Tag Archives: international business

Food delivery in Shanghai and a discussion on cultural differences

Guest post by Emily Su, Foster undergraduate, studying marketing and pursuing a Certificate of International Studies in Business. She studied abroad in Shanghai, China this summer 2015.

IMAG5349The story that best highlights my international experience is not a story that’s groundbreaking, daring, or jaw-dropping. But, it’s a pleasant and humbling story that is life-changing and something I’ll never ever forget.

We are all aware that there are striking differences between Chinese and American systems. Chinese views on politics, economics, social class, independence, and freedom (just to name a few) are drastically different. Going into my study abroad experience, I did not expect to have the opportunity to talk with locals about politics and social issues. In China, these issues are sensitive. Often, they are a big no-no for open discussion.

One day, my Chinese roommate and I were deciding where to eat lunch—at the cafeteria? The food court at the neighboring mall? A noodle restaurant ten minutes away? Before we had decided –  thanks to typhoon season in Shanghai –  a torrential downpour began outside. So much for a lunch date outing. Immediately, my Chinese roommate pulled out her phone and showed me an incredible App, 美团外卖 (Mei Tuan Wai Mai), that featured thousands of restaurant selections nearby. They all had built-in speedy food delivery services. When she told me that food delivery in Shanghai is often cheaper than dining in, my eyes lit up. I knew I had discovered something amazing. We ordered multiple flavors of dumplings and within 30 minutes we were eating to our heart’s content in the safety and protection of our dormitory.

I kept gushing about the food delivery system in Shanghai, since America seems to be a little behind on this trend. This sparked one of the most genuine, interesting, and meaningful conversations I have ever had. Despite my expectation of avoiding political topics, my roommate initiated the discussion of some political issues. We talked about an array of topics, from gun laws to voting, from traffic laws to pollution. We discussed differences in entrepreneurship and corporate tax. What started off as curious conversation about voting, became an exciting and enjoyable exchange of perspectives, experiences, and questions. I found myself asking more questions than giving answers. I never thought I could ask so many questions at once, and I never thought anyone could be that curious about my home country. I could probably have written a book about all the things I learned that day about differences in Chinese and American culture.

I absolutely love to discuss differences in cultures. I like to observe, and so almost everything I experienced in Shanghai, I would compare to the American version. Comparing cultures and seeing the huge differences in daily life is mind-blowing. Chinese people may cook completely differently, interact with friends differently, or even wash their clothes differently, but it somehow works. Different societies, whether it be because of political/economic/geographic/social differences, just have different ways of getting the job done. That’s what I’m fascinated about. I learned that there is no one culture that is the best or the greatest in all aspects. Learning more about another country has helped me realize this.

My ancestors are from China. I was born and raised in America. This study abroad experience was a wonderful way for me to bridge the gap, to understand the meaning of and be the representation of Chinese-American. This is exactly what I needed to pursue my career in international business. And, the bridge will only become shorter and shorter.

Foster students take Brazil

This post was written by EY Campus Recruiter Melissa C Boroughs.

Foster students in Brazil
Foster students tour the International Olympic Headquarters and learn the meaning behind the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic 3D logos

This past August, five UW Foster students traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with EY as a reward for winning the EY Beam Abroad Advisory case competition. Each year EY hosts a campus case competition on several west region university campuses. The winning team from each campus is invited to participate in a regional competition in Los Angeles, CA. The winning team from UW beat 8 other local UW teams as well as 7 other west region schools in LA. The team was awarded $6,500 as well as a trip to Rio for five days. While in Rio, the team spent two days sightseeing the Christ Redeemer Statue, Sugar Loaf Mountain and famous beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema. The group visited the EY Rio office and spent the afternoon at the International Olympic Headquarters as EY is an Official Sponsor of the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. This trip was meant to help show students EY’s Global brand as well as immerse students in a different cultural experience.

See more photos below:

Foster students in Brazil
UW YEOC mentors visit the EY Rio office.
Foster students in Brazil
Foster students in Brazil The group spent the day sightseeing Rio and visited the famous Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Foster students in Brazil
Foster students visit the EY Rio office and learn more about what EY is doing to prepare Rio for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games.





























