Plus3 China Conclusions

Studying the business climate in China was an incredible experience. It allowed me to see things from a different perspective, for example I could see how cultural differences affect business practices, and I learned so much that I will be able to take with me throughout the rest of my college career and well beyond. One of the differences I was able to observe between business in the US and in China had to do with government involvement. Since the government is much more hands on in regards to regulating business in China, firms also have to abide by different laws and often operate more closely with the government. There is also much more government regulation just in day to day life, for example with the existence of the “Great Firewall” which prohibits people from visiting certain sites. This regulation leads to less privacy for users, which has been an ethical issue heavily discussed in the media recently. For example, Facebook received a lot of backlash for collecting data about users. Also, one of the reasons the company Huawei is not allowed in the US is because the US government is afraid they will use the cell phones to collect data and report private information back to the Chinese government. For any business, it is important to have customer data so you can predict buying preferences, tendencies, and so forth, but how this data is acquired and how much companies should be able to access is a huge ethical issue that has to be taken into account. It was interesting to explore this ethical dilemma in China because they obviously take a very different perspective on the issue because people use their private information much more freely, as seen with the widespread use of mobile payment. I’m sure each business we visited has had to deal with subject in some capacity and it is something that I will have to continue to think about as I pursue a career in business.

In addition to dealing with key ethical issues, employees at the companies we visited also had to have a large breadth of knowledge. In any business, particularly global ones, it is important to be very well rounded and have knowledge in many different areas because, working in business there are so many factors that can affect your firm. For example, the woman who gave us the Huawei tour had to know a lot of information about all the different capacities of the business and was quite knowledgeable about each of them, even though she didn’t specialize in any of the areas. So, when working in business, it is important to have a general understanding of all the different aspects that go into your firm so that you can be more informed and do your job better.

Also, business is constantly changing so even after we graduate, it’s important to continue to learn about the evolving environment. When we start our jobs, we will be exposed to new things and will have to constantly learn how to adapt. For example, if I end up working in international business, I will have to learn about the different countries I work with to understand their economies and cultures, so I can be better at doing business with them. As I learned from the Americans we talked to who moved to China, graduating from college doesn’t mean you stop learning as they proved by moving to a new country to learn a new language and a new culture. This is not to say to move you have to move to another country to continue learning, but we will constantly have to learn new things about our environments and our jobs so that we can stay competitive in the work environment.  Every time I have traveled, I have learnt more about different cultures and people and I’m sure when I start my career will constantly be learning new things about the business I’m in, especially as technology is constantly changing, so it is important to have an open mindset and allow yourself to welcome new things and learn from them.

In addition to these factors, other important ones that contributes to the business environment are the social factors. The people you work with are very important because they determine the climate of the workplace, so it is important to be courteous and to learn how to work cohesively. Communication is also a big part of maintaining a good social environment and when you work on a global scale, this can be a bit more challenging. As seen at our company visits, there are so many moving parts in a firm, so it is necessary to be able to communicate with your coworkers so that you can achieve a common goal. To do this on an international scale, it can important to have at least a basic understanding of your colleagues’ culture so that you can understand each other better and respect each other to create a healthier more productive work environment.

Furthermore, in the professional environment, you often have to work with people from different departments working in different disciplines. Working on a multi-disciplinary team can be very advantageous because the team is more well-rounded and you have more perspectives as well as more knowledge on a broader amount of topics. This can also be a bit more challenging because people from different areas sometimes work differently. We got a little taste of this when working on our group projects because we were in a team of two business students and two engineers, and even the students in each school were in different majors, so there was a lot of variety within our groups. This was helpful when developing a product because we were able to consider more factors, not just from the business side but also from the engineering side, for example how we are going to make or run said product. In our group however, we noticed some differences between the business and engineering students in how we are used to going about a project. We saw this when writing our business plan because the other business student and I wanted to make an outline and plan everything out before we started and the engineers’ mindsets were more consistent with figuring it out as you go, so it was interesting to see that difference arise, but nevertheless we were able to work together productively.

All in all, this trip allowed me to take a deeper look into many aspects of business, especially on a global scale and allowed me to learn a lot, not just about the industry there, but about the economy of China and business practices as a whole. I feel that I acquired a lot of useful skills throughout the course of this program and I think it will allow me to be more successful in my business classes back at Pitt and in my career, when I eventually go into the workforce.

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