China was an eye-opening experience for me. Before the trip, you’re nervous about the food, the pollution, the long haul flight, but once you’re on the ground all of those reservations dissipate. You get lost in the culture and are mesmerized by the business acumen of the companies you meet with. I never once considered working outside of the US before this trip and now after meeting so many executives that have worked both in the US and China, I could envision myself working in a city like Shanghai.
We had a good mix of companies to visit like Baidu, Lenovo and even a non-profit called Green Initiatives where we got to do some hands-on consulting work on their behalf. We were able to make some recommendations for them that will help them grow strategically and amplify their message.
I’m most proud of letting go and exploring each city without an itinerary. Walking through Shanghai with 2 classmates: left turn, right turn, and left turns to meet the locals, experience the cuisine and absorb as much of the experience as I could, was a major highlight for me. Biking through Beijing was quite the experience and so was bargaining for pearls and practicing my Mandarin.
I came back from this trip so refreshed and more confident in my international business skills. I’m able to view my current work with a new perspective and fine-tune my career goals because of the things I learned in China. I also made 15 new friends for life. When you’re on a 5-hour train ride with someone or hiking the Great Wall of China with a group of classmates, you get to know them a little bit better. Those are the connections you make in business school that will last a lifetime.
-Alex Kelly, MBA ’18