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

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