Executive MBA students visiting General Motors in Shanghai
The College of Business Administration’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program offers entrepreneurs and professionals the opportunity to integrate new knowledge and apply new skills and insights into their current work.
Classroom learning—including courses on international business and global finance—plays a key role in the EMBA experience. The coursework culminates in a trip abroad that allows students to witness business in action in other parts of the world.
In November, 2007, 35 EMBA students and one alumnus traveled to China, accompanied by Mary Ann Von Glinow, professor and Knight Ridder Eminent Scholar Chair in International Management, and Sumit Kundu, Knight Ridder Center Research Professor, both in the Department of Management and International Business.
Executive MBA students outside restaurant after lunch in Beijing
“We went to Shanghai and Beijing, visiting four different companies in each city,” said Sarah Perez, director of the EMBA program, who joined the students on the ten-day trip.
In Shanghai, the group spoke with the strategic customer manager for Coca-Cola, then toured the nearby cola museum and plant. They also met with representatives from Bacardi Asia Pacific, Eagle Logistics, and General Motors China. While in Beijing, the students met with the director of international development for the No. 1 Machine Tool Plant. They visited the local offices for Intel Corporation and Caterpillar, and then heard a presentation from the standards officer at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Foreign Commercial Service, at the U.S. Embassy.
“The trip exposes our students to what it’s really like doing business in China today.”
—Sarah Perez, Executive MBA program director, College of Business Administration
“The trip exposes our students to what it’s really like doing business in China today,” Perez said. “We visited companies in several different industries, and we had the opportunity to hear others share their expertise and insights about the challenges and differences to be dealt with when working in the Chinese marketplace.”
Lesson learned: Be prepared to be agile.
Executive MBA students exploring the Great Wall of China
Martin J. Rodriguez (BS ’01) traveled to China several years ago as part of his job working in the electronics and technical sales fields—but the signs of rapid economic development he noticed at every turn during the EMBA trip struck him.
“The architecture, the construction, the traffic, the rise in consumer spending—all are signs of the fast-paced growth China is now experiencing,” he said.
In the midst of all this change, Rodriquez learned that any company or investor looking to do business in China must be flexible.
“You have to be willing to take the time to build trust with your Chinese business partners. You also have to be agile—as at any given point, the rules governing your business relationship may change.”
—Martin J. Rodriguez (BS ’01), EMBA student
“You have to be willing to take the time to build trust with your Chinese business partners,” he said. “You also have to be agile—as at any given point the rules governing your business relationship may change and you have to be ready to adapt quickly.”