UCE students spend their mid-year break in Shanghai!

21 August 2019

This year, UC Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) and the UC International Relations Office sent Abel Gore (BCom), Alex Lyall (LLB/BA), and Nicole Nathan (LLB/BCom) to Fudan University in Shanghai during UC’s mid-year break, to take part in a course on Innovative China and Digital Entrepreneurship. We asked Abel, Alex and Nicole to sum up their Shanghai experience.

  • Fudan Campus

    From left to right, Nicole Nathan, Alex Lyall and Abel Gore at Fudan University School of Management.

Alibaba visit

Abel, Nicole and Alex visiting e-commerce giant, Alibaba.

This mid-year break, we were given the chance to attend Fudan University's BEYOND Summer Program in Shanghai, China. The two-week course was designed to provide insight into the current state of China's economy and business environment. Lectures looked at different topics such as e-commerce, digitalisation and artificial intelligence. It was also a great opportunity to make new friends and network. The course had over 50 students attending, representing over 20 different countries, adding a further dimension to an already very international course. 

The course was divided into several different activities. Lectures were, of course, a large component of many of the days. Experts gave robust and focused analyses on issues impacting the Chinese economy. This was done in a way that was balanced and impartial. The first lecture was designed specifically to give a detailed and unbiased picture of how China had moved over the past half-decade, and the subsequent lectures built on this. Some looked at general strategies such as social marketing and joint ventures while others explored tools like Big Data that were being uniquely harnessed by Chinese businesses. These were enhanced with case studies and in-class debates. 

When we weren't in lectures, we visited businesses including Tencent, Hupan University and the enormous Alibaba. At each location we were given a tour of the headquarters and an overview of some of the business’ key strategies. Not only were these fascinating places to wander around, they were often pleasant on the eyes. In particular, Hupan University was beautiful, and its pathways blended soundly with dense bush and forest. There was a practical component to these company visits too, and as part of our research for our final course presentation, we were encouraged to ask tough questions regarding each organisation’s operational style. 

Of course, a course full of hungry, young, ambitious students was not going to be complete without some networking, and there were plenty of opportunities for this. Guest lecturers were readily available on LinkedIn, and business leaders were open to an in-depth chat or even a pitch. The best networking took place at the Waldorf Astoria on the Bund. Here, surrounded by historic buildings and lavish decorations, we connected with professionals and other business students. It was also a good excuse to dress up and engage in a few beverages!

Some of the best networking happened with the other students on the course. The broad range of nationalities represented meant that there was a full spectrum of perspectives on each issue. The in-class brainstorms involved many different suggestions, reflecting the diversity of people in the room. Everybody in the course was affable and eager to make friends. Consequently, an unexpected result of the trip was the knowledge that there was a room for you to stay in, in almost every continent. 

The trip was amazing. We heard from the best, made lasting friendships, had our assumptions challenged, and got acquainted with one of the most powerful cities in the world right now. We would sincerely like to thank the Centre for Entrepreneurship, the College of Business and Law, and the International Relationships Office for making it happen.

 

Written by Abel Gore (BCom), Alex Lyall (LLB/BA), and Nicole Nathan (LLB/BCom)

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