The Shanghai Connection

Oregon Os were on display in Shanghai this past summer, with ten Lundquist College undergraduates studying business at Tongji University, June 28–August 6. Adding to that, six more students (four MBAs and two undergraduates) had eight-week internships at Spraying Systems Co.'s Shanghai facility. At Tongji University, students completed two courses, including one on corporate governance developed by UO senior accounting instructor Michele Henney. Students also enrolled in short courses in Chinese language.

Being able to put their UO business education in a global context—and in the financial center of the world's fastest growing economy—was a key takeaway for students participating in the Tongji study-aboard program, coordinated through the UO Office of International Affairs.

Tongji University is ranked in the top twenty-five universities in China, and its School of Economics and Management is one of the oldest and most highly ranked business schools in China. The program offered opportunities for Lundquist College students to interact with Chinese business students, faculty, and representatives of Chinese and multinational businesses. In addition to coursework, students attended guest lectures, special seminars, and company visits, adding an experiential element. Excursions included a visit to the 2010 World Expo, which Tongji faculty members were involved with through corporate partners.

As for students interning at Spraying Systems Co., they were in Shanghai from July to early September. Three MBA students from the Center for Sustainable Business practices worked on a sustainability project for the company. Another MBA student focused on product development processes, and the two undergraduates applied their knowledge to operations and supply chain management endeavors.

One of the CSBP students, Greg Carlson, said of the opportunity, "My experience as an intern in China was invaluable and sure to affect my approach to my future career."

"I soon found out that simply loving to travel did not immediately translate into success when working across cultures. Adapting to my new surroundings and attempting to apply my MBA skill set to the Chinese workplace was a hurdle I had to overcome," he elaborated.

The internships with Spraying System arose out of Associate Professor of Decision Sciences Nagesh Murthy's spring course Supply Chain Operations and Information. All six students were in the course, and Murthy visited Spraying Systems in Shanghai from September 16-19 to engage with their senior management; to spend half a day on their factory floor to get a detailed view of their technology, process, and challenges; and to subsequently provide guidance for students to wrap up their final analyses.

Murthy added that Spraying Systems was so supportive of the students that "the chairman of the company asked all six students to reflect on their experience and submit a one-page write-up."

And the possibility remains open for additional projects and internships in the future, perhaps even at one of Spraying Systems' facilities in Japan or in Bangalore, India.