A world without boundaries

Like a growing number of American business leaders, I recently had the occasion to visit China. Unlike others traveling there on business, however, I wasn’t on a mission to buy, sell or trade anything in this rapidly developing country.

President Spaniolo

I was there, instead, to help promote The University of Texas at Arlington’s growing presence in one of the most important markets in the world. I had been invited to deliver the commencement address for UT Arlington’s most recent graduating class of 60 students at the University of Science and Technology in Beijing. It was the second time during my tenure as president that I have had the opportunity to welcome our newest alumni in China.

UT Arlington has had a major presence in China since the College of Business established its first Executive MBA program there in 2002. We now have thriving EMBA programs at three major universities—the University of Science and Technology in Beijing, Tongji University in Shanghai and Xi’an Jiaotong University in Xi’an.

Other American universities have established academic programs in China, including several who have EMBA programs there. But we take great pride in the fact that UT Arlington has the largest and most prolific program for working professionals eager to earn an advanced business degree.

During the past eight years, more than 1,500 students in China have graduated from our program—all with UT Arlington degrees. It is this vast network of alumni working at some of the most prominent companies in China that helps make our EMBA program so desirable. Our alumni manage companies involved in critical fields like biotechnology, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, financial services and biomedical engineering. They are helping build the infrastructure of one of the largest and fastest-growing economies in the world.

One of the graduates at the commencement ceremony in Beijing was Hollis Zhao, who is general manager of Beijing Harley Davidson. Hollis started the entire operation for Harley Davidson there—when the motorcycle giant first established a presence in China—and still oversees much of the progress the company continues to make in that market.

I think Hollis’ experience is a remarkable story. Here is a Chinese citizen who oversees operations for an iconic American company and earns his master’s degree from a leading American university—without ever leaving China!

One of the most popular aspects of our program is that many of the Chinese EMBA students also have the opportunity to travel to our campus in Arlington for one year of study as part of their coursework. This adds incalculable richness and value to their academic experience, and they return to China with new ideas and perspectives.

The fact is that we live in a new world that’s interconnected and, increasingly, interdependent. The same sun that rises in the East also sets in the West. The factories of China need the markets of America, the ships of Europe and the materials of Africa. Wall Street needs the financial markets of Shanghai and Mumbai, of Shenzhen and Berlin. Ideas from Beijing need innovations from Arlington, and vice versa.

Whether our students graduate from our campus in downtown Arlington or the one in downtown Beijing, our mission is the same. Our goal is to help them learn to think creatively and critically. We want to ignite in them the passion to seek innovative solutions to complex problems. We want them to graduate from UT Arlington fully prepared to succeed in a marketplace that knows no boundaries.


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