Day 14 – HaLong Bay from a bird’s eye

After two interesting weeks in China and Vietnam we all arrived well in Halong Bay. There, we had the pleasure to board a very nice ship and cruised through the idillic and beautiful pillars and islets. Halong Bay is known as a world heritage since the year 1994 and it is the number one tourist hub in northern Vietnam. After lunch, everybody took a kayak and discovered the little caves that are situated in the sea, later on we climbed up one of the many hills and enjoyed the view over the pillars and the uncoubtable cruise ships in the sea. Back on the boat, our study trip photographer let his drone up in the sky to capture the beauty of HaLong Bay from a bird’s point of view. These amazing pictures can also be seen on his instagram @swissbirdseye and on Youtube at Swiss Bird’s Eye.

Our ship from a bird’s eye.

Our group enjoys the sunset on top of the ship.

In the night we had the pleasure to learn more about the vietnamese kitchen from chefs. They teached us for example how to do vietnamese springrolls, all on the top deck of the boat. Meanwhile, everybody could enjoy the amazing sunset before heading to dinner. After dinner a happy sit together on the boat ended this nice day.

Day 15 – Goodbye

Last Day

After a wonderful night in this ship the next activity in programm was Tai Chi at 6.15 am.

Our mates had the opportunity to experience an inner material art. Tai Chi is viewed as a system of movement theory or gymnastic, which can serve health, personality, development and meditation.

The attendance on this Tai chi lesson was “limited”. I would say my mates were very interested in Tai Chi but the desire of sleep was more preferred. Anyway this Tai Chi lesson began with the basic steps, and the meaning of it were explained. It demanded balance and concentration which was not very easy at 6.15 am, but my colleague Luca and I managed it very well.

So the next activity in programm was the suprise cave which is located inside Bo Hon Island, in the middle of Halong Bay and it is one of the biggest caves. For those with imaginative minds, the inner space can be seen as a theater made by mother nature.

After this programm we checked out early and a lunch were served for us, where we had conversations about this Field Trip. So following a review…

Field Trip Review
We learned a lot about the emerging markets and had the chance to experience it in China and Vietnam. So we learned that the knowledge about the Culture is one of the most importand key factor for beeing successful in emergin markets. Another key factor is to keep up with changes because China is growing very fast and you have to follow up in each aspect of business. So we experienced this culture not on books, blogs or on websites but in China and Vietnam itself. We had the chance to visit very interesting compays and had a very warm welcoming in each of these. If you are wondering which companys we visited and what we learned from them, you can read the daily blogs my collegues wrote. All this special experiences we made was thanks to our teacher, so…

Special thanks to Mr. Braun
Mr. Braun gave us an “introduction” in the modul “emergin market” which was very interesting and we were also perfectly prepared for the Field Trip. He gave us the opportunity to organize this Field Trip on or own and helped us wherever he could. So I can not imagine another teacher could have done all this like Mr. Braun did. Without Mr. Braun and Mr. Wei we could have not visited all this interesting companys and had this amazing unique experience. He was always fair and cooperative. I hope he enjoyed this Field Trip with us, as much as we enjoyed it with him.


Group Hanoi: Beqiraj Naxhije, Egli Andrea, Huruglica Mejreme, Lapanashvili Mariam, Schneider Thomas

Day 13 – Elevator

The second day in Hanoi started early at 8.00 am and was strictly planned with three visits. But at least we got a bit used to the motorbikes. To the first visit we went due an invitation from the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE), which is a governmental organization of Vietnam.
Because the meeting room they arranged for us was on the fifth floor, we took the elevator to get there. But not all reached the top. Nine of us were stuck in the elevator and had to be freed by the security guards. We had to learn this way that “Max. 9 people”, maximale 9 vietnamese people were meant!

Finally they are free again!

After this “small accident” we had the pleasure to listen to two really interesting presentations about the economy in Vietnam and what VIETRADE does. They do a lot of activities to assist Vietnamese and foreign enterprises in their business development and expansion in Vietnam. One of the founder of VIETRADE Mr. Alain Chevalier, a native-born Swiss with a Swiss watch, showed that since the foundation in July 2000 the exports in Vietnam have been raised in a huge amount.

