Tag: Shanghai



Sharon Mazimba at the Yu Garden in Shanghai.

Sharon Mazimba, MBA ’19, wrote this for the Olin Blog.

After what seemed like months of preparation, two flight delays, and the longest 16-hour flight later, we landed in Shanghai, China, a group of about 70 first- and second-year MBAs, exhausted but intact and ready for the intense week ahead. They were all part of a spring break overseas intensive designed to provide globally based education for the students and pilot the expanded global MBA experience for the incoming class of 2021 MBA students.

The next morning, we dove straight into our operations course, eager to understand how strategy is implemented through operations, specifically looking at the retail industry. The course would occur over the week, a mix of talks from retail industry experts, practical excursions—including visits to Zara, Uniqlo and H&M stores in the busy Pudong shopping area—a factory visit to Mudoo (a sports apparel factory) and the newly built Adidas distribution center in Suzhou.

Both the talks and excursions were an eye-opening look into the retail process from end to end, as well as the nature of business in China and how different it is from the US or other western countries. There is a highly relational and perception-based approach in the Chinese market, aspects of which I observed throughout the week. Two experiences in particular drive this home for me.

Me at the Yu Gardens
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The first was a talk by Olin EMBA student Salem Cibani, who attends the program in Shanghai’s Fudan University, who shared key insights about the fashion industry. He spoke about Ports 1961, a luxury brand launched in Canada, which then moved to China to take advantage of opportunities there.

The move required the brand to completely shift their strategy in China; their products were priced significantly higher in the Chinese market because of the perception that a higher price and a distinctly Chinese aesthetic equated higher quality.

The second was how long it took to plan and build the Adidas distribution center—a three-year endeavor that involved significant pre-planning and relationship building to accomplish. This was the example most salient to me; other speakers and our Shanghai located mentors also gave a number of anecdotes about how you had to know people and be well-connected to truly establish yourself in the Chinese market and get things done.

While we learned a lot, we also had a chance to explore small but extremely cool areas of Shanghai. The city is vast and one week is not nearly enough to see it all. The Bund had amazing views of Shanghai Tower, the Yu Garden was a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, and the Tianzifang area had amazing souvenirs, quaint tea shops, and my favorite—lots of street food!

Looking back on this trip, one of my most significant takeaways (and something I will be carrying into my career moving forward) was how critical it is to tailor your strategy to different cultures; especially if you are looking to be a global player. Most businesses fail at this. The second was how incredibly unique China is. The country’s manufacturing capabilities have allowed the country to become a hotspot for major retailers to go for their apparel needs while still maintaining a distinctly Chinese way of conducting business. It was a fascinating phenomenon to observe and be a part of.




Kurt Dirks and Kevin Xu

The annual China alumni dinner was March 9, 2019, in Shanghai, featuring about 400 alumni—incoming students, parents and friends of Washington University for the forum and meal.

The annual event aims to increase the visibility of Washington University overseas and to reconnect international alumni in China.

Kevin Xu, chair of the China Alumni Club and International Alumni, Michael Shen and EMOF Class 16 co-organized the event.

Kurt Dirks, vice chancellor for international affairs and Bank of America Professor of Leadership, attended the dinner and shared updates of Washington University with the attendees. He also thanked Kevin Xu for his outstanding leadership of China Alumni Club.

Faculty, staff and guest attendees included:

  • Ohad Kadan, H. Frederick Hagemann, Jr. Professor of Finance and Vice Dean for Education and Globalization at Olin Business School.
  • Steve Malter, senior associate dean of undergraduate and graduate programs at Olin Business School.
  • David Konig, professor of history and professor of law at Washington University School of Law.
  • Bill Xu, head of China office, Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Emma Zhao, international alumni and development programs.
  • Paul Shao, managing director for the Washington University–Fudan University joint Executive MBA program in Shanghai.
  • Roy Li, investment associate at Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Dean Xiongwen Lu, School of Management, Fudan University



If you’ve noticed a cluster of students moving around Knight Hall and Bauer Hall in similar garb, you’ve caught a glimpse of class spirit from the soon-to-graduate Shanghai EMBA class.