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Foster Global Leadership Summit in photos

The UW Foster School of Business hosted a Global Leadership Summit in Taipei, Taiwan ROC on April 10, 2015. The purpose of the Summit was to host a high level forum in Taiwan in an effort to reach out to business leaders in the region and engage them in a meaningful dialogue on strategies in innovation and leadership. The Summit included presentations by Dean James Jiambalvo, Professors Michael Johnson and Matthew O’Donnell as well as panelists representing Chairmen and CEOs from Taiwan Cement Group, Chungwha Telecom, CTCI Group, Walsin Lihwa, Costco Taiwan, and The Boeing Company. Attendees were mostly from Taiwan, but also included participants who traveled from S. Korea, China, India, and the Philippines. See photos of the event below.


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GBCC student teams tackle solar energy

Foster School Team showing off their school spirit!
The Foster School team members Eric Zhu, Emmeline Vu, Morgan Bell-Smith, and Dinesvara  Airlangga show off their school spirit!

This Saturday, the Global Business Center hosted its 17th annual Global Business Case Competition (GBCC) – where twelve teams representing eight countries competed for the title of GBCC Champion.

Each of the undergraduate student teams spent 48 hours analyzing a business case on First Solar Inc.  In 2010, First Solar was the global leader in production of solar panels. However, by 2013, Chinese producers dominated the world market, helped by generous government subsidies.  First Solar was also challenged by falling prices for solar panels made with a competing technology.  First Solar responded by vertically integrating into the solar systems business, making the company a “one-stop shop” for utility customers.  First Solar’s sales have been concentrated in the US market, but they are exploring opportunities outside the US.  The GBCC student teams were tasked with identifying the external forces affecting First Solar’s business over the next five years and then prioritizing the non-US target markets.

Four teams were selected to move on to the final round: the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Florida State University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Southern California.

GBCC 2015 Winning TeamOur final round judging panel commented that this was one of the most difficult and complex cases in the history of GBCC. In the end, the judges chose the Chinese University of Hong Kong as this year’s GBCC Champion.

We would like to acknowledge the hard work of our GBCC Student Leadership Team who spent countless hours organizing this event.

GBCC would not be possible without our major sponsors. A special thank you to The Boeing Company, Costco Wholesale, F5 Networks, Russell Investments, Starbucks Coffee International, and Wells Fargo for their generous support.

In Beijing, an internship worth yakking about

Guest post by Joyce Tang, Foster undergraduate and Certificate of International Studies in Business student

Joyce TangAt a recent Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB) Alumni Panel, I heard a woman say she wished she had spent more time during her study abroad experience building a professional network, rather than only engaging with other students. I couldn’t agree more because I personally benefited from this decision while I was an exchange student at Peking University, the most prestigious higher learning institute in China.

After a meaningful summer internship in Shanghai, I knew I wanted to have more work experience while I was studying abroad. My resolve led me to find and accept an internship at a social enterprise called Khunu. This company produces premium yak wool apparel, while supporting the yak herders from whom the wool is sourced. With a great passion for social entrepreneurship and fashion, this was the perfect opportunity for me. Three days a week, I took a 45 minute commute—if I was lucky enough to squish my way onto the first subway that came during rush hour—to work and 45 minutes back to school.

During those three months, I learned things that turned my assumptions about China upside down. For example, I assumed most luxury fashion brands produced their products domestically to maintain quality and workmanship, but found out the factory we produced our apparel in was also used by a big name luxury label. It was also a lot smaller than I expected, as the picture in my head was of an enormous factory designed for mass production. Many people immediately think low quality when they hear the words manufacturing and China in the same sentence. However, this is not always the case. Khunu is one fashion label that is trying to redefine the “Made in China” tag.

What I learned at Khunu was reinforced at a panel discussion I recently attended on ethical sourcing, which was sponsored and organized by CISB and AIESEC. The vice presidents of global sourcing from Costco and Brooks Running Company spoke about the manufacturing, supplying, and operations practices of their respective companies. They emphasized the importance of setting a new market standard where businesses create value chains at every step of the process, rather than just supply chains. To accomplish this, the players at each stage of the chain—from cotton farmer to spinner to business to consumer—must demand and be provided fair compensation for the part they play. As I pursue a concentration and future career in operations and supply chain management, my experiences in CISB have played an invaluable part in helping me understand sustainable supply chains from both sides of the Pacific: Seattle and Beijing.

