Monday, August 31, 2009

China -

[cross-posted from our WFU MBA China Trip blog]

It's been just over three months since we returned from our International Trip to China and it felt like the right time to reflect on how that experience has changed my thinking about the world. This isn't going to be terrible formal, just a list of stuff that I've been thinking about recently:

1 - Sort of like the soldiers that returned to the farms after WWII ("you can't send them back to the farm after they have seen Paris"), it's very difficult to get the allure of China our of your consciousness.

2 - When you're in China, the opportunities feel like they are so close and completely within reach. It's only when you're back in the US do you realize how far away they really are (even with today's communications technologies). The immediacy of opportunity in China is intoxicating.

3 - Like anything else, it takes practice and repetition to get better at China. For the first 45-60 days back, I read the Chinese newspapers online religiously, trying to take in every little nuance. Since then, US life has been creeping back in very quickly and I feel like my China-ese is getting rusty. I need to get back into practice.

4 - Two weeks doesn't sound like a long time, but it provided an incredible foundation for understanding the basics of the complex world of Chinese business and culture. Our summer and fall semesters incorporated International elements in every session, and our trip more than adequately prepared us with the right mindset to have success in doing business with/in China.

5 - I miss the food. I miss the adventure of what it was, what it might be, and only using chopsticks. I never felt like I overate in China, yet I also never felt hungry. They seemed to have figured out the perfect mix of variety, healthiness and entertainment with their meals. The US needs to take a page out of the Chinese cookbook.

6 - I've been thinking about ways to start a business that involves China in some way. I'd say that at least half of the people in our class (from the trip) have been having those same thoughts. I have the skeleton of the business plan in place, and a key first meeting in a couple weeks. It's a great time to be an entrepreneur.

7 - If you are ever part of any of the WFU Business School programs and have an interest in International business, do not hestitate to engage Mike Lord. If you are passionate about International business, Mike will match your passion by 2x.

8 - We have problems here in the US, and they have problems in China too. But their problems just feel much larger in scale. So even if you're not going to doing something China-related or International-related, do something that has some scale to it. Make a difference!!

OK, I'll end it with #8, since 8 is the number signifying good luck and wealth in China. I hope you all get to visit China some day, as it's an incredible country and one of the highlights of the WFU MBA program.

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