The 66 members of Shanghai EMBA 16 arrived in St. Louis this week for a final week of classes before today’s graduation ceremony. And their orange (for women) and blue (for men) cardigan sweaters turned more than a few heads—thanks to the inspiration of a few class members and the apparel company founded by a classmate.

Members of the EMBA Shanghai class 16 attending a last week of class before graduation on October 26.

Members of the EMBA Shanghai class 16
attending a last week of class before graduation on October 26.

“They wanted to be good-looking when they were together taking pictures. And they also wanted a souvenir of their time in the class,” said Linus Fan, founder and owner of Nena apparel company in Guangzhou, China. He put his designers to work, interviewing 10 members of the class for more information about what they wanted.

Then, he rushed the uniforms into production. Within 45 days of hatching the idea, the class had its official uniform—donated by Fan’s company.

“Mainly, we just focused on the sweaters,” he said. “They wanted to be able to wear this for a long time, even after graduating, and something that would be satisfactory for everyday wear—not too formal.”

Fan founded Nena nearly five years ago after a long career in the apparel business and a master’s degree in Manchester, England. After a number of years, he decided he needed a more broad understanding of all aspects of business, which led him to seek his MBA. The reputation of WashU’s EMBA program in partnership with Fudan University—along with its standing among global EMBA rankings—led him to join the Shanghai program.

Fan took a two-hour flight each month to and from Shanghai for his courses while running his company, which employs 215 people focused on apparel design and manufacturing, serving clients who want to market and sell their own lines of apparel in their stores.




The Executive MBA International Residency is often the student favorite of the program’s four required residencies. In between once-in-a-lifetime visits to historic sites in Shanghai and Beijing, EMBA students meet with program alumni and business leaders, exploring China’s unique economy, markets, and global leadership.

EMBA 49 recently returned from the International Management Residency—and if these photos from EMBA Student Services Manager Cory Barron is any indication, it was an exciting experience.

Monday: Facing strategic challenges

After a day of sightseeing at The Great Wall and Forbidden City, students buckled down for business on Monday. They kicked off the residency with site visits to Nestlé’s R&D Center and Xiaozhu.com, the Chinese Airbnb.

After a tour of Nestlé’s R&D Center, Stanford Lin, Vice President & Head of Strategy and Business Development for Nestlé-China, presented EMBA 49 with a strategy challenge. Teams were asked to develop a product to address complex strategic challenges while navigating global, regional, and industry considerations—within a 30-minute time frame.

Terrell Jones presents his thoughts on the team’s marketing strategy, while team members Mehul Gandhi and Matt Reasor listen. 

Melinda Chu explains her team’s product concept under the scrutiny of Nestlé’s Stanford Lin, VP & Head of Strategy & Business Development, and Roberto Reniero, Head of R&D, Nestlé China.

 

Next on the agenda was Xiaozhu.com. Founded in 2012, the Chinese version of Airbnb has expanded to branches in 13 cities all over the country, with house sources covering more than 130 domestic cities.

Students learned about the difficulties Xiaozhu initially faced in establishing a sharing culture in China. However, Xiaozhu.com CEO Kelvin Chen says the company is now adding 1,500 new listings per day.

Xiaozhu translates to Piglet. Piglet is a sign of a happy home.

Panlan Shi shows EMBA 49 the floor of coders building Xiaozhu. 

 

Tuesday: Taking in Shanghai

EMBA 49 took Tuesday to travel (via high-speed train) from Beijing to Shanghai for the rest of the week’s activities. After arriving in Shanghai, the group took in Shanghai’s skyline on a dinner cruise of the Huangpu River.

Jared Ogden passes the time crocheting while speeding south on the train. He says he learned the skill while trapped by a storm in Alaska, where he had plenty of time to learn a new skill. 

