A new elective module enables FHNW MSc International Management students to experience education, business and culture in China.
Over the last decades, China has become one of the world’s economic engines and an important market for global investors. Despite the drastic development of the Chinese economy, the business culture and etiquette remain a mystery to many westerners who want to tap into the country’s enormous potential. To enable students to gain first-hand experience and insights on doing business in China, as well as to provide unique opportunities to connect with Chinese businesses and students at top universities, the MSc in International Management programme at the FHNW School of Business introduces the new elective module Educational and Managerial Experiences in China (EMEC).
The module was first realised in April 2017 with twelve students travelling to Beijing. Before the trip, the students were provided with information on universities and companies to visit onsite. Also, they were required to deliver a research paper combining theoretical inputs on topics such as Chinese business environment, Chinese culture and business clusters in Beijing, as well as their personal expectations for the two-week experience abroad. During the field trip, they wrote daily business diaries and personal blogs, documenting their experiences and learnings. After their return to Switzerland, the students presented a comparative analysis based on their perceived expectations, findings and reflections on Chinese education, business and management culture.
Experiencing an authentic Chinese business dinner with CEOs at Dadong Restaurant (photo: Grace Qi).
FHNW students visited two top universities in Beijing. At Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), the host university of the EMEC field trip, students attended lectures on “China’s Legal Environment of Business” and “Chinese Business Culture”, and worked on assignments together with BFSU students. At Tsinghua University, often referred to as “the MIT of China”, FHNW students visited the prestigious Schwarzman College. The ellegance of the campus and the young age of their Chinese counterparts impressed the FHNW students. Besides the experience of engaging with Chinese students on an academic level, FHNW students also took the chance to engage in networking sessions and made new friends. To maintain a close communication and collaboration despite the large geographical distance, they use China’s most famous social app ‘Wechat’.
Working on a joint assignment with BFSU students (photo: Fan Neifer).
Campus tour of the Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University (photo: Fan Neifer).
The FHNW students visited several companies, ranging from innovative start-ups to the well-established Chinese multinational corporations. They interacted face-to-face with managers and employees, reflecting on the concepts and exploring a deeper understanding of Chinese business operations and culture.
Whether at Beike Works, a start-up incubator, iPinYou, the largest programmatic buying platform, or at NNC, a marketing and consulting firm, FHNW students felt the openness and dynamism that drive the current Chinese economy. Testing the products of Lenovo and AK Medical, everyone was impressed by the technology advances that the Chinese companies are pursuing. At Beijing Hyundai, an automobile joint venture, there was an intensive dialogue with the manager from South Korea as well as a tour of the modern production line.
Feeling the dynamic impulse at iPinYou (photo: Wu Ming).
Fully engaged at NNC (photo: Wei Su).
Testing the cutting-edge technology on display at Lenovo (photo: Feifei Bian).
Impressed by the first-class “Made in China” technology at AK Medical (photo: Fan Neifer).
Students explored the city of Beijing and Chinese culture on their own with an open and observing mind-set, seeing the reality for themselves and through their own lens. From the bustling art district 798 to the authentic atmosphere of the narrow Hutongs, they were able to embrace the contrasts of life in modern China. Some students continued their experience and learning journey at their employer’s subsidiaries or partners, with other companies or to other cities to collect data for their projects and research theses.
After returning to Switzerland, students and lecturers gathered to share their experiences and the knowledge they learned from the trip.
The FHNW School of Business is happy to offer this successful elective module as part of the MSc in International Management to interested and committed students who want to gain an authentic and in-depth understanding of education, management, business and culture in China.
MSc International Management