Joint UB-HIT Master: A Survey of Graduate Students

Chapter
Part of the Progress in IS book series (PROIS)

Abstract

The joint master program between Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) in China and University of Bordeaux (UB) in France has lasted for 9 years. More than 100 students have graduated since 2006. This paper tentatively presents a survey of graduate students (98.0 % students covered). The main purpose of this survey is to evaluate the employment situation of those students after graduation, to detect the requirement of the human resource in IT area and provide some trends and reference for the future candidates. The results retrieved are sorted using some criteria and are analysed.

Keywords

Joint master program Graduate students survey Data analysis 

1 Introduction

University of Bordeaux (UB) and Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) have launched in 2006 a joint master program on enterprise engineering and software engineering [1]. The objective of this program is to provide for the students all over the world a high level education environment both in the domain of enterprise engineering and software engineering [2]. The duration of this joint master is 2 years. The first year’s courses in HIT put the emphasis on programming language, science and methodology and IT technique related to information system design and implementation, and the second year’s courses in UB focus on enterprise engineering, production management, enterprise modeling, project management and interoperability.

As the crisis of the US subprime mortgage spread widely, the enterprise all over the world faces many economic difficulties. The financial problems in enterprise lead to the pressure of employment. How to solve the problem of the graduate students’ employment becomes more and more urgent and difficult. In general, the government and society need the continuous development and creative enhancement. Moreover, through the analysis of graduate students, students can establish an objective for future employment and this will help to improve the study efficiency and develop a better learning plan in the university.

In this survey, 102 graduate students in total including 71 Chinese students and 31 international students have been taken into account. The main objective is to collect professional information of those graduate students and draw some general conclusions as the reference for the future students. To collect the information of graduate students, several communication techniques such as QQ, e-mail, WeChat, Facebook, LinkedIn and telephone call were used for contacting those students. The contact message sent to the students includes a proposed simple questionnaire.

After this brief introduction in Sect. 1, Sect. 2 will give the main results of this survey. Section 3 points out some limitation of this survey and analysis. Section 4 will discuss about the future trend and perspective of this joint master program. The final conclusion will be presented in Sect. 5.

2 Overview of the Results

Table 1 shows the distribution on the origin (Chinese, French and others) of the students. The responses of 100 students were obtained including 19 international students (others than China and France) including Eastern Europe, Turkish, India, and Southeast Asia. Figure 1 shows the distribution of various communication techniques used through the survey. It indicates that email providing the highest amount to the total (46 %, 46 data) is the main method to contact the students. QQ provides the second high amount to the total (27 %, 27 data) just because it is the most used messaging software in China. LinkedIn also provides the 18 % (18 data) as it is widely used professional network. The remaining data resources provide: 1 % (1 data, Facebook), 6 % (6 data, telephone call) and 2 % (2 data, WeChat). Part of the information on the employment and job position of some students were obtained indirectly (such as LinkedIn and Facebook). Also in some cases, one student can give information on several students he knows or in close contact with him.
Table 1

Data analysis sorted by nationality

 

Received number

Total number

Percentage over total

Chinese students

71

71

100

French students

10

10

100

Other foreign students

19

21

90.5

Total students

100

102

98.0

Fig. 1

Information extracted by communication technique

Based on the analysis of the data of the graduate students, we have defined some criteria in eight different categories as below. These different categories cover all the data of the graduate students. The working places depend largely on the nationality of the students that are mainly sorted by Chinese, French and others.
  • PhD study: This category includes the students who choose to study PhD or post Doctor in the colleges and universities.

  • Colleges and university: This category covers the most of the students after the PhD study. It concerns teacher, manager and secretary working on the education services and academic research in the colleges and universities.

  • Large companies: This category includes many kinds of the jobs but all focuses on the computer science and technology area. They are engineers, designers, managers and many different kinds of IT specialists in the international and big companies.

  • SME companies: This category covers the students who join in the small and medium size enterprise and work in the computer science and technology area.

  • Government employment: This category includes the workers who work for the civil service and it also includes the engineer and researchers who work in the government department.

  • Entrepreneurship: This category includes the students who create/start a business or other organization under their own responsibilities.

  • Non-IT companies: This category contains the students who choose a job which has no relationship with the computer science and technology.

  • Unstable job: This category includes the internship student before becoming the formal employee in the companies and institutes. It also contains the unemployed and home-based students who are still searching for jobs.

