Trip to China helps ISU MBA students look to the future

July 3, 2008

TERRE HAUTE - For four Master of Business Administration (MBA) students at Indiana State University, a study trip to China was a look to the future.

It also was the first student exchange trip between two universities with a long-standing partnership.

The students along with Wei He, ISU associate professor of management, spent 18 days interacting with students from Liaoning University's Sun Wha International Business School in Shenyang, China, visiting companies and attending the ninth National MBA Forum of China, as well as hitting tourist destinations such as the Great Wall.

"According to the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), China is the second largest economy in the world on a purchasing power parity basis," said Dr. He. "Sometimes China is called 'the World's Plant.' This trip grew the students' understanding of global business and hopefully helps them with future careers."

Yi-Chung "Lawrence" Ou of Miaoli, Taiwan, said with China's high growth rate, business students need to pay attention to the country.

"It's a world economic force," he said. "Most business and MBA students need to visit to see what is going on right now."

For Tim Brunnemer of Elwood, his first trip abroad proved to be an enlightening one and included presenting at the forum, along with fellow ISU MBA student Angela Bonnell of Robinson, Ill., about the "American Perspective on Social Corporate Responsibility."

"There are a number of business opportunities coming up in the near future," he said. "It has a population of 1.3 billion. It's growing at a pace to be the largest market in the world."

The students stayed at Liaoning University and attended seminars at Sun Wha International Business School -- where all classes are conducted in English.

"That's why we like to work with Sun Wha, we have the convenience of language," Dr. He said. "It's important so they can communicate ideas."

ISU and Liaoning have had a partnership in place since 1990, but this trip was the first time students from either school visited the other. Next summer, a handful of Chinese students are expected to come to ISU if things go well.

"Our deans share the same vision with Sun Wha," Dr. He said. "We want our students to have a broader view of the world with understanding of life, business and economies in the other country."

That, the ISU students said, they obtained from the trip.

Yun-Fang "Mandy" Chuo of Taipei, Taiwan, said she enjoyed visiting such companies as Coca-Cola in China and speaking with company officials.

"Here we have books or theories," she said. "On the trip we can see that in action and what's going on, especially in China."

Ou also enjoyed the chance to visit companies in China. The students visited companies such as Shenyang Hongmei Group -- a state owned company -- and Shenyang Eastar Daily Articles Company, which is a privately owned company in China.

"More and more companies have cooperation with American companies," he said.

The students also visited Brilliance Auto, a Chinese company that builds cars in cooperation with BMW.

For Brunnemer, the trip was a chance to visit Beijing and to "see how nice it is."

"There are lots of reports of smog and pollution, but it was really nice," he said, adding he also enjoyed the classes about Chinese business and history. As one of their seminars, students learned the importance of tea to business transactions.

"Many of the business transactions are in tea ceremonies or in restaurants," he said. "There's much less difference between business and friendship."

The Indiana State students said they think there is much their Chinese counterparts could learn during their visit next summer.

"It's a good way for students to learn from experience," Chuo said. "Chinese students have many ideas about Americans from Hollywood movies. They can learn something from here, not just from the movies."

Not only will they learn, as the ISU students learned in China, but it will build a stronger relationship between the two schools, Brunnemer said.

"It's applied learning," he said. "It's nothing we could learn in a textbook."

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Contact: Wei He, Indiana State University, associate professor of management, at whe@mymail.indstate.edu or 812-237-2373.

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at jennifer.sicking@indstate.edu or at 812-237-7972

Photo: http://ISUphoto.smugmug.com/photos/324161707_v2YKB-D.jpg  

Cutline: Wei He, ISU associate professor of management, along with four MBA students -- Yi-Chung Ou of Miaoli, Taiwan; Tim Brunnemer of Elwood; Yun-Fang Chuo of Taipei, Taiwan and Angela Bonnell of Robinson, Ill.-- spent 18 days in China visiting companies, attending a conference and classes as well as touring.

Photo: http://ISUphoto.smugmug.com/photos/324161301_qYCbF-D.jpg  

Cutline: Yi-Chung Ou of Miaoli, Taiwan, Angela Bonnell of Robinson, Ill., Yun-Fang Chuo of Taipei, Taiwan, Tim Brunnemer of Elwood and Wei He, ISU associate professor of management, visited Brilliance Auto, a Chinese company that builds cars in cooperation with BMW during an 18-day trip to China.