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Shanghai now

With the hustle and bustle of Shanghai’s preparation for next year’s World Expo, the pace of building and improvement here is even more extreme than we thought.  Driving around the city, which we crossed twice yesterday in almost its full width, we saw the spectrum of massive construction projects, from the Expo Center partly finished, to former housing complexes flattened and awaiting their high-rises.

Our visit to Shanghai was short.  We met with the US Commercial Service and Weyerhaeuser on Monday, Tektronix and Ingersoll-Rand on Tuesday.  In many cases, the message was there that the economic slowdown has affected business in China overall, but that companies are still doing well and anticipating improvement over the next few quarters.  All three major companies gave us insight into their operations as well as their intentions, which Foster MBAs will appreciate are “green” and concerned with environmental impact on all fronts.  Innovation is another common  area and it was exciting to see the new ideas and thought processes coming out of these different types of organizations.

For lunch on Tuesday, we were hosted to a lavish banquet by the School of Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.  For each of our faculty, they brought one in the same or similar discipline, and lively conversation ensued over the 18-course meal.  Photos to follow.

Postscript:  The three of us delayed in travel by over a day still do not have our luggage.  We’re leaving in three hours for Beijing.  This is getting more interesting every day, and I will admit a bit frustrating as we each had one change of clothes with us, but it does encapsulate the other side of international travel:  language barrier, cultural expectations, adapting in a new environment, and managing without a lot of the comforts of home.  “That which does not kill you makes you stronger,” I believe the sentiment goes, and despite my umptieth day in this pink hoodie, I’m looking forward to what awaits us in Beijing.

Posted by Krista Peterson, Associate Director, Global Business Center

The show must go on

Finance professor Jarrad Harford is all smiles, as he was able to stretch his meal voucher investment to include a hamburger AND a chocolate treat.
Finance professor Jarrad Harford is all smiles, as he was able to stretch his meal voucher investment to include a hamburger AND a chocolate treat.

Oh, the glamor of international travel.  I’m writing this from my home on Saturday night, when I should be just about landing in Tokyo.  Seems that something was a little bit wrong with the plane that three of the eight of us were supposed to be on.  Every half-hour or so from the original boarding time, there was another hour or two delay, until finally, eight hours later, the flight was cancelled.  Better not to fly if the plane’s not in good working order, right?

Happily, technology enabled me to contact everyone and let them know we’d be on a new flight tomorrow.  The three of us will miss a day of content, which is a bit of a bummer, but the show will go on and the other faculty who have arrived safely in Shanghai will go forth and learn from two presentations and one company visit, as planned.

Posted by Krista Peterson, Associate Director, Global Business Center

Foster faculty go to China

By Krista Peterson, associate director of the Foster Global Business Center.

Shanghai PhotoIn just over a week, the Global Business Center is leading the first-ever Foster School of Business faculty study trip to China. From September 12 – 20, we’ll visit Shanghai and Beijing, hear from companies and government organizations on the current business environment, developments in green energy and renewable resources, adapted business strategies, and the unique challenges faced by China and Chinese business in the 21st century.

This program was designed to augment international business research and education. Through this trip, faculty can gain potential research data sources or collaborative partners, as well as current case examples for teaching and analysis.

The group will visit or hear from iconic companies such as Microsoft, Weyerhaeuser, Boeing, and F5 Networks.  We’ll also hear from the Energy Resource Institute (a partner in the US-China Clean Energy Forum); the US Commercial Service; and visit the new US Embassy in Beijing and others. Faculty will have the opportunity to meet with professors at Shanghai Jaio Tong University, and a small group will make a presentation at Peking University.

We will also meet with Foster alumni living or working in China.

Faculty voyaging on this pilot trip are Doug MacLachlan, Jennifer Koski, Jarrad Harford, Ming Fan, Apurva Jain, and Jane George-Falvy Reynolds.