East Meets West: A 15-Year Relationship Between Stevens, CUFE Emphasizes Academic Excellence, Student Centricity
Shared Benefits of Partnership Go Far Beyond Classrooms in Hoboken and Beijing
The Stevens Institute of Technology master’s degree in Enterprise Project Management is highly regarded in industry for its emphasis on teaching new and emerging tools that help managers direct increasingly complex project portfolios.
And it’s highly regarded internationally, as well.
This spring, the 12th cohort of students from Central University of Finance and Economics, in China, completed graduate degrees in EPM from the School of Business at Stevens. The 48 Beijing graduates — along with 10 more who started the program in China before completing the degrees at Stevens’ Hoboken, NJ, campus — are part of a relationship between CUFE and Stevens that goes back some 15 years.
Beyond the academic and professional value of the EPM program, the attention Stevens offers partner universities is what’s helped this program thrive, said Dr. Junhua Chen, associate dean of the School of Management Science & Engineering at CUFE. Dr. Chen called the partnership “one of the most successful master’s programs of Sino-foreign cooperation in China.”
“The long-term cooperation between the management teams from both sides has enabled us to explore relatively efficient methods in program enrollment, interview, course registration, tuition management and student management,” Dr. Chen said. “The team at Stevens — Dean Gregory Prastacos, Brian Rothschild, and professors Thomas Lechler and Zvi Aronson — all have made great efforts to contribute to our great international cooperation.”
Rothschild, director of graduate management programs at Stevens — including the EPM degree — said the program’s accreditations, along with its technology emphasis, make it an attractive option for CUFE students. In particular, the program’s accreditation from the Project Management Institute’s Global Accreditation Center is unique; Stevens is the only New York City-area university to offer a PMI-accredited master’s degree.
“PMI is the gold standard for anyone interested in a career in project management,” Rothschild said. “Our program is intended for project managers seeking this important credential — but it also is ideal for professionals and aspiring leaders who understand that work has become more project-based, and who want to learn the skills required to excel in this changing environment.”
And it’s not only CUFE students who benefit from partnerships like the one the university enjoys with Stevens. For faculty, the chance to teach in a foreign country can help them reflect on their techniques and methods.
Dr. Aronson, an affiliate associate professor of management at Stevens, has regularly taught a project leadership class at CUFE during the summer, and said the experience has sharpened his cultural awareness. One of the experiential learning components of his course involves groups of six students dividing into three leaders and three subordinates. The exercise is intended to help leaders adjust their styles based on the features of unique tasks and their subordinates’ different talents.
“When I run this simulation in the U.S., each leader works individually, developing a meeting plan on how to manage each of the unique subordinates, and implementing her plan during the interaction,” Dr. Aronson said. “I found it striking that when I run this exercise in Beijing, the leaders get together and jointly develop and execute a strategy to work with their reports. The impact of their culture on how the students collaborate is something I see each year.”
Rothschild called Dr. Chen an excellent partner in administering the EPM program.
“Student centricity is a core value at Stevens, and Dr. Chen embodies that same philosophy at CUFE,” Rothschild said. “He knows each of his students, and he’s in regular contact with them and me about their experiences and ways he can contribute. Administering a program on two continents isn’t without its challenges, but CUFE is a truly excellent partner in every respect.”
A matter of values, culture
Dr. Chen called Rothschild a friend who “works efficiently, cares about our students very much and is deeply respected by the students of Beijing program.”
“For our students who enroll in this program, my hope is that they will not only acquire a specific knowledge base, but also integrate and feel the values and culture of Stevens and the business school,” he said.
The collaboration on the EPM program isn’t the only joint success between CUFE and the School of Business. In May, CUFE hosted the New Technologies, New Economics Conference alongside Stevens, with School of Business faculty sharing research insights in A.I., blockchain, and other new technologies as they apply to pricing, regulation and operations.
“Like Stevens, CUFE’s highest mission is the pursuit of innovation,” said Dr. Prastacos. “Each time I work with Dr. Chen, I am grateful to have a partner whose goals so closely align with our own.”