Table 2 shows the job distribution of Chinese students. An important part of Chinese students continue their PhD study (16.9 %) after the joint master program study. Most of PhD studies are abroad (11.3 %) (France, Norway, Canada, Australia). We also found that 47.9 % of students after graduation work in large companies and an important part of them are in China (33.8 %), probably because a higher employment requirement is needed for students to work abroad. Language is also a main obstacle to find job in Europe (especially for non-English speaking countries like France, Spain, Italy, etc.). It is to note that the number of students who work in large company is much higher than those on PhD study. This is probably because that most of large companies are globalized worldwide and the good English speaking ability of the graduate students as well as their international study experiences are appreciated. It is also to note that a larger part of students work in industry is also in line with the objective of the master: to educate high level professional for international working place environment. It is interesting to remark that 15.5 % students continue to work as teacher and researcher at colleges and university after their PhD study. In the same way we also make an analysis for the French students and the other international students, it is obvious that most of French students prefer to stay in France than in other countries and other international students prefer to work in France than in their domestic countries. However due to the weak number of students investigated, this fact cannot be considered as a generalized conclusion.
Table 2

Chinese students data analysis

 

China

Other counties

Total in both places

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

PhD study

4

5.6

8

11.3

12

16.9

Colleges and university

6

9.9

5

7.0

11

15.5

Large companies

24

33.8

10

14.1

34

47.9

SME companies

1

1.4

0

0

1

1.4

Government employment

3

4.2

0

0

3

4.2

Entrepreneurship

1

1.4

1

1.4

2

2.8

Non-IT companies

2

2.8

1

1.4

3

4.2

Unstable job

5

7.0

0

0

5

7.0

Figure 2 makes a summary of the classification analysis for all the students. We can find that large company is still the most favorite choice and PhD study is the second. It can also be observed from Fig. 3 that PhD students decrease in the middle of the period but increase again in the recent years. This is because that University of Bordeaux has signed recently an agreement with CSC (Chinese Scholarship Council) to provide grants for the joint master students to continue a PhD study. The number of the students who take PhD study influences the number of students working in colleges and universities. Large companies are always in the first place of the choice except in 2008. Entrepreneurship is found in the beginning of the period but almost disappear in the recent years. Non-IT job position can only be seen in 2009 and 2011.
Fig. 2

Distribution of total students in eight categories

Fig. 3

Evolution of total students in eight categories

3 Limitations of the Survey

In this survey, the main problem is how to get precise and latest information from graduate students. The information from LinkedIn is not directly gained from face-to-face communication, the credibility and perceived correctness is sometimes not as high as expected. In order to get the real information we need to privilege direct contact techniques instead of LinkedIn, although this will cost more time to set up.

This survey is just an “instant photo” of the students in January 2015, changes will happen after this survey. A periodical update of the results is needed. As more and more students participate in this joint master program, this survey also needs to be updated regularly.

The survey presented is only a first preliminary investigation; it also needs to be refined. For example it is more interesting to know how many HIT students work at technical level and how many HIT students work at the administration level in the IT Company. The same refinement would be needed on the research area of PhD students (IT related subject or others).

Last but not least, it will be interesting and important to compare the results of the survey with the employment situations of HIT students graduated from HIT master program. The results of this comparison will allow better knowing the advantages or shortcomings of the joint UB-HIT master program, and providing recommendations to strengthen strong points and improve the weaknesses in the future.

4 Discussion

The joint master program provides a good opportunity for Chinese students to go abroad to study. The study is not only concerned with scientific and technique aspects, but also cultural and personal enhancement building. Indeed both Chinese and Europeans need to better know and understand each other in order to better develop their professional collaboration based on mutual trust and benefits.

The survey presented in this paper not only provides the places and return of experiences for collaboration education, but also more possibilities of finding international professional job positions. Relatively, this survey shows a big potential requirement for IT business market in China. We are sure that after reading this paper, more and more students will participate in this joint master program. And also the survey would help them to better establish their objective of study, either to continue a PhD study in foreign countries or work in large international companies in computer science area.

5 Conclusion

In this paper, a preliminary survey on the employment situation of the joint UB-HIT master graduates was presented. Information on 98 % of graduated students is covered by the survey. It has been shown that most of all students found a job after graduation. The survey concludes that continuing a PhD in Europe (and other parts of the world) and working in big companies in China are the two main trends. Although there were some difficulties in getting direct contact with some students, we believe that this limitation doesn’t call in question the credibility of the results obtained.

References

  1. 1.
    Alix, T., Jia, Z. and Chen, D., Return on experience of a joint master programme on Enterprise Software and Production Systems, CEISIE’2009, Bordeaux, France, 25–26 May (2009)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Chen, D., Vallespir, B. and Bourrières, J.P., Research and education in Software Engineering and Production Systems: A double complementary perspectives, Third CEIS-SIOE, Dublin, Ireland, 6–7 February (2007)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IMSUniversity of BordeauxTalence CedexFrance

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