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EMBA students talk business in China

Eye-opening insights into international business culture were on the itinerary for a group of postgraduate business students from the University of the Sunshine Coast during a recent study tour to China.

Twenty-six Executive Master of Business Administration and MBA students spent nine days in Beijing and Chongqing, where they visited the Chinese headquarters of multinational companies such as Lenovo and researched China’s unique consumer and business markets.

USC Professor of Marketing Meredith Lawley, who accompanied the group to China, said the study tour allowed students to implement the knowledge and skills learned during their EMBA and MBA programs in a real-world context.

“A majority of the students who attended the tour are senior managers with at least five to seven years’ experience, including CEOs, business owners, health professionals, school principals, and financial and banking executives,” Professor Lawley said.

“However, only one or two had visited China before and most had not experienced the realities of conducting business in Asia, which is Australia’s major trading partner. So the tour was a really rewarding experience for them.”

As part of their coursework, EMBA and MBA students are required to identify a business opportunity within China, or to develop a strategy for importing services or products from China to the Sunshine Coast. Professor Lawley said the trip was designed to crystallise the theory behind this assessment.

“By being on the ground in China, students learn where the business opportunities are, different models of entry into the Chinese market, and how you interact in business situations,” Professor Lawley said. “It exposes them to the reality of doing business in China, which is often quite different to their existing beliefs or assumptions.

“We also require students to participate in a field immersion day, where they need to get themselves around a major city, conduct local research and prepare a presentation, which is quite challenging when you don’t speak Chinese.” 

The students were also accompanied by USC Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management Dr Retha de Villiers Scheepers, and Head of School of Business Professor Mike Clements.

Overseas study tours are a popular optional component of all postgraduate business degrees offered at USC.

The study tour was supported by funding from USC International.

— Jarna Baudinette

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