Rochester-Bern alumnus shares his experiences during EMBA seminar in Shanghai
During our Shanghai seminar, we invited a number of guest speakers to share their different perspectives of China with the participants. We were very pleased to welcome our Rochester-Bern alumnus Dieter Pfeifer as one of these speakers. Dieter graduated from the Executive MBA program in 2002. While working in China as an expat for Boehringer-Ingelheim, he put down roots and decided to stay. Today, he is happily married with one son and founded his own start-up company.
Dieter gave our students his personal insight into the challenges and benefits of living and working in China:
Challenges & threats
Air pollution has become one of the most obvious threats, covering at times large parts of China, including Shanghai. The Pfeifers plan their family outings based on the current air quality levels (AQI), which means that on certain days with high AQI the whole family prefers to stay indoors. Living in Shanghai/China is generally safe for the Pfeifer family, although this could be different for the local Chinese, particularly in the countryside and suburbs of Shanghai. Access to clean water, food, education and medical care is still a major issue in the countryside; hence, migration to large cities such as Shanghai is ongoing. Administrative processes for foreigners e.g. obtaining a work, living or driving permit, can be lengthy and complicated, requiring local support – therefore, connections to Chinese citizens/family members are very important.
Despite the challenges, Dieter finds living in Shanghai – a quite modern and international city – very convenient with interesting job opportunities. It is easily accessible by plane from Europe and provides fast railway links by high speed train to various cities and regions in China. The city also offers a vast choice of national and international cuisine as well as a wide range of sports activities and cultural events such as concerts and theatre plays. And despite living in a huge district, the different city quarters each have a small-town and familiar feel to them.
We thank Dieter for his valuable input and are already looking forward to meeting him and his family again next year.