Duke Kunshan University – a partnership between Duke University (USA) and Wuhan University (China) – offers a Master of Management Studies (MMS) program aimed at new college graduates and young professionals. The unique 10-month program offers an opportunity for international students to live and study on two campuses in two countries and experience American and Chinese culture through various social and career engagement activities. Upon graduation, students receive a master’s degree from Duke University, and become alumni of both Duke University and Duke Kunshan University.
Sameer Kamat, founder of MBA Crystal Ball, interviewed the official and student representatives of the program to know more about the course, financial aid / scholarships, job opportunities and life as an international student.
Ann Li is the Associate Director of Master of Management Studies: Duke Kunshan program. She joined the program back in 2014 bringing over 10 years’ experience in education and intercultural communications.
The Master of Management Studies: Duke Kunshan University (MMS: DKU program) is a 10-month pre-experience graduate business program. It provides a comprehensive and systematic business training for students of different academic backgrounds, who generally have less than 2 years’ full-time work experience.
What’s unique about the program is its two-campus setup, which allows students to study and live in two countries during the program. Students start in July at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in the US, and then transition to the Duke Kunshan campus — Duke’s campus in China, located right outside Shanghai — in early January the following year, to continue studies until graduation in late May. Students receive a Master of Management Studies degree from Duke University.
Introduced in the summer of 2014, the MMS: DKU program was designed to respond to the increasing demands from international companies for business talents with global mindsets. We are living in a world where cross-border transactions and interactions are part of day-to-day life. To succeed in the global business environment, the ability to function in and adapt to different cultures and styles is as important as business knowledge and skills.
The United States and China are two of the most impactful economies in the world. With this program, students are immersed in both US and Chinese cultures; they learn, witness and experience their dynamic happenings first-hand, and connect with local alumni and business contacts in both regions. These experiences position them for success in any part of the world.
It’s worth mentioning that the curriculum of MMS: DKU follows the rigorous business curriculum established by Fuqua, and the admissions process is also managed by Fuqua’s admissions office.
What’s more, the Fuqua School of Business flies over its world-class faculty to teach when students are at Duke Kunshan. As a result, students get a Duke-quality education no matter where they are. With MMS: DKU, students get a unique Duke plus China experience, which without question helps them stand out in the global talent market.
Students gain from the global exposure and cultural immersion derived from studying in both the US and China. In both countries, students embed themselves within the campus environments, local communities and networks. When at Fuqua, students have opportunities to meet and connect with the MBA students who are taking courses in the same building as they are.
They can join a variety of clubs in the MBA student community, participate in the many university events, and further network with Fuquans at Fuqua Friday, a weekly school-wide social event. Students also get to experience the Duke culture by participating in the basketball camp-out and other renowned traditions.
While they are in China, students soon find themselves socializing with members of other DKU graduate programs and networking with both Duke and Duke Kunshan alumni in the region. Duke’s alumni networks are one of the most passionate and supportive to be found, and particularly so in China.
Students also have opportunities to learn about businesses in the region through corporate visits, guest speakers, and mini-consulting projects where they work in teams to solve real-world business challenges for real clients, with coaching from both strategy and communications faculty. In addition, the program organizes cultural activities and offers free Chinese courses to help students learn about the Chinese language and culture.
Both MMS: Foundations of Business (MMS: FOB) and MMS: DKU are parts of Fuqua’s MMS program.
In the latest QS MiM Program Rankings 2018, Fuqua MMS is ranked as #2 in the United States. This accolade speaks to the rigor of the program.
Typical career tracks of MMS graduates include consulting, finance and marketing. Some students choose to start their own businesses, including one of our Indian graduates from the Class of 2017. We see more and more students find employment with technology companies, too.
Many of our graduates find a way to combine their undergraduate studies with the business skills they have acquired, discovering a unique role in the market. For example, one of the MMS: DKU graduates whose undergraduate degree was in information technology is now behind the business strategy of Microsoft in China.
In just the four years since the MMS: DKU program was launched, companies representing a host of different countries and industries have recruited our students including McKinsey, Bain, J.P. Morgan, Deloitte, Microsoft, IBM, P&G and Citi, among others.
Last year,a new visa policy was introduced that allows international graduates from universities both in and outside China to apply for Chinese work visas (previously, there was a minimum two-year work experience requirement). This is a new policy, and we are excited at the opportunity this provides for our international graduates who may be interested in finding employment in China.
Russell is Director of Global Recruitment at Duke Kunshan University. Before joining Duke Kunshan, he was Associate Director of Admissions at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business for over a decade.
The following documents are required to complete an application to the MMS program at Duke-Kunshan University:
Applicants for whom English is a second language are encouraged to submit a score from an English proficiency test (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE) but these scores are not required to complete an application. We will evaluate a candidate’s English proficiency through the application materials and the interview.
