East to West, Classrooms to Factories - ’15 CLGO’s 17-Day Study Tour in the US

Publisher : MBA Office       Jul.21,2016

Designed to educate top-grade talents with global perspective in the field of manufacturing and operation, the China Leaders for Global Operations (CLGO) program offers students with many opportunities for international exchange.

On Jun 26, 25 students from CLGO Class of 2015 set out on their 17-day study tour in the United States led by Professor Li Ning from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Electronic Information and Electrical Engineering and staff member Chen Yingru from CLGO program office.

The tour includes one-week study alongside peers at the Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), visits to leading companies such as Boeing, Starbucks, Apple, Intel and SanDisk, as well as prestigious institutions such as the University of Washington, Stanford University and Harvard University.


The tour started with a visit to the Boeing facility in Seattle. Guided by an LGO alumnus who is also a current Boeing staff, CLGO students observed closely the working process of the vast assembly plant, and gained new understandings of aircraft production and components logistics through detailed description.

The atmosphere of prudent and conscientious exude by Boeing which provides many of its clients with a sense of assurance and trust also lingered on long after the group had left the factory.


Students were further impressed by the passion and love for coffee displayed through the smiling faces of each and every employee upon entering Starbucks headquarters the next morning.

During the visit, the company’s VP for Supply Chain and chief coffee taster shared with CLGO team their individual insights on operation strategy from the perspectives of corporate managing and its core product - the coffee itself.

The two also talked about new business challenges brought by globalisation, such as different taste preferences in different regions, to which their CLGO guests provided some constructive solutions based on their study and experiences and won wide appraisal.


The CLGO team arriving at Apple headquarters in Silicon Valley on Jun 29 was warmly greeted by LGO alumnus, VP of Manufacturing Design Rob York and staff from Apple’s Human Resources Department.

As a partner company of CLGO, Apple has constantly supported the program and hired many of its graduates in recent years.

Executives from this valuable global brand engaged in face-to-face exchanges with CLGO students over lunch, praised their capabilities and acknowledged their sustained contributions to the company, offered suggestions to their future development and encouraged them to generate more creative ideas and innovatively apply them to everyday work.


Another Silicon Valley giant Intel entertained the CLGO group with an inspirational speech, delivered by the company’s VP, which combines personal stories, important life choices and human mentalities when facing different situations in one hour.

Students also held in-depth talks with LGO alumni working in the Intel Corp, and received valuable advices on how to make the right transition from students to working professionals.

The day’s event ended with a journey through the 1,000-sauqre-foot Intel Museum led by product manager Ken, where students learned the making of chips and the history of the company.


At SanDisk, an American company providing flash storage solutions to data centres, smart devices and laptops worldwide, the team was met by five senior executives. Shiva Esturi, the company’s leader of supply chain strategy and optimisation, introduced SanDisk’s production procedure and supply chain structure, and shared some insightful tips on integrating academic knowledge with real-life tasks in workplaces from his personal experience as a senior operation professional.

The executives also offered some suggestions on different learning methods and recommended a list of readings which the students found highly rewarding.



On the picturesque campus of Stanford University near Palo Alto, California, CLGO students were given a lecture on big data by Ramesh Johari, Associate Professor of Management Science and Engineering.

The lecture started with an introduction on the infrastructure of big data, the shift of data storage from local servers to the clouds and its implications, the management of data flow, and whether one should focus more on application or on analysis during the process of data collection.

The second part of the lecture concerns itself with the nature of data analysis, as well as principals and applications in front-end big data technology.

The third part noted that the essence of big data analysis is about relevancy, not causality, and the purpose of conducting tests is to acquire knowledge, not prove correctness. It also touched on the issue of the cost-effectiveness of data testing.

The lecture combed through the substantial body of knowledge in the field of big data, and provided students with new perspectives on analytical thinking and problem solving.


The brief stay at Stanford was followed by an 8-day visit to MIT’s LGO program on the East Coast, where the MIT faculty and students have arranged a series of exciting events.

CLGO students joined their LGO counterparts in classes of High Velocity and Operations Management, cooperating in mixed teams in classic learning projects such as folding the world’s best paper plane, and the Beer Game, a game invented by MIT Sloan professors in the 1960s where students simulated the situation of working in a multi-level supply chain involving the distribution of beer.

A great example of ‘learning through gaming’, students have gained deeper insights in terms of decision making in different parts of the supply chain.

A lecture on marketing in China by Professor Lyu Wei, a visiting scholar at MIT from ACEM, has generated considerable interest in the Chinese market among LGO students, while the cultural difference between East and West was prominent in the featured annual course of cross-cultural communication.


Outside classrooms, young people from the two programs had a fantastic time together, watching baseball games, going whale spotting at in the open sea, hosting night-outs and dinner parties.

Having become good friends with each other after spending one week together, they are looking forward to meeting again next March when LGO students are scheduled to visit SJTU campus.


The 17-day tour has provided CLGO students with a taste of different values and ideas in different companies, further enhanced their understanding of the importance of operations and manufacturing in promoting business growth and even raising national competitiveness, broadened their horizon and polished their skills of cross-cultural interaction.

The rewarding visit has bolstered CLGO students’ confidence in becoming leaders in global operations and contributing to the development of China’s production and operation in the future.