|CHINA: Beijing & Shanghai
MBA Spring Institute
Case Western Reserve University
March 10-18, 2001
MBA Spring Institute in China
One of the great things about the Weatherhead MBA Program at Case Western Reserve University is the MBA International Institutes to Europe, South Africa, and Asia.
The MBA Spring Institute in China began on campus with a series of lectures lead by Professor Bing Liang about China's history and its current political and economic environment. The program was capped off with a 10-day tour of Beijing and Shanghai.
Our study tour of China began in the capital city of Beijing. Our first stop was the Great Wall, one of the highlights of the trip for me. It was also where most of us mastered the fine art of bargaining with the local vendors. Some of us were born naturals for the trade and people like Cheryl "best price" Pawelczyk probably purchased enough souvenirs that day alone to impact China's GNP. Later in the day, we visited the Summer Palace. The shopping continued.
Over our next three days in Beijing, we met with MBA students from Beijing University, visited the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to discuss U.S.-Sino relations, and met with government and business leaders to learn about China's banking reform and entry into the WTO.
The final highlight for me in Beijing was visiting Tiananmen Square, where Chris Chandler and I made the 1,000 yard dash across the world's largest square to McDonald's to satisfy our imperialist appetite for that icon of American capitalism, the Big Mac and Coke.
The second leg of our study tour took us to Shanghai, China's growing financial center. Shanghai, due in large part to its history, had a much more Western feel for a city compared to Beijing. The Bund along the river and the neon light lined streets were spectacular at night.
We also had an opportunity to visit a GE glass factory manufacturing light bulbs. It was a good example of how China is opening its economy to the outside world by privatizing its state owned enterprises through joint ventures.
China was well worth visiting and the experience of meeting with people and seeing things firsthand was an incredible eye-opener for me. The Chinese people were very friendly and appeared to be happy with their daily lives. Though China faces many more challenges in the future as it emerges onto the global stage, I felt a strong and reassuring sense of commitment by the Chinese people to succeed.
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