It’s the first time for NTU GMBA to offer a study trip course “Global Management Forum.” Our students and faculty members from 8 different countries visited Hangzhou China from April 1 to April 5, 2018. During the intensive 3.5-day period, company visits were scheduled during daytime while debriefing sessions were arranged in the evening where students and professors discussed what they learned from the visits. The study trip included visits to Zhejiang University (Business Education), Impression Westlake (Cultural Creativity), Alibaba (E-commerce and Big Data), Super Species Supermarket (New Retail), Hema Supermarket (New Retail), Geely Auto Headquarter (Global Expansion and M&A), Geely Auto Manufacturing Facility (Automation and Just-in-Time Production), and the former residence of Hu Xueyan (China’s Warren Buffett in the 19th century).
Presentations by senior managements were arranged with all the companies. Alibaba even showed us the “War Room” screen where global data of its B2B, B2C, C2C, Alibaba Cloud, and logistics operations are displayed and updated instantly. Geely Auto’s global expansion strategy (acquiring Volvo and Lotus, taking control of Daimler AG, and developing “flying car”) is impressive. It’s also an eye-opening experience to witness the “new retail” concept of Super Species Supermarket and Hema Supermarket which combine brick and mortar, e-commerce, logistics, and restaurants.
As the Director of NTU GMBA, I would like to thank Professors Charles Chang, M.D. Cheng, and Miriam Garvi as well as the GMBA Associate Director Celia Yang for their support and assistance. It’s extremely difficult to arrange the visits (few Chinese companies would be willing to make senior managers available for a half-day to explain their strategies and operations in detail in English to outsiders). However, after seeing the very active and engaging participation of our energetic students (a fintech manager from Yuanta chasing the delivery belt at Hema Supermarket, a former Swiss banker fascinated by Hu Xueyan’s story, managers from Carousell and Alibaba interacting in the same room, a Swedish professor discussing social responsibility with Geely’s managers, and a medical doctor enjoying those high cholesterol foods in Super Species Supermarket), I know it’s worth it – learning by doing.
This trip is a good example of various innovative learning approaches initiated at NTU GMBA recently.
Our next destination: Southeast Asia…