In each part of the program, one of the academic highlights is the study trip that accompanies the “Doing Business” class. During our time in Charlottesville, VA we made a trip to Washington D.C. to visit different companies and government agencies to learn more about Doing Business in the United States. In China, we recently took a trip to Shenzhen, which is about 2 hours from Guangzhou and an hour away from Hong Kong. Shenzhen is a fascinating city because only 30 years ago it was a fishing village, and now it is a major business hub in China. We visited a wide range of companies, from a drone manufacturer to a gene bank. Here are some of the highlights from the company visits:
DJI is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of drones. They make everything from consumer level products, to drones used for Emmy-nominated TV productions. We were able to view their product showroom and even see a flight demonstration of one of their drones. I was shocked at how advanced this technology is (like something out of a sci-fi movie!).
China National GeneBank was both the most interesting and unexpected visit for me. It is the largest genomic organization in the world and focuses on research and applications in the healthcare, agriculture, conservation, and environmental fields. We toured their amazing facility where they have plants and animals, such as flamingos, peacocks, and alpacas, for research.
Mindray is a medical device and equipment manufacture that competes with companies such as Phillips and GE. They are currently working on expanding globally, so it was interesting to talk to them about their globalization strategies and how they differentiate themselves from major competitors.
Yudafu is a consumer electronics manufacturer. This was a neat visit because we were able to hear the CEO speak and walk through the manufacturing facilities. We had the opportunity to see computer and TV parts being assembled in real time and get a feel for the actual manufacturing process in China.
Overall, the company visits showcased a wide variety of industries in China through a business lens, which was especially interesting for the American and European students. We were also treated to a presentation by Kathy Xu, who is one of the top venture capitalists in China and one of the 25 most influential people in Asia. She was one of the primary investors for top companies like JD.com and Dianping.com (similar to Yelp in the U.S.). Her insights about investing in startups and building a top brand in China were both incredibly interesting and applicable to our future careers.
This next week marks the beginning of Spring Festival, which means we have a 10 day break to explore China! Many students are headed to Beijing to see the Great Wall and Xi’an for the famous Terracotta Warriors. Others are going home with our Chinese classmates to experience a more traditional New Year. When we return, we have just one week left in Guangzhou before making our way to the final portion of the program in Barcelona. Time is definitely flying by for Global 3!