executives will attend two, 16-day sessions in Chapel Hill. The program also will include global residencies at logistics hubs in the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands and the United States. Tuition for the 20-month program is $60,000, which does not cover residency costs.

“We value our strong and long partnership with Tsinghua University and the Department of Industrial Engineering” said Jayashankar M. Swaminathan, associate dean of the UNC Tsinghua EMBA Program and the GlaxoSmithKline Distinguished Professor of Operations at UNC Kenan-Flagler. 

The program grew out of the research collaboration between UNC professor Noel Greis and Tsinghua professor Cai Linning. They co-founded the UNC-Tsinghua Center for Logistics and Enterprise Development in 2007. As China continued to undergo enormous economic advancements, the two universities recognized the need for a dual-degree program.

“The partnership increases the globalization of UNC Kenan-Flagler. Our students and faculty live and work in a global economy,” said Swaminathan in a statement. “This program gives us a way to develop an understanding of the Chinese marketplace from the inside, and a chance to engage with Chinese managers and learn about state-owned enterprises directly. Many multinational firms setting up operations in China also need a strong managerial talent pool that our program will help develop. China is not finished changing, and this is an exciting time to offer a program that meets a market need there.”

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