A students project of
in Beijing and
Exploring two counterparts of China: The
capital Beijing and growing Lanzhou!!!!
After an intense preparatory engineer, who talked about her studies and Olivier Roth informed us about the
her occupation at ABB. Our delegation activities of Presence Switzerland and gave
seminar and with a great deal learned that graduates in China do not have us the latest update on the Olympic games
of enthusiasm about traveling the same chance as we have in Switzerland. in Beijing this August and the World
through China, the Insight China Every year four million students graduate Exposition in Shanghai in 2010. He showed
with a University degree. The scarcity on the us that negotiation procedures with the
delegation finally arrived in
job market leads to strong competition government of China are intense and clear
Beijing on 15th of March. where only a minority can start a career assurances rare.
China’s capital offered us first within an international company. Christoph Gertsch, Colonel GS of the
insights into t he countr y’s Swiss Defence Attaché gave us an overview
Beat Bürgi, Managing Director of the of his work as the Swiss representative in
business and cultural life...
Swiss Business Hub welcomed us to its China on military-political matters as well as
Shortly after arriving in the Olympic premises. The Swiss Business Hub China is a discussing the current situation and conflicts
City Beijing, the first genuine glimpse at sub-organization of OSEC that offers in Tibet.
China was offered to us at Tiananmen specific services to Swiss small and medium-
Square, the world’s largest public square. sized enterprises for strengthening and
The square is truly impressive, reflecting the developing their business relations with
huge size of China and its architectural China. “It is helping Swiss companies to
styles. We then visited the Forbidden City, jump over the wall”, as Beat Bürgi said. He
which stretches out behind the gate with its and his six Chinese staff members not only
vast Mao portrait. This part of Beijing was profoundly informed us about the hub but
off-limits to all but the most important of also offered us a nice and generous
visitors for 500 years and its 800 buildings reception. In this warm and friendly
and 9000 rooms were home to the atmosphere we were given the chance to
emperors. After this remarkable imperial talk to them personally.
palace, we travelled to the Great Wall. Jürg Burri, Deputy to the Swiss
There is a Chinese saying that: “A man who Ambassador in China stressed the The aim of Insight China is not only to
hasn’t climbed the Great Wall is no real importance of Switzerland as a partner for develop the participants’ knowledge about
man”. Climbing the stunning wall under a dialogues with China. As a neutral state and doing business in China but also to enrich
blue sky was a fascinating experience. host of many important NGO’s, we were their cultural understanding of this richly
t old t hat Switzer land’s inf luence is diverse environment. After our detailed and
Margrit Reck, HR Director, welcomed considerable compared to its size on the hugely informative meetings at the Swiss
our delegation at ABB Beijing. She informed world map. Perceptions of different topics Embassy the delegation ventured to
us about the firm’s operations and the such as migration and environment are Beijing’s lively night market to experience a
tremendous war of young Chinese talents. discussed between the two administrations. quite different vision of business in China,
One of these talents is Jessy, a young the hustle of the street vendors.
A students project of
In China it is customary that a company comprises a social Strengthening our Friendship
recreational club that organizes special events such as golf or
family days. Besides that, however, it is not unusual to work until “One ought to be happy when friends come from a long
midnight or longer in peak times. This is the case at the China distance”. With this Chinese saying Mr. Zhou, the Director of the
Gansu Training Center for Senior Management Officials
(GTCSMO), warmly welcomed us in Lanzhou, Gansu Province. Mr.
Zhou and his deputy, Mr. Xu remarked on the long and profound
relationship between FHNW and GTCSMO.
At Lanzhou Jiatong University we had the opportunity to talk
to students and got a better understanding of their lives, education
and dreams. For some students it was already a dream come true
that they were able to talk to foreigners in English and have supper
with them. Furthermore, the professors demonstrated parts of their
engineering programs and explained a water purification plant.
After a short sightseeing tour through the 3.3 million inhabitant
premises of our sponsor, Ernst & Young. Valuable information about capital city of Gansu province in the North West of China, the
the company’s booming business, its trainee programs and delegation was led to the Nr.1 beer manufacturer of the province.
recruitment practices were presented to us by an Ernst & Young At Huanghe Beer Co., Ltd. we were given a glimpse at the beer
Partner. She mentioned that even though they are hiring 1,500 new business, the firm’s joint venture with Carlsberg and their
graduates in China this year, they are still not able to fill all the production facilities. Of course, also “gānbēi” was part of this visit.
vacant positions. There was also time for a question and answer “gānbēi” is the Chinese cheers and an integral part of
session about living and working in China as an expatriate or demonstrating hospitality and friendship.
intern. Andreas and Anja Bodenmann left Switzerland a few
months ago and work at the Swiss Business Center. They told us At Lanzhou City University some students of the delegation
what motivated them to work in China, how they were prepared played volleyball against the university’s best team. Sure enough,
and what daily challenges they face. Verena and Niklas, two they lost, but honorably. One of the highlights was the ceremony
interns of the German Business Center, illustrated how difficult living that followed. An audience of several hundred students and
in Beijing can be with limited Chinese language skills. The professors awaited us in the music hall and amazingly performed
expatriates and interns all highlighted that one should be open- Chinese folk music, opera, martial arts and traditional dancing.
minded and not presumptuous when working in China. To make us Also the Insight China students gave their best and sang two
participate in a fine aspect of living in China, they invited the whole popular Swiss songs.
delegation to an exclusive local restaurant for lunch.
In the rural but rapidly developing province of Gansu, life can
The next company visit took place at China’s biggest computer be adventurous. This is what we experienced in small boats when
manufacturer Lenovo, where Cory M. Grenier, Project and crossing a lake near the Silk Road. We visited a massive, ancient,
Marketing Manager, gave us an insight in their global branding carved in stone Buddha statue. As mentioned in the Chinese saying
strategy. Afterwards we had a tour through the manufacturing plant earlier, we were not only called friends but truly felt the friendship
of Lenovo’s desktop computer line. between Lanzhou and FHNW. This friendship was again deepened
throughout our stay and at the farewell dinner on our last night.
Before drawing our stay in Beijing to a close, some of us Ms. Wu, Head of Human Resources of the Gansu Province, invited
immersed in the traditional way of life in Beijing. We spent the night us to an outstanding dinner, which then continued in a typical
in the Hutongs, which consist of traditional houses with typical Chinese karaoke bar. With these impressions, our stay in Lanzhou
Chinese roofs and narrow lanes. This stay can be regarded as a came to an end. A stay that definitely is a highlight of this year’s
step over the threshold to the next destination of the China Express, Insight China project and an unforgettable experience for all of us.
Lanzhou. Two important people contributing to this experience were Mr. Li
and Ms. Wang, who accompanied us, translated and helped us
adapt to the Gansu way of living during the whole stay.
Our next newsletter will update you on the next destinations of
Insight China - Hangzhou and Shanghai.
A students project of
Brief Facts about Insight China 2008
Insight China is an interdisciplinary in-depth seminar of the
University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland,
organized by students of International Management for
final-year students. It is designed for a selected number of
graduating students from the Schools of Business,
Engineering, Applied Psychology and Social Work
Bachelor degree programs. A one-week preparatory
seminar in Olten with expert guest lecturers from fields
including Management, Culture, Law and Politics offers a
thorough introduction to life and work in China.
This is followed by a trip through China visiting highly
developed cities such as Beijing and Shanghai as well as
newly fast growing internal regions such as Gansu
province, which has been in close cooperation with our
school for 15 years. The study-trip focuses on knowledge
transfer between senior executives, government officials,
universities and students. This is achieved through visits to
companies and public institutions, as well as official
receptions and discussions.