WSU EMBA International Field Study 2017 Trip
Moderator: Hello everybody, this is Lori here. Thank you all for joining us on today’s webinar. We are going to be talking about the international trip abroad that’s gonna be happening in April. So, a few things before we get started, you guys are in broadcast mode only. You won’t actually be able to talk. If you guys do have any questions, there is a chat feature at the bottom that you can ask all your questions too. But on the call today, so some logistics. If you can save all the questions to the end. Like I said, we’ll have plenty of time for a Q&A session with Brian and Velle. But as far as the agenda goes, Velle, will be talking about the overview of the program, some of the itineraries that you guys will be doing on the trip. And then Brian will be talking to you about a testimonial, so his experience in the trip.
On the screen here, I’m just gonna do a little bit of introductions and then I’ll lead it off to Velle, but we do have Velle on the line. He is the program director. If you guys haven’t worked with him yet, I’m sure you guys will be in some of your upcoming courses. He does take you guys on the trip abroad. And then we have Bryan Emerson. He is a current student in the program. He actually went on the trip last year, so he’s got some great insight into the student experience. So, from here I’m actually going to transfer the next slide over to Velle and he’ll talk to you a bit about the program.
Interviewee: Okay, great. So, my name Velle Kolde. I think I know most of you and I actually have had some of you in the classes. So, good to see you again. Also, by the way, you know, we’re gonna go through some information in the next, whatever, 20-25 minutes or so. But also if you have additional questions or you wanna talk more about the trip, the last slide will have all my contact information and I think you already all have it anyway. But feel free to give me a call or drop me an email if you have additional questions or there’s additional information you want about a trip that we didn’t get to cover here today. But we’ll also have some time for questions at the end and Bryan and I are happy to address those issues for you.
Okay, so the IVIS 600, the study abroad course to China. It’s a standard five-week course, so it’s a standard three-credit course. The big difference is that it all centers around a 10-11 day trip in China where we will visit local businesses and visit other historical and cultural sites in China. And we picked China because it’s the second largest economy in the world, it’s the fastest growing economy in the world and for virtually any business you’re either gonna be competing against the Chinese, partnering with the Chinese, selling into the Chinese market or buying from the Chinese market. So, there’s very few areas in business that are untouched by what goes on into China.
And before the first time that I went there, it seemed like a big mystery to me because in western civilization, we don’t really study the eastern civilizations that much. Most of our history is about the history of the United States, the history of Europe, and very, very little about Asia. So, to me Asia and China were a big mystery. And just by going there and spending a week, a week and a half on a trip like this, it completely demystifies China. You’ll have such a better understanding of what goes on there, how they think and how they act and what their value systems are, what their principles are. And with that understanding, you can come back with a much better perspective on your business and how your business may be impacted by China. And then also just be a better global citizen because of having the understanding of the other cultures.
Now, a 10-day trip doesn’t make you an expert, but you will learn an awful lot about China and quite a bit about yourself as well. But then you also have an understanding of some of the fundamental differences about how the Chinese think and how they do business, versus how people in the west do business.
So, it’s a standard five-week course, as I said. At the beginning, they’ll be a little bit of pre-reading and actually I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself here because I know we’ve got a slide here, so I’ll stay off the course structure for right now. I will say that during the trip, we are going to – the trip’s gonna start, we’re gonna arrive April 9 in China. For most of you that means departing the U.S. on April 8 because you’re going over the international date line, so you’re gonna lose a day going over there and you get it back when you come on the return trip. So, you probably depart on Saturday April 8, arrive Sunday, April 9 and then we’ll do our first business visits on Monday morning, April 10.
During the trip, we do stay in five-star hotels. We have great accommodations, very good food. We will have our van and driver that will be taking us around. And we’ll also have our own guide who – and we work with a service in China called China Sense and they’re just excellent at providing guides that are not only very knowledgeable and speak good English, ‘cause there are, I will say, a number of Chinese people who have studied English, who believe that they can speak English, but they can be very challenging to understand. We don’t have that issue with the China Sense guides.
And also they’re really good at ordering food when we’re out together as a group ‘cause they can order authentic Chinese cuisine, but they tend to order the types of foods that are appealing to westerners. And they keep us away from the things like pickled duck’s feet and tripe and more into things that are very agreeable to western palates. I think the food’s fabulous over there.
We will go and do a number of business visits, probably about 8-10. We can tailor these it to your interests. So, if there’s specific companies or specific industries that you’re interested in visiting in China, we can usually accommodate those requests. So, please let me know if there’s a particular industry and/or company that you’re interested in.
