Graduate students study in China

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Twelve graduate students from the Seidman College of Business took a 10-day trip to China to learn about the business and economic growth of that country. The trip, from February 29-March 10, was part of Grand Valley’s full-time integrated MBA program.

The students who traveled were Elizabeth Blair, Corey Lake, Kimberly Miko, Clayton Engel, Scott Florek, Jeffrey Greig, Jacob Jansen-Yee, Kyle Shillito, Haley TeBos, Jonathan Wittkop, Benjamin Katerberg and Erika Bruinsma.

The students visited Shanghai, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Dongguaan, a newer city that has been at the forefront of China’s explosive growth. They toured the GM-Shanghai plant and the Lu Bo Lang Restaurant. They visited a shoe factory and a port and logistics warehouse, and met with local students to discuss culture differences between the U.S. and China.

“In Chengdu, we were excited to meet with students from the South Western University of Finance and Economics, who we had been talking with via video conferencing prior to meeting them in person,” said Engel. “We spent a day with them and toured a museum, went to a market, and played card games in a tea house.”

Engel said trust is everything in business relationships, especially in China. “A perfect example of this is the shoe factory owner and our host. Our host owns a shoe company and uses the factory for production. They have no written contracts of any kind,” he said.

Blair said: “We took nine flights to visit four cities in 10 days, so we were very busy. I gained appreciation and practical experience around building sincere and trusting relationships when doing business in China.”

The students shared their experiences at a reception April 16 in the University Club on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

FIMBA is a 14-month program designed for recently graduated business students. Unlike traditional MBA programs, the program is integrated in nature, using the full business cycle as a framework for lesson plans. Each student is guaranteed a paid fellowship which runs parallel with classes. Students also attend the Washington Campus Program in Washington, D.C., and participate in a study abroad experience. There is no extra fee to study abroad; the cost is built into the tuition.