Study, Interact and Experience - 2016 MBA Study Tour in Western United States

Publisher : MBA Office       Oct.14,2016

The American West, the Far West, the Wild West … for many the name always seems to conjure up images of sand sweeping across vast plains, tumbleweeds rolling in the winds, herds of cattle being led up a labyrinth of mountain trails, and tough cowboys and independent pathfinders in search of new frontiers.

Today, however, the Western United States boasts a diverse economy featuring industry leaders in manufacturing, technology, banking, entertainment and various other sectors. The celebration of life and human spirit through seems never to have left.

On Sep 25, over 50 MBA students from Antai College of Economics and Management (ACEM) boarded a plane bound for Seattle, embarking on a 10-day study tour in the American West, led by ACEM Professor Zhou Zucheng as well as Staff member Chen Jianke and Zhouyue.

During the tour, they will visit Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and get to know well-known brands such as Boeing and Microsoft.


First stop Seattle.

Nicknamed ‘the Emerald City’, it is famous for being the home base of Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks. The three-day stay almost seemed too short with lectures at University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, visits to Boeing factories, Microsoft Retail Experience Centre and the flagship store of Starbucks Roastery. And students were deeply enchanted by the city’s beautiful scenery and relaxing atmosphere.


Study - Fostering the Future

University of Washington is one of the most notable higher-education institutions in Seattle. Founded in 1861, it is a top public research university ranked No.15 in the world by Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2016, No.25 by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2016–17) and No.59 by QS World University Rankings 2016/17.

It is home to six Nobel Prize winners, 15 MacArthur Fellows, over 240 members of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and 167 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The University’s Foster School of Business is among the top business schools in the United States, and is particularly renowned for entrepreneurship and accounting. It was ranked 21st in the States and 49th worldwide by Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2016, and 24th and 37th respectively by the Economist’s 2016 MBA & Business School Rankings.

At Foster, students attended a lecture on corporate development in the age of the Internet delivered by Professor Suresh Kotha from Department of Management and Organisation, during which he explained the meaning of corporate and non-corporate innovation and illustrated the growth of crowd-funding and online retailing in America through detailed cases studies.

Associate Dean of Executive Education and International Initiatives Jean Choy presented to students the Four-colour Personality Analysis, and guided them to test their level of team spirit, leadership and areas needing further improvement.

Assistant Professor Michael Wagner from the Department of Information Systems and Operations Management meanwhile, demonstrated the power of big data in today’s society using an example of successfully predicting baseball team performances through data crunching.


Interact - Understanding Businesses

A newly added feature of this year’s company visit is a face-to-face meeting with executives before actually stepping on site.

On Sep 25, managers from Boeing’s product marketing department introduced the company’s product series and planned future developments. As the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer, Boeing manufactures not only commercial jetliners but also military aircrafts and space systems used by NASA.

The talk given by the HR Director of Microsoft a day later featured Microsoft product ranges, corporate culture and strategies on human resources. Questions on human resources management from the audience were promptly answered in plain language and vivid examples, and the beautifully made souvenir distributed in the end won hearts of everyone.


Experience - The Big, The Innovative and The Unique

After meeting with Boeing executives, students finally entered the company's Everett factory north of Seattle. Designed as an assembly building for wide-body jets 747, 767, 777 and the 787 Dreamliner, the facility is the world’s largest by volume. The precision involved in operations management impressed the students deeply, while the sight of planes ordered by airlines from China excited the crowd.

The visit to tech-giant Microsoft was unsurprisingly filled with innovative surprises, with Surface, Xbox and an array of intelligent wearable devices popping up all around the modern campus, a fitting metaphor for the company itself.

Starbucks’ Seattle Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room meanwhile, described as ‘a one-of-a-kind coffee shrine’ by its website, offered a multisensory coffee experience by showing the whole process involved in the making of the perfect brew. Even more excitingly, the Roastery will soon open a new branch in ACEM’s home base Shanghai.


Students also visited the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, went sighting around Seattle, and exchanged experiences with alumni working in the city.

As Sir Isaac Newton famously wrote, ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’. The three-day study tour has given students access to the latest management insights and first-hand management experiences from world-class companies, broadening their horizon and fuelling further development in the future.

After Seattle, there is San Francisco, where classes at the highly-regarded University of California Berkeley, and visits to Intel and Leap Motion awaits. More excitements ahead!