October 4, 2012

Studying an International MBA in China

Post by: Gilberto Millares
International MBA, ‘13

Imagine moving thousands of miles away from home to a place with a language you don’t understand, a life style opposite to what you are used to, and knowing absolutely no one. Sounds exciting, right? That is exactly how 27 students coming from 14 different countries started the International MBA program this past summer. Specifically for me, after a trip of about 27 hours from Mexico City to San Francisco and then Beijing, I finally arrived in an exotic place where I would share my life with a group of strangers who quickly became my friends and family. After a couple of days of wandering around Beijing and overcoming the worst of the jet lag, we finally started a summer of intense work and play.

During this summer we studied the core classes of the MBA such as accounting, marketing, operations management and others. We discussed cases and crunched their numbers; we developed and presented business plans; we stayed up long nights working on an integrated project and studying for the midterm and final exams. Overall, we did all the typical classroom stuff required for any MBA.

But we also learned about other business and working styles, especially how business happens in China. We learned about Indian dances, Greek politics and economy, about the Red Sox and Peruvian food. By immersing in all these cultures through living and studying with people from all around the world, we learned how to manage people that might have completely different backgrounds and cultures, how to manage crisis and how to live and work in teams. Overall, we learned the hardest part of business: managing people and getting the best out of one another.

So, how did we do this? Well, we started by living for a month in Beijing and then two in Shanghai. We had guest lecturers, visited local and international companies, and explored important cultural places such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. In our spare time, we would eat out both at street meat grills and in fancy mandarin duck restaurants; we would go bargaining to markets and dancing in basements with locals. We strived to understand the motivations of the Chinese and their vision for the future, to see how they have achieved such prolonged growth. We studied China and the world with a completely new perspective that will better allow us to make decisions with a global perspective. Most importantly, we learned how to bring back all this knowledge and apply it to our future careers and businesses.

Gilberto Millares is an International MBA student with experience in strategy and operations consulting and an expert in cooking noodles and dumplings, skills aquired during his summer in China.

1 comment:

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