By Scott D. McKeon
Scott McKeon is a current Eller Evening MBA student with CKS Advisors LLC in Scottsdale.
We could read textbook after textbook and never understand a fraction of what we were able to come to understand and experience while on the MBA Global Experience in China. The learning came from virtually every interaction — the morning newspaper, listening to the commentary from the tour guides, walking the streets, and reading the supplementary reading materials including cultural notes and a book on Chinese business etiquette. Everything supplemented the lectures from local business leaders and consultants.
A speaker at OshKosh gave an excellent overview of business in China. She affirmed that the newfound vocabulary we learned in class was up-to-date and relevant. She mentioned MNC’s and the necessity of doing JV’s with local firms. She also mentioned how important is was to include CSR’s in your business plan, because this is very important to the Chinese.
I write this at the end of Monday, our first day back from China. My newfound awareness of China was heightened by a series of serendipitous interactions with Chinese business via meetings or on the news.
- On my way to work the BBC radio indicated that there were protests in Taiwan as a result of a trading pact between China and Taiwan that the Taiwanese feel will benefit China more than it will their own people. (We found out from a tour guide that there are hundreds of protests a day in China.)
- The president of a national home builder sent me an article indicating unrest and protests as a result of skyrocketing home prices in some areas of China and volatile prices in other areas. Investors realize they are going to lose money, and are putting pressure on the state owned banks to do something for them. Many think there is a huge bubble about to burst.
- I was invited to a meeting this morning with a representative from a Chinese private equity fund. He was looking for opportunities to invest in companies with technology and product in the following categories; Human, Animal, and Plant. More specifically healthcare, nutrition, agriculture, fertilizer and renewable energy. His plan was to bring together U.S ingenuity, German engineering, and Chinese manufacturing. The drive for these categories was illustrated by his explicit comment that the air is bad, the soil is bad, and the water is bad (in China).
- On my way home I listened to an interview with Jin Liqun, Chairman of China International Capital Corp., regarding his view on the Chinese economy and environment. An interesting take-away is his indication that China is now entering a war on pollution, like the war they started the war on poverty 30 years ago. His thoughts were that every developing country has issues with pollution in the course of economic and social development.
- On the front page of my internet homescreen, Bloomberg News, was an article about the resignation of Fang Fang from J.P. Morgan China, accused of hiring family members of government officials in order to obtain business from the government. This is no surprise given the importance of family and guanxi, or connections, in China.
While I doubt that every day will be so concentrated with news from and about China, I can clearly see how this portion of my education has made me much more aware of and relevant in the world of business, which has clearly gone global.
Top photo welcomes the Eller MBA Class of 2014. Photo courtesy Scott McKeon.