For this summary blog, I will address 5 ways this trip will impact: ethical issues in my profession, educational breadth as professional development, lifelong learning and continuing education as professional development, the social environment of professional life, and functioning on multi-disciplinary teams.
As a future entrepreneur, there are many ethical issues in my profession. For instance, do I develop a product that harms the environment if it means more profit? Do I move to an Asian country and have them produce my product for a lower cost, even though I could be involved in child labor? Do I sacrifice the quality of my product for profit? These are just some of the tough decisions I will have to make as a future innovator. In China, I think the main ethical concerns entrepreneurs deal with our privacy, security, and environmental issues. These are very important issues that cannot be taken lightly and when making decisions, I will need to address how these situations will affect the stakeholders of the company as well as the survival of the actual company.
It took me a year in college to really understand how important educational breadth is. Even though I have taken about 5 core business classes already, I still believe the most important class for me this year was an English class. This class has really shaped me as a writer. Writing is a tool that I do utilize every day and is a skill that I need to continue to improve if I want to be successful. Other important classes that are not necessary “business classes” that I took include Calculus and Statistics. Increasing my numeracy skills will help me in the field of business/entrepreneurship. This experience in China certainly qualifies as educational breadth that will help my professional development. I went on more company visits in one day in China than I have in my entire life. These experiences alone will help me recognize the different strengths and weaknesses of companies when I visit them in the future.
This study abroad trip was full of lifelong learning experiences that will shape my personal and professional development. This trip blessed me with the opportunity to see various parts of China (the worlds 2nd largest Economy behind the U.S) at such a young age. We visited three cities (Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai) and during these two weeks, saw 6 different companies, 12 different cultural visits, and two Chinese universities. Seeing the difference between China and the U.S is something I will think about every day. Some cultural differences include China’s infrastructure being far superior including bullet trains, subways, and highways, having far more construction and high rises, much less smog then what is portrayed, meals are served in banquet style with only chopsticks, and a much longer existence compared to the United States. Understanding the differences and seeing them firsthand between the world’s two biggest economies is something I could never learn in a classroom setting. After all, a wise man once said: “Learning is 10% of what we read and 80% what we experience.”
The social environment of an entrepreneur is very complex and unique. You do not have a boss like most jobs because you are your own manager. However, you will have to hire workers and serve as their boss. Since you are running a business and are responsible for the end product, supply chain, marketing, and a lot of other things, you will need to interact with a great variety of people. If you are working with people from different countries, you will need to understand different languages and different cultures. For example, an American Entrepreneur creating a company in China will have to understand the difference in government systems, the different laws, and certainty the different language. If I ever do business in China (like I want to), I will certainly be better off now that I have been immersed in their country for two weeks.
Functioning on multi-disciplinary teams is definitely something new to all of us. Overall, I think this is important to our development as the majority of us will have to work with multiple internal divisions in a firm. Say theoretically I work in the finance department when I get older. Depending on what the firm does, I will most likely need to work with accountants, marketers, engineers, data analytics, and a variety of others in my everyday work. I liked having the groups as two business majors and two engineers because it allowed the business majors to present on what they are good at and the engineers to talk about what they know. If our group was all business majors or all engineers, the project certainly would not have been as efficient, technical, or informative.
My three words just 5 short weeks ago were large, populated, and Beijing. If I had to pick three words to describe China now, it would be unified, beautiful, and growing. However, describing this amazing and up and coming country in three words is not sufficient. This country is crazy, impressive, clean, historic, different, changing, capitalistic, respected, and if nothing else, easy to enjoy. China is not an extremely government controlled country like it is portrayed. It is not a place where you can’t walk down the streets because of how crowded it is and how polluted the air is. No, although it is still communist, a huge majority of the country acts just like America. Their businesses and cities are thriving and growing, and their “tourist attractions” are much more impressive, beautiful, and breathtaking then described. It is a country that I thought I would never want to live in, but now I feel inspired to learn Mandarin because I just might end up living there someday.