Emerging Market Field Trip to Shanghai

Kristina Rallu, Global MBA 2014-2015, United States

Every year our Global MBA class has a one-week field trip where we learn about the
opportunities and challenges of doing business in an emerging market. This year our program visited Shanghai, China, where we participated in the one-week Link to Asia program designed by two Global MBA alumni, Matthew Werner and Christian Leos. During this week we attended courses and participated in company visits and networking events.

Our courses were taught by two professors from Fudan University, Professors Yu Yihong and Zhao Youzhen. In these courses we learned about the economic history of China and its transition from centrally planned to market based economy. We also looked at growth projections for China’s future and the country’s place in the global marketplace, with emphasis on the challenges and benefits for multinational corporations operating in China.

The bulk of our time in Shanghai was spent on company visits. Over the course of one week we visited Capgemini, Ernst & Young, the European Chamber of Commerce, Bayer, Michelin, Donfeng Peugeot-Citroën Automobile Limited, and Initiative, a division of Mediabrands Asia. A small group of students were also able to arrange in independent visit to Baosteel, the second largest steel producer in the world. These company visits covered a broad range of topics, such as the legal environment for businesses in China, modification of products for the Chinese market, distribution channels in China, the challenges of managing a multicultural workforce, and digital marketing in China. We also got valuable advice on applying for jobs in China.

During our week in China we also had the privilege of attending a networking event

organized by the Shanghai Chapter of the ESSEC Alumni Association. We were able to network with ESSEC Alumni who were working or studying in Shanghai.

Lastly, our class appreciated the “unofficial curriculum” of our Shanghai visit, including sightseeing, shopping, and enjoying Chinese cuisine (with a crash course in using chopsticks for some members of our class). This was greatly enhanced by our kind and patient Chinese classmates, who showed us around town, gave us advice on where to visit, and even gave instructions to taxi drivers for us.  Our class left China with plenty of souvenirs and photos, as well as a greater understanding of Chinese culture and business practices.


  1. My parents came back from Shanghai too recently, it was their first time in the country, even though we're Chinese! They weren't born there but from what I recall of me travelling to China as well, it was so different. The culture, the people, even the practices. It all felt so surreal living in a place so different. I hope you learned a lot, I certainly did from different levels of dedication these people had to their job and life. Very interesting!
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  2. i like shanghai so much,cos i can travelling in there Judi Bola