Saturday, January 19, 2013

IIM-A students opt for Chinese

Future managers at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) are working hard to master one of world's most difficult languages — Mandarin. About 70 out of 380 second-year students have opted to learn Chinese as a foreign language this year to improve their job prospects. More students are opting for the language as an elective than other languages like French and German, which were considered 'cool' on the campus for long. The 25-session course had to be divided into two classes this year to accommodate students for the elective. The response to the course, which was formally introduced in 2009 with a class of 45 students, has been so overwhelming that the institute is now planning to roll out a course on 'Doing Business with China'. Sunil Chhipa, a student who enrolled himself for Business Chinese, said, "China is the second best option to work for me after India. I took up the elective based on student feedback from previous years. The course has been designed to give us a brief idea on the language, cultural differences, norms and business environment in China." "China is the big elephant and people have realized that they will have to deal with China now. So they want to equip themselves," said IIM-A communications professor MM Monippally. The institute has also roped in a professor from China's Tianjin University of Finance and Economics as visiting faculty. Liyan Zhang, who has just wrapped up her session for the year, said, "China's growth is one of the biggest global trends and the students will come across some aspect of the Chinese culture wherever they travel today. We offer a lot of information on how to do business with China through the elective." IIM-A introduces, continues or drops a course based on the demand for a particular elective and the changing business environment. The institute gives 50% weightage on grasping the language and the remaining weightage is for understanding the cultural differences.

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