A view of Japan from the top: event with Former US Ambassador to Japan, John Roos

Guest post  by Nick Dwyer, Foster MBA Candidate, 2016

Before enrolling in the full-time MBA program at the Foster School this fall, I often heard full-time business students characterized as “day students”. But with the vast number of engaging presentations, speakers’ series, networking opportunities and other evening events at our disposal, I now realize this was a misnomer. While I’m not currently taking any evening classes, my on-campus education rarely ceases before 6PM.  Perhaps my most notable example is the evening of November 20th, when I had the opportunity to hear from the former US ambassador to Japan, John Roos.

Ambassador Roos came to the Foster School as part of the Tateuchi Foundation Asian Business Distinguished Speaker Lecture, a series of annual speeches by business leaders focused on presenting US-Japan business opportunities.

By partnering with the Tateuchi Foundation, we can honor the legacy of Mr. Tateuchi’s business success and further the Foundation’s goals of promoting international understanding, knowledge, and relations.

The event is made possible by the Tateuchi Foundation, a family foundation charged with building bridges of understanding between the United States and Japan. Given this mission, its unlikely there is a more fitting presenter than John Roos, who served in his role as ambassador to Japan from 2009 to 2013.

One of the most interesting points of Ambassador Roos’ presentation was his atypical professional background for an ambassador. Unlike most American ambassadors to Japan, John Roos never held a significant public office before his ambassadorship and was not a political figure in Washington, DC.  Before Japan, Roos was a lawyer in Silicon Valley, where as CEO he led a premier technology law firm.

He explained that he was such an outsider that his wife quipped that he “didn’t have a chance in hell” before formally receiving his nomination for the post. But his less than common background was appealing to President Obama, who appreciated his experience in technology and innovation and his understanding of Asia-Pacific business. “But most of all, it was just a matter of trust” Roos confirmed.

tateuchi_2014-roos-120As someone who has always been interested with the economy of Japan, I particularly enjoyed watching Ambassador Roos interact with Japanese students in the Q&A part of the evening. What emerged was a major difference of opinion between the state and potential future of Japan. Several students commented they felt pessimistic about the future of Japan, given the weak economy, the high population loss, and the high national debt. Ambassador Roos reminded them that Japan is still the third largest economy in the world and that 90% of the world would trade places with them. When asked what is the best characteristic of Japanese business, Roos stated that “quality and attention to detail permeate the whole society” and there is a very high level of service, which can continue to drive the Japanese business.  He also sees the Japanese business culture beginning to address its lack of entrepreneurial thinkers and businesses, which will be key for future economic growth.

While Japanese business was a major conversation point for the evening, Roos also discussed a number of geopolitical issues, including the thorny relationship between Okinawa and the United States, the dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands, and North Korean threat to Japan. He also described the biggest challenge of his ambassadorship; the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. The link between national security and economic wellbeing was not lost on the ambassador, as he frequently pivoted between both topics.

In all, Ambassador Roos painted a complex yet optimistic picture of Japan and Japanese businesses. His belief in the country is illustrated by his current position on the board of directors at Japan’s largest electronics company, Sony. While Japan has to overcome it’s shrinking population and stiff competition, his ambassadorship allowed him to see up close what makes Japan so dynamic.

While I certainly don’t wish to underestimate my daytime classes and activities, Ambassador Roos certainly demonstrated that learning about global business doesn’t necessarily slow when the sun sets at Paccar Hall.


Study abroad photo contest winners 2014

Over 300 University of Washington Foster School of Business undergraduate and MBA students studied or interned abroad last year.  These photos and short descriptions are a small taste of the transformative educational experiences these students have each year.  The UW Global Business Center held a competition for the best student photos in two categories: Foster Abroad and My Global Lens.


1st Place Foster Abroad: Hitchhiking in George Town

Experience abroad: Jeremy Santos, Foster School Exchange Program at the National University of Singapore.  Studying and living abroad gave me the opportunity to see, hear, and taste new things. The experience knocked me off my feet!”


2nd Place Foster Abroad: Dawg Pack in Prague – Our program contributed to the Lennon Wall in Prague by spray painting a W and showing our Husky spirit abroad.

