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Dania Academy

Danish business academy takes on cultural challenges in search for Chinese partners


Political agreement paved the way for Chinese partnerships
Danish Business Academies were officially recognised by the Chinese Government in spring 2017 which opened up new possibilities for partnerships between Chinese and Danish higher education institutions. This was the opportunity that Dania Academy had been waiting for. Lise Bøgild-Jakobsen, International Director at Dania Academy, explains: “If you are not accepted by the Chinese Government as a high-quality institution of education, it becomes really difficult to navigate in China. Even though you are an accepted educational institution in Denmark, you cannot generate partnerships with Chinese institutions without the acknowledgement of the Chinese Government”.

Quality above quantity: scouting for the right partnerships
Dania Academy was looking to find a Chinese partner institution for their Hospitality and Tourism Management Programme. The local knowledge of ICDK Shanghai’s consultants made it possible to identify the right fit for Dania Academy, who was not looking for just any partner: “We are a small institution with approximately 3,500 Danish students and 320 internationals, so we did not need numerous partnerships. As a small institution, the overall aim was more about identifying the right partner. ICDK really did a great job narrowing down possible partners, identifying these and setting up meetings. This would have been difficult, not to say impossible, to do on our own”  Lise explains.

Cultural differences called for collaboration with ICDK Shanghai
From their colleagues at Dania Games, who worked with ICDK Shanghai in spring 2017, Dania Academy knew the advantage of being represented by official channels when trying to reach Chinese partners. In 2017, Dania Games’ collaboration with ICDK resulted in a project-based collaboration agreement with ShanghaiTech University and its school of Entrepreneurship and Management, which Dania wanted to formalise in an agreement, but this had been difficult. Dania asked ICDK for assistance. Lise describes the process as follows: “We had already been communicating with some of the assistant professors at ShanghaiTech ourselves, but none of them would take lead on our case. ICDK did some digging and discovered that our former contact-person was no longer with ShanghaiTech. ICDK quickly arranged a meeting with the new dean, which just shows how important it is to be supported by an official player as ICDK when trying to land agreements with Chinese partners. Once we were at the meeting, ShanghaiTech was addressing me, not ICDK, and were really eager to re-establish our collaboration”.

Outcomes of Dania Academy’s collaboration with ICDK
Dania Academy visited Shanghai and Beijing from 29 January to 3 February 2018. The outcomes of this trip included: negotiating agreements with Tianhua College, Shanghai Normal University, concerning its Hospitality and Tourism Management programme; negotiating collaboration agreement with ShanghaiTech and plans to have a Summer School up and running in summer 2018; new agreement with Andersen Paradise in Shanghai concerning possible internships for Dania students. Dania Academy then revisited Shanghai from 2 April to 4 April 2018, where they signed MOU's with both Andersen Paradise and Tianhua College, Shanghai Normal University. About these outcomes, Lise says: “Working with ICDK Shanghai has fully lived up to our expectations, if not more. We had hoped to be able to finalise agreements some time during 2018, but the fact that we are already signing contractual agreements, by far exceeds our expectations”.

This is what we did for Dania Academy

  • Researched and produced a list of possible partners
  • Set up and facilitated meetings
  • Arranged a 5-days programme to Shanghai and Beijing to meet with potential partners in January/February 2018.

Published: April 2018