Nine UAB School of Business students just spent a month in an intensive classroom experience. The classroom is called China.
“For an entire month we were immersed in their culture, learning to read Chinese, and learning how they do business,” said UAB senior William Slappy, 21. “The trip was incredible all the way around. We got to see the people and culture from their perspective and understand that we are all human beings with the same aspiration and goals and us. You can’t read that in a book.”
K.C. Pang, director of China Initiatives and instructor of international business for the UAB School of Business, led the trip, a project he began in 2006 so that students could get valuable global experience. He and professors Bor-Yi Tsay, Ph.D., and Eric Jack, Ph.D. taught classes in business, management accounting and operations management at Anshan Normal University (ANU).
The three MBA and six undergraduate UAB students were eager to study with Chinese students, but that anticipation was nothing compared to the excitement of the Chinese students, who volunteered to take the classes for no credit. The response was so overwhelming; the classes had to be capped at 100 students, turning hundreds of other away.
“Students stopped me in the halls to tell me how disappointed they were,” Pang said. “It was an amazing experience.”
In addition to classes UAB students teamed with Anshan students to form mock U.S. joint venture companies, representing international partnerships. The teams even wrote a business plan to set up a Chinese company in the United States.
The students spend time with the foreign affairs office within the mayor's office as well as with Chinese business executives in Birmingham's Sister City in Anshan in the Liaoning Province, to learn about how China conducts international business.
Although they were based in Anshan, the group took trips to other cities, including Cangzhou. While there, they received welcomes befitting high-ranking diplomats that included banners, entertainment and authentic cuisine.
Near the end of their trip, students had time for sightseeing in Beijing, where they also spent time with editors of a newspaper. Trips included the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.
“We wanted our students to have experiences across the board,” Jack said. “Doing business in and with another country goes beyond the product or service; it includes getting to know and appreciate the culture and the people. Everyone involved gain a greater understanding of what makes our cultures and business philosophies unique and where we share commonalities and people.”
One such student was accounting major Kaoru Lowry. A native of Japan, she was unsure of her welcome because of the political history between Japan and China.
“I wanted to go because I want to work overseas when I graduate,” Lowry said. “When I lived in Japan I was interested in China but was a little afraid because of our history. I did not expect their generosity and their kindness. I even say a Japanese program on television.”
Students, participating in the trip were Jessica Harmon, an MBA student from Jasper; Whitney Wilson, an MBA student from Cedar Bluff; Adam Gutherie, an MBA student from El Dorado, Ark.; Franceline Louis XVI, a senior in accounting from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Katherine Theriot, a senior in marketing from Birmingham; William Slappey, a senior in economics from Vestavia Hills; Adam Teranchi, a senior in management and biology from Birmingham; Kaoru Lowry, a senior in accounting from Birmingham and Japan; and Landon Neil, a senior in finance from Helena.
Visit their blog , www.uabinchina.com and enjoy their photos to learn more about their trip.
For more information contact K.C. Pang at firstname.lastname@example.org.