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Engaging the Chinese: Applications of Sun Tze's Art of War to today's business

Programme Overview

Sun Zi Bingfa (also known as Sun Zi’s Art of War) is the most well-known Chinese military classic written more than 2000 years ago.  Its value in influencing business warfare has never been disputed and it is must-read text in all major military academies of the world.  Of equal significance is its relevance to strategic thinking, business and marketing strategies in the modern corporate boardroom.   

With the increasing importance of China as an economic superpower (it is now the world’s second largest economy and has the largest foreign exchange reserves), more and more multinational corporations are interested to understand the mindset of the Chinese strategist. For those who are familiar with the developments in China, it is worthwhile to note that many Chinese tertiary institutions and research institutes have begun to consciously conduct research on many ancient Chinese classics. Today, there are four major emerging schools of thought.  They are the Confucian School (儒 家 ru jia), typified by the works of  Confucius  (孔 子 Kong Zi) and Mencius (孟 子Meng Zi); the Taoism School (道 家 dao jia), typified by the works of Lao Zi  (老 子) and Zhuang Zi (庄 子); the Legal School (法 家 fa jia), typified by the works of Han Fei Zi (韩 非 子) and Guan Zi (管 子) and the Military School (兵 家 bing jia), typified by the works of  Sun Zi (孙 子), Huang Shi-gong (黄 石 公), Wu Zi (吴  子) and Wei Liao Zi (尉 缭 子).

Conferences are regularly held in China and other places to discuss how these various ancient Chinese classics can be related to the world of business. Universities in China have also begun to use these Chinese classics as part of their business school curricula. Among the four major schools, the Military School has emerged as a hot favorite. Within the Military School, Sun Zi Bingfa has received the most attention. This is because it is a very profound piece of classic and philosophy. Indeed, it provides a very insightful way to understand the mindset of the Chinese corporate and marketing strategist. After all, to the Chinese, the business world is like a battlefield.

What will you learn?

There are several objectives in this programme. First, it seeks to relate the Chinese military philosophy of Sun Zi to the applied world of business and marketing. Second, it seeks to relate the relevance of the past to the present and into the future. Third, it seeks to bridge the knowledge and cultural gaps between the east and the west. Fourth, it attempts to provide new and different insights on topics like strategic leadership, teamwork, business and marketing intelligence, strategy development and formulation, strategic controls, ethics, management of human resources, marketing strategies, and so on. Finally, it seeks to inspire participants to be more creative and adaptive in using Sun Zi Bingfa to the business world. Participants will learn that the philosophy of Sun Zi actually provides the foundation for quite a few of the modern strategic and business concepts and principles.At the end of this course, candidates are expected to achieve the following:

  1. A good appreciation of the value of Sun Zi Bingfa and possibly, other Chinese classics. In particular, to learn how they can be applied in the modern world of strategic thinking, management and marketing practices from the perspectives of the corporate general (CEO or senior management).
  2. How to bridge and integrate philosophical thoughts and knowledge of the past with the present, the ancient with the modern, and the east with the west.
  3. For those with limited knowledge of the Chinese language, to develop an interest and appreciation of its subtlety and nuances. In the process, candidates will learn to have a better understanding of the Chinese language and culture, and be more culturally sensitive and intelligent.
  4. To have a good appreciation of the legal and moral issues in applying military strategies in business and marketing.
  5. Gain confidence in strategic thinking, strategic analysis and creative applications of Chinese philosophical thoughts into modern corporate and marketing strategies. This is the main learning outcome that every participant should aspire to achieve.
This course is eligible for credit in the MBA/EMBA program provided participants meet the entry requirements and successfully complete the additional assessment.

Who should attend?

Executives, strategists, managers, planners and analysts from commercial, public, and non-profit organisations and entrepreneurs leading smaller firms involved in with responsibility for marketing, corporate branding and/or implementing strategy at the corporate, business, or functional level in his or her organisation.

Programme Dates
10 - 11 Oct 2019​

Programme Fees

SGD 2,600 (excl. GST) | SGD 2,782 (incl. GST)


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