The 21st edition of 《Qunxian》，
the EMBA of Xiamen University
For the 15th anniversary special interview
Interviewee: Professor Alain Dumont
Interview venue: “QunXian” classroom
Since formal establishment in 2002, the EMBA of Xiamen University has reached its 15th anniversary and attained a series of brilliant achievements. For the purpose of reviewing knowledge-imparting history and sharing instructional experience, as well as acclaiming the renowned educators and excellent alumni, in order to develop “second curve” of Xiamen University EMBA which aims for providing top-notched education to Chinese entrepreneurs and creating new business management exemplar for a better future, we are sincerely inviting renowned educators as well as the enrolled students and the graduated alumni from Xiamen University EMBA for an interview which shall be compiled and published in “QunXian” (literally it means “Experts in Hall of Fame”) for publicity.
"Qunxian" is an internally circulated journal which has been issued for 20 times, it serves to share information amongst more than 7,000 EMBA alumni from Xiamen University. As a high-tier, reader-oriented and premium-quality platform for internal communication, we primarily introduce the teachers, alumni, courses and development of our program to the alumni and the societal guests who pay attention to the EMBA of Xiamen University.
“Real Case, Real Ambition”
interview Professor Alain Dumont
Interviewer: Thank you, Professor Dumont! You teach the global consulting project course and from your experience, what kind of role or what is the significance of this course to the EMBA students, what will they benefit from the course?
Prof. Alain Dumont:Well, the main benefits for the students is to apply all the knowledge that they have been receiving during their education to practice the case. In fact, we play like a game, we have one student who is a volunteer, with the company Saonon, who will present to offer their issues to the class, and the class will be working as their consultants to solve the issue of the company. It is a real business project. We have a client Mr.Shao and we have 45 consultants, working under my supervision, trying to help his company. So it’s a real case, it’s a real company. And the Saonon company has a real ambition to grow their business overseas. The students will carry out surveys, research and they will come up with recommendations. The end of the project, is in March. Over four months, the students will be doing research under my supervision and they will present their recommendations to the client company in March 2018.
We are now breaking new grounds in Xiamen University, because it’s a new thing, I have been doing this for many years with the American students in the Tulane University.
So based on my experience, I can say it’s a win-win situation. It’s a win situation for the client, because they have a new perspective for their issue and it’s a win situation for the students, because they utilize all the knowledge they have received in their previous courses. The main challenge of the company is that they want to expand its business overseas. The course they have received preciously two months ago was International Strategy. So I’m going to see how well they can utilize the concept. It’s moving from academic to practice.
Another very important benefit for the students is to prepare their recommendations.It's a communication process. They will present their findings and recommendations to the CEO of the company, to directors of the company, they will help to write report before the presentation. I can tell you that it is perceived by the students as a challenge, but at the end of the process, they are very happy.
The course is using an international perspective in the consulting project case. It is experimenting the consulting procedure for a global issue.
Interviewer: About the international perspective, from your experience, how should the students have this kind of awareness, what kind of international perspective they should have in order to do their business well in the future?
Prof. Alain Dumont: First, they have known the course two month ago. This is the first phase of the course. Second, they will have to do research specific to this case. Afterwards, they will have to find a proper source of information,country by country to understand the customers,the competition, the relations and so forth.
The global perspective is this company today focus mostly on the domestic market plus on the Asian market and now they want to enter Europe and the US to expand their business globally. And they are facing global competitors, so they will be engaging in the global game.
Interviewer: So for Chinese EMBA students, if they want to make their ways to the US market, what kind of quality and what kind of traits do they need to be prepare for the ambition?
Prof. Alain Dumont: The qualified manager should have to be open minded and fluently English, it does help, they should be capable to create teams around them with good knowledge about the country they are targeting and they should have competitive products.
Interviewer: From your perspective, compared with the International EMBA students and the Chinese EMBA students. What’s the gap? Are there any areas that Chinese EMBA students should improve?
Prof. Alain Dumont: I’ve taught in China previously, so I can tell you that there is no intellectual gap between Chinese and American students. But American EMBA students speak English, they belong to the No.1 economy in the world and have a longer experience of international markets.
To enter foreign markets, you have to be smart and know a few rules. The Chinese EMBA students that I know are fantastic challengers. China is the second largest economy in the world. In many fields, China is very competitive, and China has demonstrated in many industries that it is capable to become a global player. If you want to talk about weakness and strength of the Chinese students, I would say that they have to improve their English and learn the rules of global competition. But they are eager to fight, they want to conquer new markets, when you’re NO.2, you want to become NO.1. That’s a good thing. The Chinese students are willing to learn. This is my opinion and I am quite optimistic about their success.
Interviewer: For the course style，it is a serious game, will you have particular adaptation of some course elements for the Chinese students?
Prof. Alain Dumont: Yes, the only adaptation in this project is the company. The company we have chosen is run by one of the students. In the US and Europe, the company is usually not from the students. My ideal company would be from outside the group of students. But it’s the first time. We spent a whole day with Mr.Shao and came up with well-designed courses. It will work.
Interviewer: What is your expectations for Xiamen University?
Prof. Alain Dumont: Well, I’ve been teaching in China as I said before. But it was more like classical teaching, giving lectures. This is a different type of relationship here and I’m eager to see how it works. I’ll do my best.