Mr. Alain Chevalier

After one and an half hour we had to leave VIETRADE due to our tight schedule as mentioned before.

At 11 pm the company Habeco welcomed us at their conference room. The meeting was less a conference because we didn’t listen to presentations nor a speech, but were shown a selfmade movie about Habeco, Hanoi Beer Alcohol and Beverage Joint Stock Corporation. After that, we were directed to the production of the beer to have an inside view. It was very impressive because Habeco is the third largest beer company in Vietnam and has a strategic partnership with Carlsberg Group. 15 minutes before we had to go, Habeco kindly invited us to a beer. And because we did not want to ruin the hospitality, we could not say no and enjoyed the „Hanoi Beer“.

After an hour at the factory, the last but not least visit to a company in this Field Trip was waiting for us. The Sofitel Legend Metropole, which is a Luxushotel, build in neoclassical colonial style, welcomed us with lunch. Especially I would like to thank Ms. Hang Pham for the whole coordination until the last minute. After lunch we could have an inside view of the most exclusive suits Sofitel has. And finally, Mr. Anthony told us about all the challenges and his personal experiences the hotel business brings with it.

After the three successful and interesting visits, the students had free time to explore the wonderful and cultural city Hanoi. At the end we had dinner all together and enjoyed once again the company of each other and said goodbye to Philemon, Floriane and Richard and wishing them all the best, because they were not coming with us to Halong Bay.

“MJ out!”

Group Hanoi:

Beqiraj Naxhije, Egli Andrea, Huruglica Mejreme, Lapanashvili Mariam, Schneider Thomas

Day 11/12 – Hanoi, where are your motorbikes?

Motorbikes, motorbikes, motorbikes… Whereever you look.. motorbikes. We arrived on wednesday late afternoon in the Vietnamise capital Hanoi, a city which populates 7 mio people and 5 mio motorbikes. Except one of our mates, who lost his passport somewhere in HongKong’s airport, all of us could finally leave the impressive People’s Republic of China and enter the south-east asian world in Vietnam. Quickly, it was realized that the country here is very different to China. Everyone could feel the warm welcome of a charming city. Not only the streets, buildings and landscapes look different, but also the people behave in another, more open and warm, way. It is not only the “make money” and “produce” and “GDP-growth” as it was in China. After checking in at the very central located Hotel, we could enjoy an amazing dinner on a rooftop with view over the Hoan-Kiem-Lake.

View from our restaurant.


On day 12, we once more had to learn “It’s the early bird that catches the worm”. After meeting at 7.30 we drove to the renomated FPT University of Hanoi. Next to providing educational services, the FPT Corporation is active with IT-services, telecommunication and technology retail. The FPT University of Hanoi is famous for its IT education, however we were going to meet economy students with majors in marketing and finance. Arriving at the campus we learned that every room provides space for at least one tree. With this measure, the FPT University could already earn certificates for beeing sustainable. During our visit we were pleased to be a part of the local students daily life and could enjoy a very interesting presentation about Vietnam’s economy. To mention is that a Vietnamese economy teacher likes to compare his country to Singapore and Japan. From a Vietnamese’ point of view, the gap to those economically strong nations doesn’t seem to big.

Better chairs than the ones in the SW building in Winterthur!

A Swiss contribution followed the Vietnamese presentation. Mr. Braun and two students delivered an excellent presenation about the ZHAW and Switzerland with its culture, economy and so on. When waiting for questions from Vietnamese students, only one student asked the Swiss “boys” to provide their Facebook details to the Vietnamese female students. After that, a nice exchange in small groups of Vietnamese and Swiss students was held, where we learned something about the daily life, the ambitions and, of course, the Facebook details of a student in Vietnam. All in all, it was very exciting to get an insight into studying in this country. The rest of the day was free, which most of us used for a relaxing massage somewhere in the old quarter of Hanoi.

P.S. The student, who was left behind in Hong Kong, eventually found his passport and could rejoin the group in Hanoi.



