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Midwest in the Far East-COB 5

Forbidden City in China

What It All Means

Beijing – In China’s capital city, the students toured many landmark sites including Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, an enormous palace complex consisting of hundreds of buildings that housed more than 20 emperors for almost 500 years.

UW Oshkosh business students on bike in China
Seeing China on Two Wheels: UW Oshkosh
business students CeeCee Shan (front) and
Hannah Daniels took to the tandem bike.

During the past two weeks, the students mastered the fine art of bargaining like natives; they negotiated the roads with great aplomb in rickshaws and tandem bicycles.

In addition to touring during the final week, the students collaborated in groups for a presentation that connects the company visits with the cultural experience.

Students drew up business plans for Culver’s, Lowe’s, AxleTech and IHOP, which they presented to their professors and classmates. They applied what they learned about culture, economics and government in China to an analysis suggesting the companies enter the Chinese market.

Faculty trip leader Johnson was surprised to see how quickly her students adapted to the Chinese way of doing business.

“U.S. companies that do business in China – either selling final goods in the Chinese market or manufacturing in China for export – need to have an understanding of Chinese history and culture, of the peculiarities of Chinese business culture, of the business strategy issues specific to China, and of the Chinese economy,” she said. “When we watched the group presentations, we realized just how much everybody had learned.”

UW Oshkosh students on rickshaws in Beijing
 UW Oshkosh students Matt Campbell and Branden Takerian
tour the city of Beijing on rickshaw.

Student Gumz gives rave reviews for her first experience with study abroad. “From this trip, I learned that there is a whole big world out there that most people know nothing about,” she said. “It was fascinating to experience another culture completely different than my own.

Student Rothkegel said the trip has been invaluable to his future at Oshkosh Corp., where he has worked in the logistics division since 2009. After graduating in December, Rothkegel will work full time with the company as an international logistics analyst.

“Everybody talks about China, how they’re the No. 1 exporter in the world and how they’re the manufacturing plant of the world, how fast they’re growing despite what occurred in 2008 with the recession,” he said.

Rothkegel points to the visit at the Port of Ningbo as enlightening. “Having the opportunity to see it in person does not only make me realize how important a smooth supply chain is, but also what challenges have to be overcome,” he said. “It takes a lot of coordination to process millions of containers and keep it organized.”

Rothkegel said seeing China in person gave him a different perspective. “It is such a great opportunity for current students to experience the business world and then also see prospective opportunities for the future,” he said. “I’ve definitely learned how to be more open towards other cultures.”