For example, a trip a couple years ago, we had some telecom people in there, so we went and visited some of the Chinese telecommunication companies. We usually always have somebody from Boeing on our trip and so often we’ll go visit Boeing. In fact two years ago we met with the head of R&D at Boeing China. So, we continue these visits to areas of your interest.
In addition to the business visits, we visit a lot of historical and cultural sites as well. Now this is a list from last year of places we went because last year we took the group, we went to Beijing, Shanghai and Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam. This year, we’ll be doing a different itinerary. We’ll be going to Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. And Hong Kong, as I think many of you know, became a British colony after the first Opium war. It’s about 7.3 million people, but it is a major economic and financial center of Asia and of the world.
In fact, Hong Kong is the 11th largest trading entity in the world. Even though it’s part of the People’s Republic of China now, it’s still operates a low tax free trade economy and it is the world’s largest export center. Because it’s receiving imports and exports between mainland China, the U.S. and Japan. And that was original Hong Kong’s role in the British empire as a key trading port because it has a very large and deep harbor so large ships can easily navigate right in there. And as I said, it’s the world’s largest export center. I think it’s the second largest seaport in the world and it’s the number one biggest commercial airport in the world.
Shenzhen is located near Hong Kong. It’s located in the pearl river delta. It’s the largest manufacturing base in the world. It was one of six special economic zones founded in 1980 when the Chinese government was first dipping their toe into the world of capitalism. And so they set up these special economic zones where capitalism and free trade would be allowed to flourish, but they still maintain the socialist-communist political system.
And in 1980, Shenzhen had a population of about 30,000 people. Today, it’s over 11 million. So, tremendous growth. This is a huge outsource manufacturing place in the world. I know you discussed outsourcing manufacturing in the managing operations class, in Omesh’s class and this is one of the places it’s happened. And just to see the automation and the factories and the manufacturing that’s going on there, it’s really something incredible.
And then Guangzhou is China’s third largest city. It’s about 13 million people. It was also known as Canton and it was a major terminus of the silk road. It’s also home to the largest trade fair in China and it’s the oldest and largest trade fair in China, Canton Fair and that might be going on when we are there or the Canton Fair might be starting just as we’re gonna be wrapping up our trip, but I’ll get more information on that and get that out to you as we firm up our agenda. And also Guangzhou was rated by Forbes Magazine as the best commercial city in China.
So these will be some really exciting locations that will give us a real good flavor of China and Chinese business importing, exporting, manufacturing and the financial center of Hong Kong. It’s also very close to Macaw, which is now the Las Vegas – actually bigger than Las Vegas – the Las Vegas of the Orient.
So, the course itself, they’ll be a little bit of pre-reading before leaving for the trip, and then you will also be documenting some of your perceptions of China. And then identifying some questions you’d like to get answered during the trip. Then, you will actually go on the trip, you will do the business visits, you’ll experience the culture and the historical sites and meeting with the colleagues in Chinese business.
And then when we return, you will look at – you’ll write down your perceptions of China after you have returned and you’ll be able to compare what you thought of China before you left versus how you view it now. You’ll also go through the questions that you wanted to try and answer during the trip and document your answers to those.
And then you’ll have two projects that you’ll need to do. One individual project is where you’ll write a short paper about a business idea for China and this can be either partnering with Chinese company or organization, selling your goods into China or maybe sourcing goods or manufacturing from China. That’ll be completely up to you and what your interests are, but that will be one paper that you do.
And then as a group, you guys’ll create a multimedia presentation of your trip. And I kind of leave it up to you exactly how you wanna do it, there’s a lot of different ways to do it. Some do PowerPoints, some have done Facebook cites and created different chapters for here’s the food that we ate, here’s the different sites that we saw and combining a lot of pictures and imagery in there. But the team project, it’s a great way for you to share your experience with your friends, with your family and with your peers in the executive MBA program.
And I’m gonna turn it over to Brian in just a minute, but also just from a logistics standpoint, we don’t have the exact costs on the trip just yet, but typically, the program fee is going to be around $5,500 plus or minus. We don’t have the exact itinerary nailed down yet, so I can’t give you a hard number, but I will be able to very soon. But in round numbers, the program fee’s about $5,500. You’ll also be responsible for your own travel to and from China and from Seattle an airline ticket is about $1,400 but your location may vary a little bit.
