你 好 - nĭ hăo! EMBA Class 23 student’s blog for all prospective students

你 好 - nĭ hăo! EMBA Class 23 student’s blog for all prospective students

Wed Jun 13 10:11:01 CEST 2018

by Ines Michel

 

The company I work for recently bought the majority of a joint venture in China - for me, the class week in Shanghai was a great opportunity to dive deeper into Chinese culture and learn more about the Chinese economy. Does China really tick differently, like David Gosset - one of our guest lecturers with a profound background knowledge in Chinese culture and history - mentioned? What are these differences? And above all: if there are differences - how to deal with them? I was very curious about various insights from our lecturers during the one-week study trip and about different points of view concerning Chinese economy.

 

Study time in China - interesting theory...

Professor Dr. Filip Caeldries guided us through the whole week and gave us a general overview of China and the Chinese economy from both a Chinese and a foreign perspective. Further inputs during the week were well diversified. Guest lecturers came from various countries and had different cultural and professional backgrounds - this was very valuable for me although it was sometimes hard to understand the Chinese accent. Another great value: guest speakers had totally different opinions about how the centralized Chinese government manages economic growth, digitalization, welfare and civil rights. One guest speaker was a well-known architect who primarily works in Shanghai. He told us that skyscrapers are rising up like mushrooms. One floor per day is a normal building pace. However, the rapid growth of cities and general industrialization caused some environmental issues. This affects his daily work and general rethinking to realize ecological sustainability is demanded. He was also surprised by the speed Chinese central government addressed these issues.

 

... & valuable insights!

We also had the great opportunity to visit two companies and gained useful insights into daily Chinese work life. We listened to managers who talked about arising challenges and experiences they had while dealing with regulations and public authorities. What became clear was that there is the rule, the interpretation of the rule and the exception to the rule. We heard a lot about challenges that European firms face while expanding their business or operating to China. Another interesting observation was that many Chinese companies have a department for political affairs - and often one or another top manager is a part-time member of the CCP. "This benefits the company and society", was one statement mentioned during a discussion about this topic.

 

Takeaways - was it really worth it?

Some of my classmates were sceptical about this study week in China: about 30 hour travel time, the jetlag, or the prospect of a smoggy and crowded city - for only one seminar? Many of my classmates have no point of contact with the Chinese market in their business and some told me the probability to have such a business relationship in the future is nearly zero. So why go to China?

 

Beside valuable insights into Chinese culture and economy, here is my takeaway from this fascinating week: China really "ticks" differently and the diversity of inputs during our one-week seminar helped me to look at China from a different perspective. We heard many different opinions about this country and the individual stories behind them. I was surprised that most Chinese are technology savvy and always curious about new inventions. Nearly everybody uses WeChat or Alipay, for example, to submit a tax declaration. Nevertheless, what I also noticed was the censorship of information and the surveillance. For example, you cannot search for the best restaurant in town via Google, and you are not able to connect with your friends via Facebook or WeChat.

In conclusion, it was worth travelling halfway around the world to make this extremely valuable experience. 

 

 


 

A glimpse into our Rochester classroom…

One of my classmates about surveillance in China: "This is a great business opportunity. After returning home, you will be able to buy a souvenir video about your whole China trip." No selfies needed anymore...