Learning to Do Business in China
By Amalia Safran '13
A group of students in the Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics (CBE) took their classroom beyond the streets of campus over winter break and traveled across the world to Shanghai, China.
As a part of Lehigh’s Getting to Global initiative, Oliver Yao, associate professor of management, and Katrina Zalatan, associate dean and director of undergraduate programs, took 18 students to Shanghai for a weeklong trip filled with academic seminars, company visits, cultural experiences and historical tours. The seminars focused on China’s business communications, economy, marketing and customer behavior, and financial markets, which all tie into what the students are learning in Management 372, Doing Business in China.
By bringing the classroom to Shanghai, business students were able to have a first-hand experience from all angles, and most important, they saw what their professors have been talking about in terms of globalization and the shift to global business.
“As a business student, we often hear about the global market and economy but getting to experience it and talk with professionals was very special,” says Natalie Bates, a sophomore who traveled to Shanghai.
Spending the time in a business-oriented culture far from Lehigh’s home, students were exposed to a different lifestyle and gained a new global perspective that they wouldn’t have gained in the classroom. A global perspective is increasingly important and the business school is developing programs that emphasize the value of having experience abroad.
“Experience abroad better prepares one to successfully interact with people from different backgrounds and to see and appreciate other people’s point of views,” says Javan Tai, a sophomore on the trip. “Studying abroad makes one more well-rounded and fit for our extremely complex and global world.”
The trip was filled with activities from early in the morning to the late afternoon. The students did everything from visiting CEOs, roaming markets and listening to seminars at Tongji University, to sightseeing the city and small cities outside of Shanghai and trying traditional Chinese dishes.
The CBE’s global portfolio is expanding with trips like this one, as well as the Global Lab in Singapore, all in hopes of giving students a first-hand opportunity to see what business is like abroad and to enrich their time at Lehigh.
“Since the ‘world is flat,’ companies are looking for leaders who have global perspectives,” says Yao. “Any experience or understanding about China will give our students some competitive edges in the job market and likely jump-start their careers.”
The trip to Shanghai gives students a different learning opportunity and allows them to become more competitive in an increasingly global job market. The students agreed that it was an invaluable experience that truly benefited their time at Lehigh.
“I have been fortunate enough to have traveled a lot throughout my life, but few trips that I’ve been on have been much more than vacationing,” said Jacob Mutchler, a sophomore in the class.
“Whether it involves studies pertaining to your future career, or just observing the dynamics of other cultures and economies, studying abroad is constantly becoming more crucial to a thorough education.”
January 25, 2013