A closer look at Jared’s quality craftsmanship.

 

EMBA 49 cruising on the Huangpu River, which separates the new, glitzy Shanghai Financial District from the older, European architecture of the Bund area.

 

Wednesday: Exploring consumer preferences & entrepreneurship

With a few site visits under their belt, EMBA 49 was ready to delve deeper into China’s economy. Speakers from Weber Shandwick, McKinsey & Co., Sigmatex, and AmCham covered a myriad of topics, from China’s entrepreneurial digital revolution to Chinese consumers and the regional economy.

Later, students put their negotiations skills to the test with a visit to the Shanghai Fabric Market.

Darren Burns, President of Weber Shandwick–China, describes how his company’s PR and advertising campaigns are reaching the middle-class Chinese consumer online. Using live streaming is a critical part of their strategy for their Western clients trying to join the conversation in China.

Mehul Gandhi looks pleased when his negotiations calculate to an agreeable price at the Shanghai Fabric Market.

John Ortegon negotiates a better price on a new scarf while at the fabric market.

 

Thursday: Site visit to ZTE Corp. & business panel

EMBA 49 kicked off Thursday with a site visit to ZTE Corp.’s R&D Center. ZTE is the global leader in telecommunications and information technology, achieving an annual revenue of more than $15.3 billion in 2016.

Since 2010, ZTE has been ranked among the world’s Top 3 for patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, so it seemed a natural starting point for Executive MBAs to learn more about corporate innovation.

EMBA received a warm welcome from the staff at the ZTE R&D Center.

EMBA 49 looking sharp in their ZTE lab coats.

The cohort was then treated to a panel discussion featuring leaders from Novus Intl., Dun and Bradstreet, and Qingdao ADR Axles China Manufacturing Co.—two of whom are alumni (Chiara Radrizzani and Jesse Huang, both EMBA Shanghai Class 14 graduates).

At Thursday afternoon’s executive round table, Flemming Mahs, Managing Director of Asia Pacific, Novus Intl.; Huang Jiexi, Privacy and Compliance Director for Asia, Dun and Bradstreet; and Chiara Radrizzani, Asia Pacific CEO, ADR Group, share with EMBA 49 the cultural intricacies of doing business in China. 

 

Friday and Saturday: Field Studies & Fudan University

EMBA teams spent Friday working on their marketing research projects, breaking out into groups for health care and consumer field study.

The students also got a taste of life as an Executive MBA-Shanghai student, sitting in on a class with Finance Prof. Todd Milbourn and exploring the campus at Fudan University, Olin’s global partner in the Executive MBA-Shanghai degree program.

Friday’s sunrise in Shanghai.


Learn more about the curriculum and residency opportunities in Olin’s Executive MBA program.

Guest blogger: Cory Barron, Student Services Manager, EMBA team




Olin Business School’s Executive MBA program in partnership with Fudan University in China is number seven in the 2017 Financial Times’ annual ranking of the world’s top 100 EMBA programs.This survey marks the sixth consecutive year that the Olin-Fudan EMBA has been ranked in the FT’s top ten global programs.

Alumni of the Olin-Fudan program reported gains in the important areas of salary increase, career progress, and work experience. Olin-Fudan EMBA graduates are among the top earners of the schools in the ranking with an average salary of $360,250, the third highest globally.

“Olin’s partnership with Fudan University pioneered the executive MBA in China in 2002 and has consistently been a leader,” said Mark Taylor, dean of Olin Business School. “The large number of top American and European business schools that have followed us to Asia in recent years are a testament to our successful program and our outstanding alumni who have propelled their global careers to new heights after earning the Olin-Fudan EMBA degree.”

The Financial Times ranking is based on two surveys: one of business schools and one of their alumni who graduated in 2014. Criteria in 16 categories are weighted for the overall ranking. For more on the FT ranking methodology and details of this year’s survey, link to the Oct. 16 edition of the FT.