Exploring China through the Operations Global lab

During the first two weeks of May 2018, I had the opportunity to attend Fisher’s Operations Global Lab in China and Hong Kong. I choose this trip because I have wanted to travel the world my entire life. I had been to a country in Europe and knew I would go back there along with Africa, Australia and South America, but knew I would never travel by myself to Asia for fun. Also, my specialization is operations management, so it seemed like the perfect fit for me. We were able to travel to different businesses in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing in order to understand the business realm of China. We also got to experience the culture and history of China.

I was able to learn so much about China and different business markets through this trip. After I attended this trip, I realized that even though people speak another language and have another culture, we can still relate to one another. I had always looked China as almost another world until actually visiting. I now see how interconnected the world is and continues to grow together. Many of the people I met while in China were kind, willing to share their culture and wanted to know more about my culture. It surprised me a lot.

Being a business major, getting to speak to heads of leading companies in China and Hong Kong was insightful. I now feel that I have a better understanding of how business in China works. We also got to experience many cultural differences in work ethic and business culture. Seeing these cultural differences allowed us to see differences with international companies. Having this experience will enhance my ability to adapt in different types of businesses.

Culturally, we got to see examples of the Buddhist religion and experience people exercising their faith in-person. Additionally, for me, getting to eat authentic Asian cuisine for two weeks was a transformational experience. I rarely ate at Chinese places in America, so I was a little nervous to be outside of my comfort zone. However, getting try all the rice, noodles, dumplings and even peking duck was amazing. I catch myself missing sitting around a table eating family style off of a lazy susan.

The Great Wall of China was definitely my favorite part of the entire trip. Getting to see one of the seven wonders of the world has always been a dream of mine and climbing on it was very surreal. I never realized how intricate the details were and how unique each part of the wall is. You can be walking up one-inch steps and then suddenly you are on your hands and knees literally climbing the steps. Getting to step where the soldiers once stepped was surreal.

Operations Global Lab – 中国站,14日小结

2017年5月俄亥俄州立大学三年级的学生孔钰参与了Operations Global Lab 项目,并深入感受了中国商业文化。

如果你和我一样,在美国学习但又希望在不久的将来回到自己的家乡工作,那么Operations Global Lab应该会是你的不二选择。在这个项目里,我们来到中国各地,例如香港,上海;我们还会参观各式各样的公司和工厂,也有和政府深入对话的机会。我们看到了那些出现在我们课堂里的概念和策略,其结合了中国特色的文化,生动的在这里展现。

我们首先去了香港。在香港,我们穿梭在各个高楼大厦之间,参观不同领域的公司;也来到港口,感受这个国际大都市是如何操作它的每天货物流通;我们还去了美国驻香港领事馆,了解美国与香港在商业操作上的差异与相似之处。

让我印象最深刻的是TAL公司。TAL是一家服装生产公司,今年刚好是他们成立的70周年。他们热情得接待了我们,并且邀请各个部门的领导,用一天的时间给我们讲解他们的战略策略和操作理念。我在学校也辅修了服装零售专业,并且希望能够将我在这两个领域学习到的知识很好的运用到我之后的工作中。TAL员工们传递给我们的信息弥足珍贵,是无法仅仅通过课堂或实习能得到的。

之后我们又花了一天的时间,跨过海峡,来到对岸的深圳,参观了俄州大校友王先生的工厂。作为一个供应链管理专业的学生,这是我第一次参观车间,第一次切实看到在课堂上被反复提及的5s, Kanban等操作在实际工作场合上的应用。

结束香港的行程后,我们又来到了中国江浙一带:上海,杭州和苏州。在这些地方,我又有感受到了与香港不一样的体验。相较于香港,这些城市里的公司或工厂显得比较没有那么快节奏了。尤其是参观到太太乐,这个中国本土品牌的时,这些对比变得更加明显。太太乐是一个在中国家喻户晓的品牌。我们参观了其在上海的工厂,并与它的总裁共通参加一个亲密的座谈会。在座谈会上,我们了解到虽然太太乐被雀巢收购,但它依旧有一个独立的自我操作系统。而且在座谈会上,总裁也一直谈起“一带一路”政策对公司的影响。这一点是我们在之前的公司里没有听到过的。

这个项目对我而言受益匪浅。在这个项目里,我认识了很多来自不同专业的同学。我们虽然有着不同的文化背景,但却都被这个国际化的经济社会所吸引。在这14天的旅程中,我们相互交流,相互学习。而且,在参观完这些公司后,我更加坚定了学习供应链管理的决心。

A Personal Invitation to Operations Global Lab – China

In preparation for 2018 Operations Global Lab, Professor Dickstein reflects on his own experience in Hong Kong and China.

My first passport in the early 70s explicitly banned travel to and acceptance for passage in China (as well as North Korea, North Vietnam, and Cuba).  But with Nixon’s surprise visit in 1972 orchestrated by Henry Kissinger, relations gradually improved (sometimes referred to as the period of “ping pong diplomacy”, reflecting an early exchange of visits) and the door crept open.  Coincidentally, I was in Hong Kong just months after this historic event, and any worries about using my U.S. passport for entry into Canton (now Guangzhou) were dispelled by a U.S. consular official who simply used a magic marker to cross out China from the list of banned countries.  In the years since I have made five visits into China and twice as many into Hong Kong, a one-time British colony until July 1997 and a logistical gateway with its modern infrastructure into all of Southeast Asia.

Going back nearly 10,000 years China was the largest and most advanced civilization on earth.  The remarkable engineering feat of the Great Wall was completed about 1700 years BEFORE Columbus’ voyage to the New World. As recently as the 1270s, Marco Polo was “astonished at the wealth of China”.

This advancement was not sustained due to violent competition for power, the Japanese invasions in the 1900s, and Mao’s destructive decade of the Cultural Revolution in the mid-1960s that further impoverished the population.  The past forty plus years have witnessed an unprecedented pace of development.  Today, China is the world’s most populous country and the largest participant in global trade, with 2015 imports + exports of nearly 4 trillion USD.  (The comparable total for the U.S. in second position is 3.8 trillion).

Our trip provides an opportunity to experience firsthand some of the world’s most advanced infrastructure (airports, high speed rail) and oldest culture.  While Hong Kong may be a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, 100 years of British rule have left an outward, global perspective and a strong rule of law.  In the most recent Ease of Doing Business rankings prepared by the World Bank, Hong Kong is #4 (compared to the United States at #8).

We have taken the inputs of the 2017 participants and enriched the program by adding several days in Beijing, the cultural (as well as administrative) capital of China.  I am very excited to share with OSU students such exciting destinations that resonate in my personal life and business career and, hopefully, will prove an equally memorable event in yours.  While my longevity does not quite reach back to the era of Marco Polo, I continue to view the country with a similar sense of wonder.

If you are interested in international business, cultural uniqueness, or history, this trip will allow you to explore an emerging country that increasingly shapes the world’s political and economic landscape.  Please join us for Fisher’s second undergraduate program in China, a two week exposure to business, politics, culture and even a great deal of fun.