UB Executive MBA Students To Tour China

Release Date: April 4, 2000 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Drawing upon an accumulated wealth of "guanxi," 17 Executive MBA (EMBA) students from the University at Buffalo School of Management are embarking on a study tour of China, gaining access to the highest levels of business in that country.

Guanxi is a Chinese term that has no direct English translation, but it's best described as the influence a person commands, based upon their network of contacts and personal relationships.

For the UB EMBA students, the School of Management's substantial guanxi -- accrued from 20 years as one of the only American business schools in China -- is enabling them to "go places and meet people that ordinarily would be beyond the reach of most American business people," says Courtney Walsh, executive director of the EMBA program.

The one-week tour, April 7-15, will feature meetings with top executives from Chinese state-owned enterprises, privately owned Chinese businesses, international joint ventures and American companies based in China, including, HSBC, Praxair and Rich Products, all of which also operate in Buffalo.

Also planned is a bird's-eye tour of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and visits with Chinese students enrolled in the UB School of Management's MBA programs at Renmin University and Motorola University in Beijing.

According to Walsh, all of the UB students participating in the tour are top managers from Western New York companies -- such as Outokumpu American Brass, Praxair, Delphi Harrison, Tops Markets, Delaware North and HSBC -- that either have operations in China, are planning to expand to China or which currently export products or services to China.

"Our students have learned techniques for operating in a global business environment," Walsh says. "This is an opportunity for them to see first-hand how business is conducted in a very different culture and economy, and then apply what they have learned for the benefit of their career and their employer."

John Thomas, associate dean for international programs at the UB School of Management and a veteran of more than 50 trips to China, says the students will be surprised by the entrepreneurial spirit of the Chinese.

"The motivation of China's young managers is very impressive," Thomas says. "They are extremely focused on learning U.S.-style management practices. This is globalization at the ground level."

Although the students' participation in the tour this spring is voluntary, next year it will be a requirement of the 22-month EMBA program, Walsh says. The UB school also plans to bring students from its Beijing MBA programs to Buffalo for a study tour this fall.

Media Contact Information

John Della Contrada
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