A look back at the E.M.B.L.-HSG Shanghai Module 2013

Sep 9 2013
by Petra Majdik

This year’s Shanghai module of the EMBL program took place during the last week of August and felt like the warmest of the year. Luckily the Fudan School of Managementhosted us in a nice air-conditioned classroom where we spent most of the week.

During the week we had a great variety of topics, the main focus was to get a wide introduction to the Chinese business and legal framework. Besides some facts and figures, an important goal of the week was to understand the background of the Chinese development by also looking at the cultural and behavioral aspects of the Chinese society. We started the week with a historical review of the political development of China and to understand the incomparable economic growth of China. During the week we looked at it from different perspectives: political, legal, business and social.

One of the main points of the week was China’s international relations, especially with focus on the foreign investment possibilities and challenges. We could talk about some of these challenges directly during the welcoming reception organized by Eiger law firm and Swissnex China. It was very interesting to discuss with Swiss lawyers and business people who work and live in Shanghai. Regarding the job opportunities in China we also had the chance to discuss this during our informal lunch meeting with two experienced headhunters.

A highlight of the week was the field trip visiting the Shanghai Putuo Court, where we had the opportunity to be embedded into the Chinese legal system by listening (mostly looking at, since everything was on Chinese) to an actual court hearing including the pronouncement of the judgment.

On the last day it was our turn to present the prepared topics enriched with the newly learned information. All topics had a link to recent developments in China’s economy or law so we had enough material to discuss current developments or actual cases that we can currently read about in the news. The discussions in the classroom were – given the local political system – surprisingly open and critical.

One important conclusion, which we all agreed on, is that in the future the focus is not only on how China can learn from Western cultures but rather how the world can learn from China and it’s systematic approach to development and growth. The international community must carefully look at China’s future development and see where the “Chinese dream” will go in the next decades in the process of consolidating its leading economic dominance and coping with the upcoming social challenges deriving from it.

Given the important role of China in today’s world, this was an important module in our studies. My personal highlight of the week was the high quality and great variety of the speakers: both from business and legal backgrounds, both academics and practitioners, both Chinese and foreign. This made my week inspiring and enriching.