One of the highlights of the Frankfurt School Part-time MBA is the one-week module abroad at CEIBS in Shanghai. It was one of the most exciting parts of the programme, many of us were looking forward to it and it was a fantastic experience for every student.
First, there were plenty of interesting activities planned. The great partnership between Frankfurt School and CEIBS ensured that we received another great learning experience during our stay in Shanghai. CEIBS welcomed us with great hospitality on their campus and everything was perfectly planned. Together with some very highly skilled Professors at CEIBS, we had the chance to discuss multiple topics such as: The New Era of State Capitalism, Negotiations in China and Marketing in China. We also received plenty of good insights on how private businesses can compete in a market largely dominated by State Owned Enterprises (SOE). In addition to that, we had the opportunity to have a few company visits during our time there. We visited a data analytics company, which showed us its very impressive artificial intelligence capabilities. Another interesting visit we had, was at PwC Shanghai. Here we had the chance to learn more about the digital evolution in China and PwC’s venture in the blockchain technology. We also visited the German Centre in Shanghai, where we had a very interactive session with the CEO. We discussed the opportunities and challenges of the bilateral Chinese-German trade relationship and cooperation. Moreover we gained extensive insights on how German companies are conducting their business in an environment, which is very different to what they are used to in the West. We also completed our corporate strategy module lecture at the German Centre led by Professor Gianluigi Giustiziero our Frankfurt School Professor, who accompanied us on that trip.
When it comes to the cultural aspect, there were plenty of new things to discover in China. From mastering the Chinese negotiation techniques at the local markets to getting used to the advanced digital ecosystem that put China ahead of everyone else – where even homeless people on the street are receiving money via digital payment apps. Overall, there were plenty of “first-time-ever” moments for us to experience. Another important element to look out for when anyone is travelling overseas is food. Taking part in some food tours at night, we learned the differences between China’s different local cuisines. We certainly got used to Chinese food very quickly; especially dishes like spicy Chinese hotpot and beef ramen noodles. We also went the extra mile tasting more unusual dishes such as jelly fish, frogs, bamboos and rabbit head. To learn more about China, many of us took the chance to take a trip to the capital Beijing for a few days. We had the chance to climb up a few steps of the Great Wall, paid a visit to the great sage master Confucius’s temple, took a walk in the forbidden city and even went to the zoo to see one of China’s national symbols – the giant Panda.
Besides all the serious stuff, we decided to roll back the years a little. From enjoying some drinks at the roof-top bars overseeing the Bund river and partying at the top of the second tallest building in Shanghai, to feel like VIPs at some of the exclusive clubs in Beijing, we did have some great nights to remember.
The module abroad in China will remain an unforgettable experience for the part -time MBA class of 2020. This experience will help us as future business leaders when it comes to conducting business in China. As they say in China, if you are in China less than 2 years, you can be considered a Chinese expert. Therefore, we can now call ourselves expert of China – at least for a short while.