By Amy Walker, Executive MBA class: 2012-2014
A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck southwestern Sichuan province on Saturday, killing at least 186” is a headline I find myself reading on the Web. My trip to China this April was educational, inspirational and has given me a continual drive to learn more about this ancient land. Each day, I read articles about China. The last visit I had to China was in 2008 and only five years later, it is evolved with tremendous evidence of the middle class presence and capitalistic existence, which was not as visible before.
As a westerner, China is a place of mystery and for me I have had many pre-misconceptions. Much of China is a free market society with a great entrepreneurial spirit. The Chinese are very proud of their country and this is stated when they talk about the “Chinese” dream.
During our nine-day trip to China, we focused on learning to how to conduct business in China as a foreigner and as a Chinese, culturally and economically. At Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, I learned a new definition of innovation in China and learned that it focuses not only on a product or developing a product but includes a business model. We had the opportunity to visit various companies, some connected to Sweden such as Geely and Volvo Construction Equipment and others who were Chinese companies in logistical type businesses.
In Shanghai, which we visited the mid-week, Professor Chen Min, a dynamic professor from Antai College, Shanghai Jiaotong University, gave us insight on China’s social responsibility. The remainder of the week, we continued to have various professors who discussed Chinese policies. The collaboration between the universities and businesses created a positive environment for open discussions.
From the fellowship and food, the best part of the trip was spending it with my fellow classmates and professors. This past year has been one of tremendous growth and experiences. A few years ago, I was working in a US company considering going to business school. The University of Gothenburg of Sweden was never on my consideration list until I began studying what constitutes an “International” Executive MBA. In my reflections about my first year, I can state that the University of Gothenburg has exceeded my expectations.