2nd Annual China Study Trip
By Colm Rafferty '04
Professor Zhiwu Chen and a group of 20 students spent their 2-week spring vacation discussing business strategy with senior management from 22 companies across China. These companies spanned six industries from banking to auto to textile manufacturing.
Founded in 2003, the study trip serves as a broad overview of economic development in China. Students learn about the recent development of these industry sectors in China by meeting with senior level executives there and by discussing their experiences in the market. Students spent the early part of the spring semester conducting in-depth industry research, company research, and competitive analysis, so that subsequent meetings in China could focus on strategy, trends, and specific lessons learned.
We also organized a journalist mixer event for various foreign media in Beijing, which included the CNN Bureau Chief, the Dow Jones Bureau Chief, and correspondents from CBS News, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, the Far Eastern Economic Review, the South China Morning Post, and Marketplace International Radio. The intention of that meeting was to learn more about their experiences covering China's recent political, social, and economic developments.
We also wanted to learn more about the local MBA experience in China. Both the Beijing University and the Fudan University MBA programs kindly hosted our group for evening mixer events. This was a great chance for our group to exchange views and ideas about the differences between a Chinese and U.S. MBA experience. We have made friends with some of the students and have been keeping in touch since our return to New Haven.
In the spirit of inter-school exchange, Yale SOM actually hosted the Chancellor of Fudan University and the Deputy Dean of the Fudan Business School, and so our China Study Trip group was happy to return the welcome. Dean Lu and Chancelor Qin sat in on Professor Sonnenfeld's Leadership Across Sectors class. We hope that there will be further opportunities for the students from our two schools to collaborate in the future.
The Yale Club alumni associations in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing also hosted the group for dinners. The Yale Club of Hong Kong hosted a dinner right on Hong Kong Harbor at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The Yale Club of Shanghai hosted an event at a former residence of Mao Tze-tung. The Yale Club of Beijing hosted a special dinner and guest speaker who discussed recent changes in the management of China's social security fund. Mr. Gao spoke of at some length about how the government has looked at the investing philosophy of the Yale endowment as a source for ideas and inspiration.
During the trip, we also visited a variety of historic sites including the Peak in Hong Kong, the Bund in Shanghai, the West Lake in Hangzhou, the Great Wall, the Ming Tombs, and the Forbidden City in Beijing.
Part of the team is currently working with Professor Chen to compile our industry research into a book. We hope to publish the book by next spring.
The 2004 SOM Study Trip Team:
Professor Zhiwu Chen, Colm Rafferty, Evelyn Huangfu, Rebecca Chua, Steven She, Mike Huang, Chi Lai, Jonathon Swersey, David Greenbaum, Min Xu, Wechen Foo, Josh Chuang, Fuphan Chou, Kevin Ye, Fi Cheng, Melanie Rogers, Prabhu Chetan, Qiongna Ma, Amy Lu, Nick Halliwell, Natasha Walji
Colm Rafferty, Mike Huang