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Business Students Study Abroad in China 10-Day Experience

Students at the Great Wall of China

EKU’s College of Business and Technology is full of educational and exciting opportunities, which is no exception for the Fall 2015 China Business Education Abroad class.

The trip which has been organized over the years by Dr. Ed Fenton, gives students the opportunity to travel to China to learn more about corporations abroad. This particular section traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, and Suzhou from October 8th-18th. Professors Burke Christensen, and Siwei Gao also accompanied the students as they visited a variety of companies including KPMG, Zurich, Ogilvy & Mather, Caterpillar, AIA, and CCCC LTD.

Dr. Siwei Gao organized the visit to Zurich in Beijing. Zurich Insurance Group, Ltd., is a Swiss insurance company, commonly known as Zurich, headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland. The company is Switzerland's largest insurer. As of 2013, the group was the world's 75th largest public company according to Forbes' Global 2000s list, and in 2011 it ranked 94th in Interbrand's Top 100 Brands. Mr. Charlie Chen, Director at Zurich General Insurance Company (China) Limited, gave a presentation to the EKU students.

Another notable tour, also organized by Dr. Gao, was AIA (Shanghai). AIA Group Limited is the largest independent public listed pan-Asian life insurance group. It has a presence in 18 markets in Asia-Pacific, wholly owned branches and subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Macau, Brunei, a 97 percent subsidiary in Sri Lanka, a 26 percent joint venture in India, and representative offices in Myanmar and Cambodia. Mr. Lance, head of AIA Corporate Solutions, visited with EKU students.

Students like William 'Tyler' Gilbert, a senior from Barbourville, Ky., had the experience of a lifetime during this trip. However, the learning began long before the plane took off. “Dr. Fenton assigned three readings over the summer that pertained to the cultural, economic, and progressive initiatives in China. The readings were interesting, and prepared me for certain subtle cultural differences that I experienced while in China. We also had several class meetings in which we were required to prepare fact sheets for all of the companies that we would visit in Beijing, Shanghai, and Suzhou, respectively.”

The students not only had a chance to visit various corporations, but other universities as well. According to Dr. Gao, “We visited two universities: Peking University and Tsinghua University. They are the top two universities in China, comparable to Harvard and MIT in the States. At Peking University we met three professors and some of their students. One professor gave us a brief presentation about their school. After the presentation, we took a tour around the Peking University campus. At Tsinghua University we met a group of students. Our students had an opportunity to chat with their students freely. Our students had a great experience there. One student told me that she really enjoyed the meeting with Tsinghua students. She said she’d even rank it better than the Great Wall trip!”

Gilbert is not likely to forget a single experience, even though the days were often a whirlwind of activity. “We began in Beijing, visiting Zurich and CCCC on consecutive days. While in Beijing we also got a chance to visit and interact with students from Peking University and Tsinghua University. From there, we took the high-speed train to Shanghai and visited KPMG. The following day, we traveled to nearby Suzhou to visit Caterpillar manufacturing.  On the final day of company visits, we toured both AIA and Ogilvy and Mather.”

The trip was not all work and no play. Along with the Great Wall of China excursion, students saw the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, and the Jade Buddha Temple. 

Fenton requires research papers due later this semester. Presentations about the trip and research projects will be given by the MBA students on Tuesday December 1 at 5:00 p.m. in BTC 101.

-written by McKenna Bowling, Student Assistant
Office of the Dean, EKU College of Business and Technology

Published on November 02, 2015

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