Cambridge, Oxford and London, the Dream Continues——a 10-day Study Tour in England

Publisher : MBA Office       Apr.20,2016

From March 25 to April 4, 2016, the Antai College of Economics and Management (ACEM) UK study tour group consists of 50 people went on a 10-day visit in Britain. Students travelled to Cambridge, Oxford and London, attending lectures in world-famous Cambridge University and London School of Business, exploring the high-technology Silicon Fen and marveling at the celebrated sights and landmarks. Full of amazing surprises and rewarding gains, the tour has been a memorable experience to every member of the group.


When I grow up, I want to go to Cambridge

After a 13-hour flight and a 2-hour bus journey, the ACEM UK study tour group arrived by starlight in Cambridge, a university city roughly 80 kilometers north of London, on the first day of Easter holiday. Everyone got a good night’s sleep in the ancient Corpus Christi College built in 1352, accompanied by the creaky sound of the antique wooden staircase and warmed by the heaters in the corners of the rooms.


The next morning began with a sumptuous breakfast offered by the college and was followed by a series of exciting courses. The class of ‘Leadership Challenges in Globalization’ let us think about the difference between a manager and a leader, the close link between leadership and corporate culture, and how can China achieve sustainable development, while the lesson on English culture guided us through a vast range of topics from Anglo-Saxon history, the story of Cambridge University to table manners in Western society.


During the course titled ‘Managing the Unknown’, we learned the secrets of turning the unknown into known in day-to-day business management. The class of ‘Disruptive Innovation and its Impact on the Global Banking Industry’ made us realize the difficulties faced by disruptive innovation. People often concentrate their creative efforts in sustaining and efficiency innovation while shunning disruptive ones for fear of the huge risk they contain, not realizing that only they can bring in new employment and opportunities. And in the classroom of ‘Rationality in Strategic Cognition and Execution’, we learned once again that human beings are emotional creatures, we need to calculate risks and costs through diverse teams in order to make rational judgments and avoid cognitive dissonance and faulty decision-making.


Wandering in the historic and elegant center of Cambridge, the group managed to squeeze in visits to landmarks such as the Cam River, Trinity College, Cambridge University Library and the King’s College Chapel between classes. We also frequented The Eagle, the famous pub where Francis Crick and James Watson worked out a model for the three-dimensional structure of DNA whilst working at the university's Cavendish Laboratory, and attended high table dinners and Scottish Balls at night.


The beautiful city realized ‘the Cambridge Dream’ in many students’ hearts and minds, and the T-shirt bearing the sentence ‘When I grow up, I want to go to Cambridge’ became the souvenir of choice.


Oxford, a city inside a university

After five days in Cambridge, the tour group moved on to their next stop, Oxford, a city in the South East region of England and home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world.


Unlike Cambridge, which is a city with a university, Oxford is more of a city within a university. The school is larger and the city smaller, residential communities are scattered between colleges and the whole place flourished because of the university. If you ask a resident ‘Where is the University of Oxford’, the likeliest answer you’ll get is ‘Everywhere’, and it’s absolutely true.


During the short half-day stay, the Christ Church, where Harry, Ron, Hermione and the others walk up the grand stairway and enter the magical world of Hogwarts in the movie Harry Potter became the most popular destination.


Tired of London? Tired of Life!

The 18th Century English writer Samuel Johnson famously said that ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’. Bearing that in mind, the group was completely enchanted by the city’s famous sights, the Big Ben, the Thames, the London Eye, the Tower Bridge, the Sherlock Holmes Museum…London is like a world, with so much to see, so much to do, and so many reasons to fall in love with.


For students of ACEM study tour group however, the biggest reason of all would be the renowned London Business School (LBS). Sitting in the heart of this fascinating city, right next to the Regent’s Park, LBS is an international business school providing graduate degrees (including MBA), executive education and business research. It is also a prestigious business school ranked among top three in the world.


It is the first time that LBS has collaborated with ACEM, and the school has invited some of their best teachers to take the podium. The course of ‘Private Equity Investment’ let us see clearly the big market and potentially huge impact of the industry and the large gap between Chinese private equity firms and their overseas counterparts.


The ‘Introduction to Macroeconomics’ taught by Professor of Economics and former Deputy Dean Andrew Scott guided us through hot economic topics, policies and trends in every major country in the contemporary world. Professor Scott also pointed out that the two principal ways to raise productivity is either capital deepening or enhance total factor productivity, and these would be the direction for China’s future reforms.


These courses, along with lessons such as ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’, ‘Practicing Corporate Social Responsibility’, ‘Understanding the HSBC Model of Risk Control’ and ‘History of the London Metal Exchange’ all reflected the creative approach, the cutting-edge research and the unique style of LBS, broadening students’ mind and winning applauses and acclamation. 


When London meets Shanghai

The greatness of a city is not determined by how many people it can take, but how many dreams and future it can carry. London and Shanghai are both great cities carrying hopes and dreams for generations. As ACEM students, we are a lucky bunch, because we have the opportunity to receive education in first-class institutions in both places, to witness the economic and social changes in today’s world, to experience two different wisdoms from East and West, and to feel the pulse of two legendary cities on the planet.


Those who changed the world have left their marks along the corridor of Cambridge University, in the café of Oxford, and on the bench of the Regent’s Park. Will the next future shaper emerge from the classrooms of ACEM? Let’s start today.