Woodbury University, Mercedes-Benz Launch Third Cohort of Global MBA Program
Partnership with Peking University and Free University of Berlin Offers Luxury Automaker’s Management, Dealers, Affiliates Truly Global Classroom
When 36 executives from Mercedes-Benz meet at Los Angeles-based Woodbury University this fall for a hands-on business simulation, they’ll be nearing completion of an innovative MBA program for Mercedes-Benz executives – most of them Chinese nationals – that blends distance learning with face-to-face seminars on three continents.
The most recent cohort joins two previous classes of 35 and 41 executives at Carl Benz Academy, opened in 2011 in partnership with Peking University, Woodbury University’s School of Business and The Free University of Berlin. The academy offers select mid- to upper-level accounting, human resources, marketing and sales professionals, and upper managers at Mercedes-Benz dealerships and affiliated businesses the opportunity to earn an MBA degree. In the process, they acquire the marketing, leadership, management, personal and functional skills Mercedes-Benz believes they need to continue to grow the luxury automobile brand in the world’s three largest automobile markets: China, the United States and Germany.
The program educates Mercedes-Benz employees from all three countries about the company culture and management style, although much of the focus has been on the company’s newest market, China. “In 2009, China sold more automobiles than any other country in the world,” said Christian Schroeter, Senior Manager of Sales and Services at Mercedes Benz (China) Ltd. “To be successful in China, Mercedes-Benz must attract and retain qualified employees who can sustain the values that define the Mercedes-Benz brand worldwide. This program gives our employees and our company a tremendous advantage.”
Unlike many executive MBA programs, where students remain in one place throughout their studies, Carl Benz Academy students complete 70 percent of their coursework online and then rotate to the other two partner universities twice over a two-year period. By the time they receive a diploma, students will have completed coursework in marketing, leadership, management, and personal and functional skills, according to Andre van Niekerk, Ph.D., dean of the School of Business at Woodbury University.
“Mercedes-Benz understands that the marketplace for luxury products is growing dramatically, particularly in China,” van Niekerk said. “The Carl Benz Academy partnership is all about delivering a custom curriculum that provides current and future Mercedes-Benz leaders with an in-depth understanding of the nature of these emerging global markets and the opportunities they present.”