And then most of the meals are included, but there are some meals that are not included. And then also there’s some great shopping that’s available over there. This isn’t a shopping trip, but we do get a little bit of time as we’re walking around to do some shopping and great place to do all your Christmas shopping. So in round numbers, you’ll be responsible for some of the meals, your plane ticket, your program fee and in addition to tuition. So, you’ll pay normal three credit tuition as well. And with that I will go ahead and turn it over to Bryan who joined us on the trip last year. Bryan.
Interviewee 2: Hey Velle, thank you so much. Thanks for letting me talk about the opportunity that I got to travel with the school and also thanks to everybody in the audience for taking the time to research this out. And I will be the first person to say that this trip does not disappoint. I really wanted to satisfy my curiosity of how our cultures differ. Particularly, I wanted to look at leadership styles in the eastern culture and the perception of westerners in the east, and none of those things are really easy to get at, unless you’re actually standing on their turf and getting to meet and talk to people face to face that work in their environment.
I think you could read some Harvard Business cases and get a flavor for it, but until you’re actually standing there, drawing people out and asking questions, it’s really hard to get a full picture view through media until you’re actually there. I just really thought it would be an opportunity of a lifetime. It’d be very difficult to put something like this together, particularly getting an invitation to walk into a foreign business. I’m guessing it’d be extraordinarily difficult to do that as an individual who’s just traveling. We got to walk in and see businesses firsthand, ask very difficult questions, several questions about how they run the business, about the environment and got awesome answers as a group.
They also take the time to investigate you and why you’re interested in what they’re doing. So, it gives you the chance to explore exactly why you’re there and offering them good answers to their questions and I really think that the meetings with the businesses were extraordinary and I’d think they’d be pretty close to impossible to replicate.
Our business, Bob’s Red Mill, we’ve expanded into 81 countries including China and Vietnam and India. And I gathered first hand experiences and it really helped me understand how we can succeed selling marketing and working with those cultures. We do send salespeople over there as well, but they just wanna sell things, so sometimes they don’t always give you the straight answers. It definitely helped me recognize as a business leader where some of the actual challenges are in terms of doing business there.
So lastly, it’s just really nice to get an opportunity to see some of the historical things. I had a chance to travel with Prof. Peterson and with Prof. Kolde, with Velle, and they’ve been there several times. The amount of knowledge that comes out of the instructors and the tour guides is just unprecedented. They’ve had to explain this to EMBA and I’m sure MBA students for a number of years. And all of us, I’m sure, are inquisitive and we probably demand better answers than most tourist kind of people. And they really understand the history and the culture at a very, very high level. And for business minded people, it just really helps to open up those cultures in a very quick way. If you’re gonna sacrifice 10 days away from your office and what it is you have to do, it really makes it worthwhile when you have the ability to jump into this amount of knowledge very quickly.
Anyhow, I did a video with my travel group and I know Lori’s posted that the end. You can get an idea of some of the sites and some of the environments that you’d be sitting in. And again, it’s just an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. And you will walk away with way more questions than you will answers. Thank you.
Interviewer: Awesome. Thank you Bryan for that, appreciate it. So, now, I know we only have a couple minutes here, but I do wanna open the floor for any possible questions that you guys have. There is that CAT feature there. One of the questions that I know we get a lot of here in Student Services is trying to manage everything. So, you have work going on, you have the trip, your coursework involved. How do you find that it’s manageable? So, Velle, I don’t know if you wanna speak a little bit about that. Also Bryan too if you wanna chime in to kind of relay how you were able to kind of juggle everything, that’d be great.
Interviewee: Yeah, I think I’ll let Bryan answer that one, but I think something I neglected to mention is that Fred Peterson will be accompanying us on this trip and you know Fred from the 593 class and he knows quite a bit about Asian cultures and philosophies as you guys learned when you were learning about Daoism and Confucianism, etc. So, he is a walking encyclopedia on everything in China, so he’s a tremendous asset to have along on the trip. But with that, I’ll turn it over to Bryan and let him talk about managing the workload.
Interviewer: Yeah, great, thanks Velle.
Interviewee 2: I would definitely say if you’re gonna do this trip, if you’re busy at what you do, just really try to get as much work as you can possibly get done in anticipation and just expect to have a pile. I just have never taken 10 days away from my job in the decade that I’ve been here. And when I got back, there was a pretty large pile.
