Educating Entrepreneurial Talent for Tomorrow

AACSB has a conversation with Yingyi Qian, dean and professor at Tsingua University of Economics & Management about the importance of fostering entrepreneurial spirit in students, and how best to prepare them for the future of business.


Dan LeClair: [00:18] I'm going to start by saying thank you. Not only for the conversation we'll have, but for more than a decade helping lead AACSB.

Yingyi Qian: [00:26] Why it's my pleasure and my honor to serve on the board of AACSB and in several committees in the last decade.

LeClair: [00:35] Well, it's provided us at AACSB the opportunity to follow, to learn about the work at Tsinghua University, the School of Economics and Management. It's been a great learning experience and a pleasure to track what's happening.

[00:52] One of the things I've been particularly curious about, and our viewers will be is is your work with x-labs. Perhaps, you can give us a background about the motivations. Then, tell us a little bit about your work with x-labs.

Qian: [01:05] I have the opportunity to serve as the dean of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University for the last 12 years. It's a challenging job, but it's very rewarding, as well. Business education evolved over the last 100 years. From a narrow focus on business to a more focus on management.

[01:30] In the last few years, we notices a new trend or new focus on entrepreneurship. Exactly five years ago April, we launched we call it a educational platform for creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We gave the name "Tsinghua x-lab." In the last five years, this Tsinghua x-lab developed very, very fast, and to some extent beyond our original expectation. It is an educational platform. We are an educational institution. It's not an incubator or something like that. We focus on education. This Tsinghua x-lab is in collaboration with 15 other Tsinghua's schools.

[02:28] Most of them are engineer, science, engineering. Also include arts and design, law school, public policy. We are the business school but we bring together all the other 15 schools. It's open all the Tsinghua students, undergraduate, graduate, even some faculty members as mentors.

LeClair: [02:51] Tell me about outcomes. It's been five years. What kinds of outcomes have you seen from this work with x-lab?

Qian: [02:58] In addition for their over 10,000 students taking courses with us, we also have—this is one of the main focus—to train students in teamwork. So far for the last five years, we already trained 1,400 teams. Each team may consist about three to six students. Some of them MBA students, some are design students, some are engineers.

[03:27] We put them together. Some are the PhD students. Some of them are actually able to raise some funds. This is not all per person. Somehow, some of the teams attracted some angel investments about in total more than 400 million USD. That's not our goal. Our goal is to educate talents.

[03:53] We hope they can eventually benefit from this education.

Filmed April 2018 at ICAM in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.