These past two weeks have been the opportunity of a lifetime and I am so thankful for being able to participate in this program. I have learned so much about China and its culture, history, and some of the businesses that are helping China evolve into one of if not the largest economy in the world. Traveling through Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai allowed me to experience new cities that are much different from cities here in the US. Transportation was another shock for me, being able to travel anywhere in these expansive cities for a low price was amazing, even more so with the fact that I was able to navigate easily without speaking Chinese or knowing the city. Food also shocked me too, having these round-table group meals allowed me to try many different dishes from different regions of China all while daring my friends to try different foods that we had no idea what they were. Overall, Plus 3 China was an amazing experience that I never want to forget and am so thankful that I participated in.
There are many ethical issues within the field of engineering, mainly stemming from the Engineering Code of Conduct. We learned about the Code of Conduct this year in our Engineering 0011 and 0012 classes and all our work had to uphold that Code of Conduct. One of the main ethical issues relating to this code of conduct is the perception of a product or company. This is a combination of a lot of specific codes in the Code of Conduct but is almost as crucial to engineering a product itself. We could see this when we visited Huawei and their magnificent showcase center. It was classier and fancier than any hotel or restaurant I have ever set foot in and it also showcased Huawei’s variety of technology and products. Maintaining a good image is important since even though I was in shock and awe of the technology they were putting out, most of the group and I were also shocked at the elaborate presentation of it all. Is it necessary to have a glass chandelier and red carpet? No but it’s what most of us remember about Huawei despite all of the controversy with their CFO and relations with the US.
Educational Breadth is also very important especially to my own Professional Development. With this China trip, I not only gained contacts that I can reference or talk to if I visit China again, but I also gained experiences that I will be able to reference to at later times. Being able to learn about the smartphone industry firsthand in China allowed me to learn so much about a current issue that is changing the business, engineering, and economic world. This can help me when I search for a job in the future as a topic that can catch an interviewer’s eye, or a benefit to a job that may be in the smartphone industry. Additionally, talks at the various universities we visited allowed me to learn more about topics such as Big Data or trade gave me a different perspective about a topic I knew a little about. Studying and learning abroad not only gave me experiences that I can reference in a professional setting, but also allowed me to expand and switch my thinking to a different viewpoint.
Learning throughout my life and career is also important since times are always changing. When I eventually get a job in engineering, it will be up to me to stay up to date with current technology to create, build, and incorporate with a product or whatever I may be working on. Studying in China allowed me to do that currently. For example, I was able to see Huawei’s development of 5G infrastructure that their next competitor, Sony Ericsson is 11 months behind them on. Being able to learn and study abroad later in my life will allow me to see new developments that are not as advanced or even available to where I am working. Also learning throughout my life will keep my mind active and give me more experiences to bring back to the table.
The social environment is another key component to a professional career and is often overlooked. Being social allows you to meet new contacts or strike up a conversation that may lead to more, but overall it is often a starting point to a professional career. Take for example when we were out exploring Shanghai, there was a woman who was trying to hail a cab like us, and we struck up a conversation. Turns out she was from London and is also a university student living in Shanghai, but she also gave us some good recommendations to visit in Shanghai. Even though this conversation lasted five minutes, it was one that came out of no where in a country where some students from Pittsburgh and a student from London usually aren’t found.
Teams with multi-disciplinaries are very beneficial, even though they may seem difficult on the surface. Take for example our group in China with two of us being engineers and two of us being business students. It was difficult at first dividing up tasks, but as we got down to business, it was a lot easier and each of our respective strengths came out and helped the group. Multi-disciplinary teams may be difficult at sometimes, but if everyone works together, people can cooperate and bring many new ideas to the table. Bringing skills that others may not have to a team is also helpful. Engineers know how to create but may not know the market to sell it to while Business students can come in to help sell it to a specific market and find buyers. Overall if done right, multi-disciplinary groups can come together and bring a lot to the table that otherwise would be lost if each person worked alone.
Overall the opportunity to study in China is once in a lifetime and I would like to thank everyone who made it possible. China is such an amazing country and I hope to return someday whether it be on vacation, studying abroad again, or even working there. My three words to describe China were expansive, innovative, and traditional.