Day 3 – Rise and Shine

The last day in Shanghai started with some heavy lifting. Luggage was packed and gathered in the hotel lobby, which ended up being open to exhibition for quite a while, since the local bus driver seemed to be unfamiliar with Shanghai’s morning traffic. Overall, the concept of time seemed to be not very well understood by the individual in question. Anyways, after our obligatory contribution to climate change and more specifically Shanghai’s lovely grey smoggy sky, we reached our destination at Autoneum. The friendly plant manager greeted us and provided us with a detailed presentation about Autoneum and its Shanghai plant. After multiple attempts of the plant manager in drowning the students in technical details and information nobody would ever even remotely remember, Mr. Braun skilfully stepped and sweet-talked the manager into leaving out some of the specifics. However, salvation lasted only briefly. As the plant manager finished the presentation he passed on the word to one of his employees, who provided us with a rather similar presentation. Of course Mr. Braun saved the day a second time and we were finally taken on the tour. The production facilities looked very organized and well structured. Clearly, the process of preparing and cutting the isolation materials is not the most complex, but it was still very interesting to see how people worked in the factory. One of the most interesting insights gained was that most of the machinery used was mostly produced in China. Only high precision instruments were imported from Switzerland or Germany. This greatly indicates how rapidly China’s development even in producing machineries has progressed. After the tour, gifts were presented, group photos were taken, roundhouses of applauses were given and an engine was ignited.

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I would have been mean to question the drivers’ time perception skills only for being late in the morning. It also might have been our CTO’s planning that was not as meticulous as he thought it was, but censorship is a local custom and of course we adapt. Arriving about an hour late at Huber and Suhner the group was greeted by some paparazzi. Somewhat starting to get a feel of why certain stars get annoyed by being photographed all the time, another group picture was taken. Multiple attempts later, the students joyously devoured their surprisingly tasty pre-ordered pizzas and were finally ready to rock’n roll. The tour commenced and was extremely interesting. Although the guide spoke in riddles, it was fairly obvious how well structured and organized Huber and Suhner’s facilities are. But the real highlight came after the tour with the presentation of a guest-lecturer organized by Huber and Suhner. The Chinese native, who obtained his PhD from HSG, provided an exceptional presentation about the economic situation of China. It was impressive to see how critical he discussed the topics at hand and how freely he spoke about negative aspects of the Chinese macro environment.

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After a diverse Chinese dinner, the group of now past-tofu-lovers (if you ever see brown tofu… just don’t) headed towards the train station. The sub-sequential embarking of the train was a true success and a lively group of students established a cozy atmosphere in their wagon. Also, the rules of UNO proofed to be a quite challenging to certain individuals from Appenzell. Regardless, the train ride was a joyous experience and everybody reached the final destination save and sound.

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Day 2 – Survival of the Fittest

After the celebrated unification of the Field Trip Group 2016 the night before, getting up proofed to be challenging to certain executive members. After a slight delay, the group headed to Swissnex. Upon arrival, the lovely Isabel greeted the group. Up next, an introductory presentation was held by the Swiss consular, which set a rather serious tone. Therefore, the energetic and very sympathetic Romand, Pascal Marmier, who entered the stage afterwards, resulted in a refreshing new environment and provided interesting insights about Swissnex and its team. In a next instance, Fabio Müller from Swiss Global Enterprise brought the student’s attention closer to the trade of goods between Switzerland and China. Most interestingly, they receive about 1000 requests per year, which result in about 40 mandates. Furthermore, he highlighted the regional differences in China and underlined the transforming nature of the market with the rise in labour costs and discussed emerging implications. Certainly, Fabio’s presentation was very insightful, but the presentation climax of the today was doubtlessly achieved by Michael Lehmann. With his natural and exciting presentation style he caught the students’ undivided attention. Also, his personal experiences about the Chinese culture and the corresponding linkage to making business in China were extremely interesting. Particularly, he mentioned the enormous speed at which Chinese people operate and adapt as well as the openness of the elder generation towards new technologies and the ever-changing scenery of Shanghai. Clearly, if someone wants to conduct successful business in Shanghai or China respectively, they need to be fast moving, open-minded, flexible, always keep track of local trends and be physically present on multiple occasions throughout the year. Otherwise, success will be unlikely.DSCF2751

After a nice Japanese lunch, the group met with Professor Guoxiang Huang, his co-workers and some MBA students at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. After a brief introduction about Shanghai involving developments of the real estate market, the transformation from a labour intensive towards a more automated industry and two lengthy marketing videos about the University from the side of Jiao Tong, Mr. Braun took over and introduced ZHAW and Switzerland. In that sense, recent political issues such as immigration, the relationship with the EU and BREXIT were briefly touched upon. Afterwards, the floor was opened to the students, who were then asking questions about, firstly, miscellaneous things like watch prices in China vs. Switzerland. However, the discussion developed and interesting questions about the environment of start-ups in Switzerland were posed. Furthermore, according to the MBA students, China is actively promoting and trying to create an environment for young entrepreneurs themselves. Finally, the knowledge exchange ended with a brief tour of the campus towards the exit of the University.IMG_1215IMG_1250

The outstandingly disciplined students behaved and enjoyed the last night in Shanghai without anything in particular worth mentioning. Clearly, everybody was excited about, yet another, very eventful day ahead and decided to go to sleep a little earlier.

Hello Shanghai – Setting the Bar

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Early in the morning a group of jet-lagged young ZHAW students gathered in the hotel lobby. After a surprisingly fishy but excessively diverse breakfast, the strengthened group of individuals set off to explore the vibrating city of Shanghai. Regardless of the cruel early hour (8.00 am!!) the group started their conquest through the business hub at the Bund. After a brief introduction of Stefan and Dr. Braun, the tour continued towards the marvelous Yu Yang garden. The mysterious atmosphere of the garden was highlighted by its temple looking like structures, its overwhelming silence, its invisible mosquito attacks, and its bonsai trees. A coup
le of hours later, the students gathered again and made their way towards the subway, which lead them to the French district, in which they enjoyed a tasty meal and a well deserved lunch break.DSC00068

The afternoon commenced with a subway ride to Pu Dong, where the students visited the Shanghai World Financial Tower. When standing in line for the elevator all the way to the top, the wait was verbally supported by cheering voices from the enthusiastic group when new elevators would arrive. This resonated in a Chinese group’ s astonishment and sounds of “ohhhnnn”. Clearly, the group was already well integrated and appreciated by the local culture. The tower itself was not that great of an attraction. However, the long waits in line were characterized by great conversations, which made it a unique experience anyway.DSC00102

Some hours later, at 8 pm to be precise, the group met at Bar Rouge, where Dr. Braun invited the students for a drink. Thank you, Sir! The beers were enjoyed in the lovely modern environment of the roof top bar, which was even further highlighted by the lively Pu Dong skyline. Of course the night did not end here, because it never does when such a great combination of almost Bachelor’s degree recipients comes together. The night continued in fusion club, where the merits of the Shanghai nightlife were enjoyed. To be continued…IMG_6200