The past two weeks in China have been an amazing experience for me. I learned even more than I thought I could. We had the chance to study Chinese culture and successful businesses in China, and I even learned a little bit about engineering. I think everything we did from visiting universities to companies allowed us to grow not only as students but as professionals. We interacted with people in all different positions and by learning from them and asking questions we had professional development. It is important to me to continue to learn even outside of a classroom. Just as Pitt business says in their slogan from the classroom to the city to the world. This program has given us the opportunity to separate ourselves from others and give us a competitive edge.
I also saw how important lifelong learning and continuing education are on this trip. I think traveling is one of the most important forms of lifelong learning. At the East China University of Science and Technology we got to meet a man from Alabama who moved to Shanghai a few years ago with his family. For the past few years he has been a student at a few universities in China. It was easy to see from his presentation that he never wanted to stop learning new things, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to meet him.
As a student that that is planning on entering the workforce within the next few years I know about the importance of networking among professionals. In America at a first interaction you would usually share a business card. In China some companies did give us their business cards, but I noticed a more popular form of networking was adding each other on WeChat. WeChat is a form of social media with many functions. It is used for messaging, sharing pictures, and paying for things. At many of our company visits sharing WeChats was much more popular than sharing business cards.
Specifically in our group projects, and even throughout the entire trip, we were working in multi-disciplinary teams. With half of us being business students and the other half engineering students we had to combine our knowledge and teach each other in a lot of situations. It is very easy to stay in the business school bubble at Pitt, so it was nice to get out of that and see another side of things. It also made me realize how smart engineers are. When doing our group projects, we worked together to create a business model that explained both the business side and the engineering side to our idea. As a team we put all our ideas together to create a product that we though would be successful in the Chinese market today and improve people’s daily lives. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to go on this amazing trip and experience so many amazing things. I know my time in China is something I will never forget and my three words I would use to describe China are, traditional, technological, and diverse.