We have been to Shanghai for three days, so far, but I feel like I know this place, people and the way business can be done here (of course, this is just my illusion, nurtured by incredibly intense schedule, which I appreciate so much, as I benefit from every moment).
We kicked off by visiting the office of Swissnex, an organization that is supporting collaboration of Swiss and Chinese entities in the areas of business, education etc. eBay was another impressive destination both from business perspective, as we’ve learned that the auction model is only a part of the company’s activities, and from the individual story of one of the company’s top managers in China. My framework of cultural stereotypes dissembles rather fast: innovations is China are not necessarily of adaptive nature, there are some real breakthroughs, like a WeChat platform. Again and again, we met fantastic people, who made their ways and sometimes did some radical changes in their lives. A fascinating story of entrepreneurship, of finding one’s way in the corporate world, or of identifying oneself as a multi-faceted personality – you name it. There is something very special in meeting those people all over the world, something that you can never read in a book or see in a movie – in a hand shake, and in looking into their eyes, when you say to yourself “Do I acknowledge and accept my true self the way this person does, and, if so, am I brave enough to do a ‘quantum leap’?” To tell you the truth, I’ve got some of the answers here, in Shanghai…
A few other questions were drilling my mind, while doing some sightseeing: why and for how long will we keep distinguishing emerging and emerged worlds and can we change the status quo; as a business leader and an expatriate, should one make an effort to assimilate and accept cultural differences; and, finally, what can I personally do and what is my over-professional purpose post-MBA?
Amazingly, these days, while the whole class is on the three Discovery destinations, our group is the first to start a day, then Singaporean group wakes up, and, lastly, the group in Mexico takes over the privilege of living another morning. Well, tomorrow we will be welcoming another precious day of the MBA program in the Country of the Rising Sun, and experiencing another verge of contrast and learning, challenge and exploration, networking and friendship.