The International Study Trip started on Friday 23rd of May at Heathrow airport. After a day of travelling, Westminster Business School MBA students were warmly welcomed by the International Study Trip programme manager Nada Buinicka who helped everyone with the check-in and equipped us with important sentences and their translation into Chinese.
After a good night sleep, we set off early on Sunday to make the most of our free day. The Chongqing city tour started with a visit of the Joseph Stillwell Museum. After first impressions of the Sino-Japanese War and breath-taking traditional Chinese calligraphy paintings, we stopped for tea ceremony in Erling park. In the afternoon we discovered the CiQiKou old town and porcelain village and ended the day with a welcoming dinner on a Yangtze river cruise boat.
On Monday 26th of May we headed off to our first business meeting! On the programme was the US power engine manufacturer Cummins and we had the opportunity to meet the General Manager Andrew Penca. The visit ended with a tour of the impressive six sigma manufacturing plant.
In the afternoon, Will Henderson, COO and Creative Director, and Sam Priestman CEO of the start-up CQubed welcomed us at their creative office. The international team at CQubed answered all our questions regarding doing business in China.
In order to learn more about the legal environment in China, we visited Zhong Hao Law Firm on Tuesday morning. Eagle Yang, Corporate Associate Attorney at Zhong Hao Law Firm, gave a very insightful presentation about what western companies have to consider when entering the Chinese market. Steven Wu, General Manager at Le-Mark Ceramic Technology Co. Ltd, gave us the view on China out of the perspective of a Chinese citizen who returned to China after studying and working for most of his life in the US.
Having just learned about the legal requirements of joint ventures, we headed off to visit the automotive joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Company (CFMA). CFO Tim Ju presented Ford Mazda so well, that in particular one MBA student pitched himself as future CFMA employee.
In the evening the local Westminster Business School tour guide treated the whole class with a traditional hot pot dinner – the most famous and favourite dish in Chongqing.
On Wednesday we headed off early to visit the Chongqing Hi-Tech Incubation Center. With the help of two interpreters, speaker Prof. Laka Duan gave us a compelling presentation on the indispensable work they do for local entrepreneurs.
Sunshine Dong Managing Director of Prospect Investments Asia Limited talked in the afternoon about investment opportunities and venture capitalists in China.
After a leisure day with optional cultural events to choose from, we visited the state-owned enterprise Chongqing Kerui Pharmaceuticals. After a management presentation, students had the opportunity discuss differences between the Western and Chinese health system.
During each single visit, we learned a lot about the overall business environment, challenges and future business prospects in China. We got also an insight in Chinese culture and customs. The study trip inspired some MBA students to sign up for Chinese classes and some students are already interviewing with Chinese companies.
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