But I will say that throughout my trip, I had very, very good connectivity back home. Now, of course, there is a massive differential between your time over there and the time in the States. So, that was something that you have to manage, but I had several things come up. I rely on my people very heavily and they did a good job just keeping things running while I was gone, but when I had to be part of something, there were a few meetings where I did get up in the middle of the night and jumped onto a webinar or style meeting. I had no problem whatsoever with communication in emails and that was tremendously helpful.
But the bottom line is if you’re gonna step away from your desk for a week or 10 days, definitely plan for that, definitely lean on your employees and your reports to try to keep you up to date. And just know that contact is very, very good, at least where we traveled. I know the itinerary is a little different this year, but I didn’t have any trouble whatsoever checking in and coordinating from afar.
Interviewer: Great, thanks Bryan appreciate it. Velle I did have a question for you. Can you talk a little bit about the timeline for the application process and when the application typically opens and just briefly go through that?
Interviewee: Yeah, the applications there’s just some administrative work that we need to do here on the University side. We first have to finalize the itinerary and then give it to our internationals programs group and they make sure that we’re covered with insurance. And another thing I should mention is that we have insurance and emergency support available or that will be with us on that trip. So, in case if anyone has any kind of emergency, there’s people that know that we’re there and will help us out with it. So, that comes as part of the package, so we do have that.
So, once we get all the paperwork organized, it’s probably gonna be a few weeks before we can actually set up, open it up for registration. And then I think we have – you probably would want to confirm in January or February at the latest. You do need a visa to travel to China. It’s not a big deal to get one, but it does take a few weeks and you do have to mail your passport in with your visa application. So, to make sure that you allow yourself plenty of time to do the visa as well as to buy a plane ticket far enough in advance that you get a good rate on it, you probably wanna think about finalizing your decision on maybe in January or February at the latest.
Interviewer: Great, thanks Velle. We did have another question come in just confirming the cost structure. And so, again, just for everybody on the line, the base cost for the program itself is typically roughly $5,500 or so and then you do have the cost of tuition included on that. And then, yes you are responsible for airfare. I know a lot of companies do have tuition reimbursement so that may be an option for you. If you are using military benefits, you might wanna confirm with the VA rep to see if that will cover the cost of the trip also. But we’ll actually be sending out more information once everything gets finalized as far as the fee breakdown, the deadline for the application and things like that.
So those were all the questions that came in. Velle or Bryan thank you very much for presenting. Velle, I know you have your information on the screen here, so if students do have more questions, you can reach out to Velle directly. And as Bryan said, he did provide us with the video that his group put together and everybody should have access to it on the resource section on the webinar. If you’re looking right now on the bottom right, there’s a resource section and the link is embedded – I’m sorry on the left. So, if you guys wanna watch that video, it’s pretty awesome that they put that together. Bryan, Velle, any last kind of closing comments about the trip?
Interviewee: Other than I think it’s a trip of a lifetime. You’ll have memories and you’ll make friends that will stay with you for the rest of your life, I’m sure. But yeah, I think it’s great. I wished I would have had this kind of program when I was doing my graduate work. I unfortunately didn’t, but now I get to do it every year with you executive MBAs.
Interviewer: Great, thanks Velle.
Interviewee 2: Yeah, and I’ll just punctuate with if you’re working yourself into a leadership position at your company through business, it’s just absolutely a necessity to understand these cultures. As Velle stated in the beginning, there’s absolutely no way that your business isn’t going to intersect as you grow with the international markets. And you just have to step into that experience and see it and understand it to really get it down. Of course you could hire somebody, but then you don’t get this wonderful experience of actually being there. So, I suppose you could solve it that way too. But, I can’t speak enough to my experience. I am absolutely proud of the fact that the school has this opportunity and it’s part of the WSU EMBA program, it makes it very special in that regard. So, I don’t regret one bit going and I definitely recommend everybody take that chance.
Interviewee: Yeah, and I just saw Victoria’s question about MIS 572. And if you go on the China trip then you will take MIS 572 in the Fall 2017. So, you still will have that course as part of your curriculum. It’s one of the core courses in the program.
Interviewer: Great, thank you guys. If you guys have more questions, I know we’re about at that time. So, if you guys have more questions, feel free, you can either reach out to myself or to Velle. I know Bryan said he was available for questions also, so if you guys had any questions regarding the experience, we can reach out to him too. We will send out a copy of the recording so everybody has that. And as we get more information, we’ll definitely be passing it along to you guys. So, hopefully you can join us on this trip in Spring and you guys have a good rest of your day.
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