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Otago Business School executive programmes business development manager Dan Prain said yesterday the initiative involving the degree - taught in the Chinese language - "should be celebrated" by the university and Dunedin itself.
"It’s hugely important."
Launching the degree successfully last month had also avoided the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions which prevented the arrival of overseas students who wished to study in Dunedin and New Zealand, he said.
The Otago Online MBA is ranked 10th in the world in 2020 QS World University Rankings.
Otago’s existing high-ranked English language online MBA course took about two and a-half years of part-time study to complete and usually attracted 50 students a year.
The first intake of 25 Chinese students, each paying the $57,000 international overall course fee, had begun their studies at the start of last month, and a further intake of 25 students would begin next February.
In a full calendar year the Chinese increase would result in a doubling of the overall online intake, he said.
In partnership with Beacon Education, a Chinese postgraduate education firm, the Otago programme would involve Chinese students learning from bilingual lecturers based around the world, including at Otago.
Mr Prain said Otago was the first non-Chinese university to offer a Chinese language MBA in China.
This was a "serious move" by Otago, and it immediately overcame the coronavirus lockdown restrictions and uncertainty, giving the university "25 new international students on board without the need for student visas or travel".
Otago provided the content and the teaching for the programme, he said.