Monday, March 9, 2009

Almost ready for departure to China

In just a few short days, eighteen students and five staff chaperones will leave for a ten day trip to China as part of Kelley's Emerging Economies course. With the recent global economic shifts slowing growth in China and leading to declines in areas such as the manufacturing sector, the timing of the trip will expose students to a rapidly changing picture of this economic powerhouse. As consumerism has slowed across the world in developed countries, China will likely see its GDP grow only in the single digits, a significant slow down from the double digits over the past several years. Yet, China, along with selected other Southeast Asian countries, appears to be a bright spot, avoiding the severe drops in GDP experienced elsewhere across the globe. Nevertheless, China too is feeling the grip of this new economic reality. Just this past week, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao stated that this will be a difficult year for the country:

So what have students been learning in the Emerging Economies course to get them prepared for this first-hand experience? For the first half of the semester, Bruce Jaffe, professor of business economics and public policy, and various guest lecturers drawn from Kelley's top-notch faculty have been teaching students about emerging economies and the unique issues facing them in the shifting global economic climate. Students have also been attending intensive language and culture workshops focused on the specific country to which they would be traveling.

Tonight the students will join their chaperones for a dinner in the Tudor Room of the Indiana Memorial Union, providing an opportunity for them to get acquainted before before flying out early Friday morning.

Once the group arrives at the airport in Shanghai on Saturday afternoon, they will board a bus for a short ride to the city of Hangzhou, located approximately three driving hours from Shanghai. After an evening of much needed rest, the group will take a tour of the city with students and staff from Zhejiang University. Starting that evening and continuing on through Tuesday evening, students will visit various businesses in the city and hear lectures from business leaders on topics ranging from trans-cultural management to international project management.

Then on Wednesday morning, the group will head back to Shanghai and spend the duration of the trip there. In Shanghai, the group will get to tour cultural sites including the Bund, Nan Jing Road, Yu Garden, and Chenghuang Temple. Business-focused visits will include Nielsen, Shanghai Stock Exchange, Praxis Language Ltd., Fountainvest, and Ernst & Young. Students will also be treated to dinner on Friday by Kelley alumni Simon Goe and Stephen Hwang at Yan-an Hotel.
Then on Saturday evening the group will head back to the United States and attempt to adjust to life one again after the whirlwind tour of these two Chinese cities. As past travels to emerging economies have revealed, the students will remember this unique experience for the rest of their lives.

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