by Greg Janota, MFA 2018
Every year students from the Early Careers Programmes at LBS go on an integrated field trip offering the opportunity to learn about a particular theme in business. Among the destinations on offer were Silicon Valley in the US, Barcelona in Spain and Hong Kong and Shanghai. Since I have previously never been to Asia, I decided to go on the latter trip focusing on learning about doing business in China.
My main take-away from this trip is that both Shanghai and Hong Kong are much more developed than I have previously thought and are growing at an incredible rate. Having grown up in Europe, I have always imagined Europe and the US to be at the forefront of business and innovation. In reality, visiting Shanghai and especially Hong Kong, I haven’t experienced much of a “cultural shock”. The scale of projects and efficiency within organizations matches or in some cases exceeds the Western World. Being able to see this in person was an incredible experience.
Visiting companies in HK and Shanghai I came to understand that the business landscape is complex and ridden with both risks and opportunities. During the field trip we have met with representatives from firms in the automotive, airline and entertainment industries among others. We have learned about the entry strategies employed by these firms to establish a foothold in the Chinese market.
In addition to expanding our horizons when it comes to China and its business culture, the trip also offered a great opportunity to bond with our classmates across the different programmes. The trip again underscored networking as an integral part of the LBS student experience.