Also, please note we don’t have a minimum score requirement for the GPA or GMAT/GRE test score.We take a holistic approach in the evaluation process and review all aspects of an applicant’s profile including academics, work experience and/or internships, leadership and involvement, essays and recommendations. A higher score may help but we look for more beyond the scores.
The program tuition for the year 2018-2019 is 54,060 USD. We have generous scholarships available for international students. In the past four years, most international students received scholarships equaling about 25%-75% of the total tuition, with a select few receiving full tuition scholarships.
The scholarships are merit-based and awarded based on a candidate’s overall profile. There is no separate scholarship application. All applicants are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships after submission of the application.
Rahul Nayak is a current MMS: Duke Kunshan student. He held a bachelor of engineering degree in chemical engineering from Mumbai University, Thadomal Shahani Engineering College, and graduated with first class honors.
I completed my undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering from Mumbai University in 2015. After graduating, I started working for my family’s business, where we manufacture Adhesives and Plasticizers. At first, I worked as a Supply Chain & Operations Manager and then moved on to a role as an International Development Strategist, where I was responsible for handling our company’s exports.
After completing the MMS program, I plan to use these skills to work on expanding the family business. I also plan to start my own e-commerce firm.
Initially I was very keen on doing an MBA but I did not have the experience to go to a top business school. I started looking at the Master’s in Management programs at different universities around the world. After looking at the various universities and schools offering business programs, I realized that to move to the next level professionally and personally, I desired a truly global experience.
I narrowed it down to two options: the Global MiM program at LSE and the MMS: DKU program at Duke University. Ultimately I selected the DKU program because this was the only one that offered time in the two biggest economies of the world. I was also especially interested in expanding my network and, after speaking to a number of individuals, I realized that Fuqua’s network is really extensive.
I had never lived outside my home, so to move to another country, twice, was something that I was a little worried about. However, my experience throughout this program has truly been enriching.
I felt both campuses offer a completely different experience. The campus in Durham is vast and expansive. I spent hours walking around, as this was significantly different from the singular building campus where I studied for four years during my undergraduate program.
When I walked the halls of the Fuqua School of Business, I realized how lucky I was to be here. I interacted with many students from different nationalities, and I feel like I probably will end up having at least one friend on every continent, if not in every country of the world.
Post-December, I moved to the campus in Kunshan. I was told by a lot of professors about how beautiful the campus is in Kunshan, and you really have to see it to believe it. My experience here has been very intimate as the campus is smaller but still has top-notch facilities. I got to know my classmates a lot more and my interaction with Chinese students increased even more. I have travelled around China during my breaks.
I feel like, in terms of infrastructure and technology, China is a lot more developed than most Western countries, including the US. Even the local people treat internationals really well, as compared to the US. This might be because the locals in China don’t see a lot of internationals and, just like in India, they go out of their way to help.
One of the biggest selling points of the Fuqua School of Business is its emphasis on Team Fuqua. Teamwork is extremely important, as during the entire program students will be spending most of their time with their team. This really helps us develop an understanding of the different personalities that are brought together.
When I first began working with my team, I had a really difficult time coping with the personality of one of my teammates. I am generally someone who likes to make decisions with the consensus of the team. This person, however, would just take the lead and not allow anyone else to speak. What actually bothered me most was that none of my other teammates seemed to have a problem with this, because he was almost always right.
All everyone cared about was finishing the task efficiently, and this person was mostly right. I argued constantly, trying to figure out if there was any other way we could go about this same question, but we always ended up going with what this person had to say.
Eventually, I decided that it was not worth arguing and to just go along with the flow. Surprisingly, after a few days, we started to discuss the questions and seek each other’s opinions more. I realized that maybe I had been too aggressive initially and found that taking a step back actually got me what I wanted. This experience really changed my perspective, as I learned how to deal with people without a hands-on approach, which I had always been used to.
The fact that you get an opportunity to study in the two most powerful countries in the world — the US and China — is reason enough to choose the MMS: DKU program.
This program has provided the chance to network with some really bright minds during my time here, and Fuqua’s network already has helped me get in touch with professionals from many different walks of life, and will continue to throughout my career.
I really like the way the program has been structured. The intensiveness of courses during the relatively short period of 10months really helps us young professionals push ourselves to our limits.
One recommendation I would make has to do with our tenure in China. In Kunshan, we have one class every two weeks followed by a week-long break. Although this gives us a great opportunity to travel, I think maybe some workshops could be offered during that break period.
The reason is that I noticed many important workshops are conducted when the course is going on, and a lot of students don’t have time to take advantage of those workshops because we have classes and cases every day.
The Career Management Center really helps a lot. Often, a problem faced by students in India is that we don’t really know what steps we need to take in our future career life. This is where the CMC comes in. The professional advisors there talked me through various things I might want to do as I come closer to the next step in my career trajectory.
At the end of the day, these guys play a most important role, because the whole point of studying at a top graduate school is to be properly prepared to get a meaningful job.