Students savor Chinese business experience

Business graduate students have returned from China after biting into one of the world's fastest-growing economies.

The program, presented by the Kansas University School of Business, offered students a firsthand experience of business operation and strategy in China. Eleven students traveled to Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai to learn how different cultures and political and economical systems affected Chinese business. They visited government institutions and businesses operated by local and American companies during their two-week trip.

Tailan Chi, program director and associate professor of international business and strategy, said almost all large American companies have operations in China, including many Kansas companies.

"Business students are quite likely to have a chance to deal with China," Chi said. "The Chinese business environment is so different from the U.S. environment, so in order to operate effectively there, they need this kind of understanding."

Justin Lueger, Seneca graduate student, had studied Chinese business but said the trip emphasized what he had learned to the extreme. In one example in Beijing, he talked to a manager of Black & Veatch, a Kansas City, MO-based company.

Lueger said he was surprised many Chinese people spoke English. He said adapting to Chinese life and business environment was easier than he thought.

Lueger said the Chinese government played a different role in business from what the U.S. government did, but he saw it was changing.

"The government was considered to be socialist," Lueger said. "I saw no indication that was a socialist type of business environment."

T'Lane Briggeman, Pratt graduate student, said the trip helped her to learn the way to deal with culture shock. She also said it opened up more options for her potential career.

"Having an accounting career, the opportunity to work abroad in whatever country for two to three years is always available to you, but I probably never would've considered working in China," Briggeman said. "It opened my eyes to something I wouldn't have considered."

Chi accompanied students for the program. He said students also learned different business etiquette. For example, Chinese people usually use formal titles or last names with Mr. or Ms. when addressing each other, unlike the more casual style in America.

By Sachiko Miyakawa
Reprinted with permission from >The University Daily Kansan

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