Experience abroad: Jessica Gardner, UW CHID Program in Prague.  “I spent 10 weeks studying abroad in Prague and visiting surrounding areas learning about how different groups and countries learn about history and how this represents who they are today. I immersed myself in Eastern Europe culture and felt that I gained a greater appreciation for different cultures and discovered how I want my business career to be internationally focused.”


1st Place My Global Lens – The Last Potter: This man was the last potter in his village, as his only son pursued a different career. I love how his grin shows how proud he is of his work!

Experience abroad: Alexandra McCarthy, Foster School Exploration Seminar in India.  “Studying abroad in India was nothing short of amazing. I absolutely fell in love with the people and the culture. From their colorful clothing to breathtaking temples, India is by far one of the most beautiful countries I’ve been to.”


2nd Place My Global Lens – A Man and His Dog: It’s not every day that you get to wander through the mountains of Northern Spain. Even more rare is meeting this man who has lived in a stone hut in the mountains his whole life, swapping stories over the cheese he makes from the cows that roam nearby, using smiles to convey what my broken Spanish could not.

Experience abroad: Bonnie Beam, Foster School Exchange Program at the University of Navarra in Spain.  “My time abroad has been challenging, awkward, hilarious, embarrassing and most importantly, has opened my eyes to things I would have not seen otherwise. I have been humbled by how much I have to learn and am extremely grateful for every single person who has taken the time out to teach me something new; from teaching me a simple phrase to showing me how to play pádel to divulging the secret to making the perfect roscillas, I am a better person because of it all and I owe it to the lovely citizens of Pamplona. I have realized that I will never stop learning as long as I continue in humility and take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.”

See all photos submitted for the contest. Judges included over 40 faculty and staff members. Learn more about MBA and undergraduate study abroad opportunities at the Foster School.

Student teams develop innovative solutions to increase profitability of the world’s largest festival

Photo of Winning Team
2014 Winning Team members Michelle Hara, Zach Bickel, Erica Cheng, and Crystal Wang with Larry Calkins of Holland America Line

Did you know that during the 16 day Munich Oktoberfest an average tent with 7,500 seats sells over 4 million euros worth of beer?

This weekend at the  2014 Holland America Line Global Case Competition, over 100 Foster School undergraduates grappled with how to increase the profitability and global reach of Oktoberfest, the world’s largest festival. The Global Business Center is pleased to announce that this year’s competition was a great success!

Teams played the role of outside consultants hired by the Munich Oktoberfest Organizing Committee to develop a strategy recommendation to increase profitability of Munich Oktoberfest. Teams spent 48 hours developing their background analysis, and on Saturday November 15th presented their recommendations to panels of community member judges. The top four teams were selected to move on to the final round.

After watching the final round teams present, the panel of six finalist judges determined a winner. This year’s deliberation was particularly challenging because each of the finalist teams had an insightful and innovative recommendation.

Team 2 members Zach Bickel, Erica Cheng, Michelle Hara, and Crystal Wang, were named the 2014 Holland America Line Global Case Competition Champion, and awarded $1,000. Their recommendation to increase profitability of Oktoberfest was to replicate the festival abroad, specifically in Munich’s Sister City, Sapporo, Japan. Their team determined through detailed analytics that a Sapporo Oktoberfest would prove successful due to existing infrastructure, socioeconomic factors and a strong cultural identity.

This year we had seven outstanding freshman teams participate in the ‘Freshman Direct Track’ of the competition, where only teams of Foster School freshman compete against one another. Judges were blown away by the extraordinary recommendations the freshman teams developed.  The title of Freshman Winning Team and an award of $500 was achieved by Christopher Cave, Carly Knight, Jennifer Louie, and Molly Mackinnon.  We are excited to see these students getting involved so early in their Foster careers!

The Holland America Line Global Case Competition is an introductory case competition and an exceptional learning experience for Foster School students. It provides an opportunity for students who have never competed in a case competition to ‘get their feet wet’. This year learning opportunities included a ‘how to approach a case competition’ training session, taught by Foster School faculty member Leta Beard, and a coaching round which provided teams the opportunity to get feedback on their presentation from business community and faculty coaches before presenting in front of the judges panel. Thank you to all of our volunteers who made the event possible!

Visit our website to find out more and learn how to get involved next year.

The Global Business Center would like to thank Holland America Line for their generous support of this unique educational event for Foster School of Business students. Holland America Line is a leader in the cruising industry and a longtime supporter of the Foster School of Business.