Life in Shenzhen has been crazy busy. This is the first time in the past week I have had a bit of “me time”, so I am ready to catch you up on the latest happenings.
Let’s start with my classes. So. Much. Work. Compared to my previous modules, this module is far more demanding. I have group projects/presentations and case analyses to write almost every day. The good news is that I am actually really enjoying the material and learning a lot about marketing and strategy. My first case analysis for Strategic Management (which was a complete disaster because I did not know what the heck I was doing!) required me to conduct a “SWOT analysis” (which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) for the Italian motorbike company, Ducati. I have another case analysis due on Friday for the “Hong Kong Jockey Club” so hopefully my analytical skills improve the second time around. In my Marketing Management class, we have 6 cases that we must analyze using the GIS framework (goals, impediments, solutions) in groups. My group presented our analysis in class today (actually, only one other group member and I delivered the PowerPoint presentation). We had to write and present an analysis for the medical equipment company, Invacare. Email me if you want to see the group paper! I won’t bore you all with the logistics of the company and the impediments they are facing on the bloggie. My China Studies class is a nice break from all the article reading and case analyses. However, I am one of four “class monitors” responsible for designing the course. In fact, I just created a website for the course if you want to check it out! (It is still under construction, as I am collaborating with a German exchange student who will be in charge of the website’s graphic design). I am in charge of writing all of the articles detailing our company visits as well as uploading all class-related photos. (*Note: I used the website creator “Doodlekit” because it was the ONLY website builder I could find that was not blocked by China’s government, ugh)…
Our first company visit was to the major technology company, Huawei. Below is the article I wrote for the website:
“On March 5th, Professor Haifeng Huang arranged for international students enrolled in his China Studies course to visit the Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen. The trip provided students with a valuable firsthand learning opportunity and deeper understanding of the largest telecommunications equipment maker in the world.
Students enjoyed a detailed tour of Huawei’s exhibition hall and research and design center led by members of the firm’s public relations office. According to Evan Goodwin, a first year PHBS Management student, “The tour of Huawei was really interesting. We were able to get a more complete idea of all of the technology that Huawei is involved in, and gained a clearer understanding of their strengths as a globally competitive firm. The people at Huawei were all very kind to us and the trip was very educational in general.”
Upon the completion of the tour, students participated in a highly informative Q&A session run by the PR department head. This portion of the visit was the highlight for many students, including exchange student Ole Heidelk who stated: “My favorite part of the trip was the Q&A session at the end. It was nice that we could interview someone so influential at Huawei and receive honest replies.” Several students took advantage of this portion of the visit and asked insightful questions regarding the company’s recruitment, operations, products, and growth.
The bus ride back to campus was filled with positive student remarks and sincere gratitude for the chance to take such a meaningful and carefully planned excursion. There is no doubt that PHBS will have international students seeking employment at Huawei subsequent to their graduation next June.”
(See below for pictures of the field trip!)
My next batch of photos on the blog provides a nice contrast to my corporate skirt-suit image *chuckle*.
This past weekend, my two best friends from Shanghai visited me in Shenzhen. We had the time of our lives! They arrived late Friday evening after their plane was delayed for a few hours (typical for China Southern Airlines). They stayed in the Vienna Hotel, which could not have been any more convenient! The Vienna Hotel is located directly across from my campus and is actually quite clean and comfortable – not the typical hard-as-wood beds found in most Chinese hotels. The continental breakfast included was a definite no-no, but fortunately I smuggled enough Trader Joe’s oatmeal from America to provide them with a decent breakfast.
We got up early Saturday morning to participate in our first ever “Color Run”. As indicated on Wikipedia, The Color Run is “an event series and five kilometers paint race that takes place in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The untimed event has no winners or prizes, but runners are showered with colored powder, made of food-grade corn starch at stations along the run.” It is known for being the “happiest 5K on the planet.” It certainly made us happy! However, the Shenzhen Color Run had a different environment than it might have in say, NYC. I think Jeanne, Martina and I were one of the only people (out of the hundreds who were there) who actually RAN THE RACE. Let’s just say that the Shenzhen Color Run was the “Chinese version”. What do I mean by that? Well, the race started promptly at 9:30am. By 9:29, the three of us were just about the only people ready to run at the starting line. Where was everyone else you might ask? The crowd of Chinese “runners” were gathered at the McDonalds, which was next to the starting line. Our theory is that the hundreds of Chinese runners registered for the race, picked up their race packets (consisting of the Color Run t-shirts, colorful headband, water bottle, etc.) and then waited at McDonalds for the race to conclude so that they could take pictures at the finish line. They did not actually run. We were the only ones with sweat. Typical China moment. Regardless, we had a blast and felt like celebrities – crowds gathering to take pictures with the sporty colorful foreigners.
After our Color “Run” experience, we enjoyed a lovely Western meal in the expat area called SeaWorld (salad, wraps, smoothies…all that “foreign food” that I constantly miss but cannot afford on my student budget). It was divine! Oh and yes, we went to the restaurant in our full Color Run attire…covered head to toe in paint and facial tattoos. We desperately needed showers. We took a cab back to the Vienna Hotel so that we could scrub our bodies before heading out to Chinese BBQ. I spent a good 30 minutes in the shower using a scrubber-glove to remove my facial tattoo (it needed to come off before my formal in-class presentation). After some cheek redness and irritation, it finally came off. I was blowing blue snot out of my nose for the rest of the day though, gross.
We ended the day in Pingshan Village (the extremely “Chinese-y” village of University Town – lined with unidentifiable street food and funky smells). Jeanne and Martina experienced Chinese BBQ and met most of my close international student friends. It was so nice to bring my Shanghai world and Shenzhen world together. I loved that Martina and Jeanne were able to get a real feel for my life here. I miss being around them 24/7 and hope that one day we will all be in the same city again!
Sunday morning, I took the two of them on my daily 4-mile running route around my campus – very different than our running route in Shanghai! They were surprised by the amount of greenery and lack of noise pollution and crazy traffic. Although Shanghai is far more interesting and bustling than Shenzhen, I do love Shenzhen’s calmness and Zen environment. It is certainly very peaceful here.
They are gone now (sad face), and I am back to the grind! I am ready for a busy week of group meetings, military training, and morning workouts (my two friends (Evan and Fortune) and I have been working out on the track every morning at 6:30am to get our “bikini bodies” ready for the summer!) The summer has just about started here…In another week or so, the temperature should reach 85 degrees. Swimming pool, here I come!
I am going to get back to work now so that I can go to Hong Kong this weekend. I am planning on joining a few friends for dim sum Sunday in my “other city”.
Yes, life here is busy. BUT, it is better than ever. Soooo much better than my first semester. I feel relaxed (despite the heavier course load), happy, intellectually stimulated, comfortable, and energized.
I love you all and am sending lots of love.
P.S. There are LOTS of new pics below. Be sure to check them out!