Perspectives on China

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In February of 2012, as I was reviewing the information about the Darden’s GEMBA program, specifically the locations of the global residencies, it was hard for me to be excited about going to China. It would be my sixth time visiting the country. At the time, I was hoping for a more unique location, somewhere where I had not been, yet somewhere where, from a business perspective it would be a valid place to go. How about Japan or South Korea, I pondered. But no, it was China, a place that I explored on multiple occasions, and a place I learned to like. To make things worse, the destinations cities where the most obvious: Shanghai and Beijing. What else is out there, that I have not seen and what else I can learn from visiting it again? My…show more content…
Shanghai welcomed me with a taxi driver who refused to show me his meter readout, hijacked my cell phone until I promised to pay him the outrageous taxi fee (long story culminating in me not paying him the outrageous fee), throwing my suitcase of his trunk and driving off with his trunk up so I could not capture his license plate. Not a bad start, I thought- maybe I learn something after all. Tia Zi Feng was everything I expected, crowded, cobble stone streets with many tiny shops, cafes, and art galleries. My host Jamie, who had a New Zealand souvenir store at the bottom of the studio was very welcoming. My first night he invited me to join him and a few fellow Westerners to a Shanghai style restaurant situated in an old local-style mansion. The experience was wonderful; and I had a chance to meet some interesting yet very different people; from a yoga/photographer woman from Minnesota, who was just finishing her three-year Asian adventure to an English teacher from Ohio, to an software entrepreneur from Oregon. Impressively they were all more or less fluent in Mandarin, which I greeted with envy as my one and a half years of learning the language had been not the most fruitful to say the least. But then it was time to go and meet the GEMBA 13. It was so exciting to see the guys again. The schedule looked intense and I started to think, contrary to my previous assertion, that I may learn something. The China
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