Westerners doing business in China must provide Chinese consumers with products, messages, and services that meet their needs. These items must be developed thoughtfully and include a high level of cultural consciousness and sensitivity. And what better way to learn the ins and outs of this kind of cultural exchange than via a program at one of the top universities in the US?
The Stanford-Tsinghua MBA Exchange Program has been in existence for ten years. This program provides an exceptional caliber of training through the support it receives from active leaders in the financial community. Bill Ford, General Atlantic Chief Executive Officer, sits on the advisory boards of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management. He understands how business is done in the United States and China, and his guidance ensures that students receive the training they need to be fully prepared when they enter China’s dynamic startup community.
Startups in Beijing can achieve massive scale at a rapid pace. China’s domestic market is estimated at 1.3 billion people—four times the European or United States populations. Startups are drawn to China because of the way it embraces technology: it’s estimated that in China more than 530 million people use smartphones currently. Compare that to the 190 million users in the United States. If long-term growth is a goal for your startup, then consider this figure: It’s estimated that there will be 700 million smartphone users in China in three years.
Chinese students from Tsinghua University hosted Stanford students during their visit to China. Students from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) hosted the Chinese students during their weeklong visit to the Palo Alto, CA campus. During each visit both groups of students engaged in social and academic experiences.
At Stanford, the students attended a series of lectures appropriate to their shared fields of study and learned about such topics as Management and Organizational Conflicts, American Economic Policy, Venture Capital in Silicon Valley, and Strategic Thinking. Students from China were also able to experience some of the regular classes Stanford MBA students attend, such as Path to Power, High Performance Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital, and Managing Growing Enterprises.
During their visit the students from China were able to travel to Silicon Valley and visit Facebook, Google, and Uber. They met with Facebook’s Growth and Corporate Development Team. At Uber the students discussed Customer Acquisition and Retention and International Expansion and Retention with Uber’s Growth Team.
The Chinese and American students had many opportunities to bond over social events. Student interactions at these events are of particular importance to participants in this program. During these social interactions students began to develop the contacts and relationships that they will build on after they finish their training and embark on their career.
The Stanford MBA Program requires all students to participate in this type of Global Experience. Each study trip lasts from eight to ten days. More and more students are learning to appreciate these intensive programs. The skills each set of students learns are of critical importance for their future success in China’s burgeoning markets. They’re also important since they help to improve relations between our two countries at a personal level by promoting understanding and mutual benefit. And that’s a key to sustained growth and a beneficial future.