Swedish managers improve their business skills in China

8 May 2014

During the past week, some twenty Swedish managers have participated in an intensive course on doing business in China. The course, held in Shanghai and Hangzhou, is an integrated part of the Gothenburg Executive MBA programme at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The Executive MBA participants combined visits to Chinese and multinational companies with studies in Chinese Business and Supply Chain Management at two of China’s top universities, Zhejiang University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The Executive MBA participants have diverse backgrounds and work in different business sectors. The common denominator is that they are managers, often with global roles in companies such as AstraZeneca, Husqvarna, SKF and Volvo. The Gothenburg Executive MBA programme, which runs part-time over two years, focuses on emerging markets in Asia and aims to strengthen the participants’ skills on how to do business in countries like China, Korea, India and Japan.

The training course in China is divided into two modules, four days in Shanghai and four days in Hangzhou. Hangzhou has a population of nine million and is the capital of the Zhejiang province, which is characterized by entrepreneurship. The Zhejiang province has a higher growth rate than China in general, and many successful companies are based here.

Thanks to the School’s network of partner universities and companies in China, the participants were given the opportunity to visit companies like Geely, Sunwin Bus, Transfar and Shanghai Harbour. To provide a better understanding of the Chinese economy and business culture, the School also organised roundtable seminars and networking meetings with executives working in China for companies like SKF, Volvo Cars, Brose and Business Sweden.

– During this week I learned about the modern business model of China and I understood the importance of seeing China as a market instead of a factory of the world, says Suzana Dereban, one of the Executive MBA participants. The company visits in particular helped me understand the Chinese management practice and the Chinese wisdom in translating the language of science into the language of business. I also observed the problem that the Chinese face in terms of pollution. This made me reflect on what responsibility western countries have while doing business with China. In short, this trip was an eye-opener about China in all aspects.

The modules in China include themes such as Chinese Culture, Business and Management, A Chinese Approach to Innovation, CSR Management and Sourcing in China, Establishing of Start-ups in China and Supply Chain Management. Both Zhejiang University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University are ranked as some of China’s top universities.

For more information, please contact: Per-Olof Larsson, CEO, tel. +46 (0)31-786 5381, +46 (0)708 98 16 00, per-olof.larsson@handels.gu.se  Olof E. Johansson, BM, tel. +46 (0)31-786 1383, +46 (0)733 20 13 83, olof.e.johansson@handels.gu.se

Photos: Per-Olof Larsson, Olof Johansson