In September of 2015, students traveled to Shanghai to explore the challenges and opportunities of business in China. Sessions focused on key issues such as the risks and rewards of doing business in China, sustainability in a fast-changing economy, budding entrepreneurship and how global consumer products corporations are entering the Chinese market.
Speakers included top executives and professors from both the U.S. and China. Students also had the opportunity to collaborate closely and experience the local culture firsthand.
Dr. Sridhar Balasubramanian Associate Dean, Full-Time MBA Program and the Online MBA@UNC Program
Richard Brubaker Managing Director, Collective Responsibility
Frank Hawke China Director, Stanford University Graduate School of Business
David Jacobson Professor of Practice, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
Scott Minoie Managing Director, Element Fresh, Inc.
Kenneth W. Nealy Adjunct Professor for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), East China Normal University
Glen Walter Chief Executive Officer, Bottling Investments Group, China, The Coca-Cola Company
George Yan General Manager of Marketing and Operations, Microsoft China
During the first day of the Shanghai immersion, students were treated to a series of in-depth discussions exploring new business ventures in China, product development challenges and the risks and rewards of investing in Chinese business. These sessions were led by an accomplished group of entrepreneurs, executives and educators, including Microsoft China’s general manager of marketing and operations, George Yan. Mr. Yan walked students through the process of developing Microsoft Azure.
The second day of the immersion took a deeper dive into both sustainability and entrepreneurship in China. Professors from both U.S.- and China-based universities were joined by local entrepreneurs who are helping China continue its rapid evolution from an agrarian society into an industrial economy—and doing so in innovative, sustainable ways.
Students also met with Scott Minoie, a successful restauranteur and founder of Element Fresh, and Kenneth Nealy, adjunct professor for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) at East China Normal University. These businessmen shared their extensive experience in Chinese culture and business with students and discussed how entrepreneurs can expand their businesses in China.
The final day of the immersion was all about opportunities. In the morning, students met with Dr. Xiaozu Wang, professor of finance at the School of Management of Fudan University, to discuss trends and opportunities for the future. In the afternoon, the Coca Cola Company’s CEO of Bottling Investments Group China, Glen Walter, spoke to the group about Coca Cola’s strategy in China.
Perhaps just as valuable as the lessons students learn during their sessions are the opportunities they have to network, mingle and connect with their fellow students. During the Shanghai immersion, students were treated to a number of social outings and casual get-togethers that allowed them to unwind with new friends and take in the local sights.
On Day One, students headed out to K11 Art Mall, Shanghai’s premier luxury shopping mall and art museum. They enjoyed dinner, drinks and spectacular views of the nighttime lights of Shanghai’s skyscrapers from the rooftop terrace of Element Fresh. The restaurant’s owner, Scott Minoie, spoke the next day about how he turned a small café into one of the most successful foreign-owned businesses in China, with 28 locations in cities around the country. On Day Two, students boarded a cruise ship for dinner and a scenic trip along the Huangpu River.
Students also had the opportunity to extend their immersion outing after the weekend’s activities commenced. A select group of students stayed in China for an additional week to meet with more companies and dig deeper into aspects of the Chinese culture and history. In addition to Shanghai, these students visited Beijing and Hong Kong in order to learn from influential businesses and tour important cultural landmarks like Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall and Victoria Peak.
If you are interested in learning more about global immersions or MBA@UNC, contact an admissions counselor today at 888-986-2622 or via email.