Author of this entry: Thomas Schneider

Day3: Insurance, Wine and Fake Money

For the third day in Beijing we visited the reinsurance company ‘Swiss Re’ in the heart of the city’s financial district. With regards to the lack of sleep of which most of us were suffering from, the welcoming Starbucks coffee at the firm was not only a nice gesture, but also highly required. At Swiss Re a motivated team presented us the firm’s history underlined with the milestones of the company. To my surprise the company’s loss of money caused by the San Francisco earthquake actually fostered the positioning of Swiss Re by gaining worldwide recognition. Other presentations focused on themes such as the OBOR initiative, food safety and the insurance situation of China where we were hit with a vast number of figures. Afterwards, we were invited to discuss China-related topics in groups along with an expert from the Swiss Re team. Overall, the visit was short but nonetheless insightful.

In the afternoon, Mrs. Claudia Masueger was kind enough to inform us on ‘Cheers Wine’ – a wine reseller that conquered Beijing with affordable, yet qualitative wine. Although a bit skeptical in the first place (due to the run down real estate), we were impressed by the professionality and innovation with which the business is run. In order to get a taste for the quality of ‘Cheers Wine’ a little degustation along with chicken feet and tongue (!) was set up. The saying ‘the eye eats with’ probably explained our conservative appetite, however, it made the event even more memorable.

Off program we then decided to make up the omitted meal by going to an all-you-can-eat Tepaniaki restaurant. The food became secondary when we realized that we are proud owner of fake money and must have been tricked by a vicious hotel employee. However, to quote Way: ‘This is China.’

Day 2 Innovation in China and Switzerland

In the morning of June 26 the class started the day with breakfast in the hotel at 07:30 am. After that the shuttle bus brought us to Innoway. Innoway is a street with 200 length where different startups had the chance to incubate.

In total 1900 startups had their offices in the street of Innoway since the beginning and 743 of them succeeded in finding an investor. The total amount of money spent from several investors for the startups is 91.04 billion Yuan.

Innoway itself supports the startups in marketing, HR and other important stuff. At the beginning of the visit an employee from the communication department gave us some interesting facts about the company and we had the chance to see some technological innovations like roboteers. In the second part of the morning we went through the street and had a look into several startup offices.

At 11:00 am the class went for lunch in a restaurant near Innoway or some of us went to McDonalds.

After an interesting morning, the shuttle brought us to the swiss embassy. When we arrived Loris Niederberger welcomed us to the embassy and gave us some introduction how he came to his job and to the embassy in general. We learned, that the embassy in Beijing in the biggest swiss embassy that Switzerland have in the world. For the afternoon, we were located in a room at the embassy where we had the chance to drink some coffee to stay fit because of the though program.

The first speaker we heard was Sophia Yan, a correspondent from CNBC who gave us a very interesting insight into the Chinese political system in connection with doing business in China. We learned that the Chinese government is controlling the companies very much and that it is very important as an entrepreneur to have good relationships to the government. After that Stefan Wellauer, a Political Advisor of the Swiss Embassy gave us a deeper insight into the daily business of the embassy. The next speaker was LI Jiang who works as a researcher for Phoenix New Media. In that presentation, we learned a lot about the culture in China and the influence of the government to companies or media. At the end Matthias Durrer from PwC Hongkong and Mainland China had a presentation about doing business in China. Key message from him was that everything is possible in the Chinese market but it is not easy to reach and you have to work hard to success.

After the very interesting afternoon the class changed the dress because we were invited to the Ambassador’s residence for the Venture Leaders Event. This event is to connect Chinese investors with Swiss entrepreneurs.

It was great to be there and we had the chance to listen to Swiss entrepreneurs who introduced the innovative products. After the presentation, we get some food and drinks at the buffet and used the evening for networking with the other guests.  It was a fantastic end to an interesting day.

Day 1 – China your Wall is great!

Our first day started with an early waking up in order to catch the shuttle to the great wall. This was a wise decision because our arrival at Mu Tian Yu at 7.15 am let us enter the cabel car as the first group and we enjoyed the wall without the usual crowd. The walk on the 8000 km long wall was simply impressive. Perfect weather conditions and almost no haze let us xxx. The Mu Tian Yu section is known because its building quality and its dimension. However, the section of Mu Tian Yu is only a little part of the 21`000 km long wall which goes through 15 provinces.

After a short lunchbreak at the park entrance the bus brought us back to the city centre of Beijing.

We continued our sightseeing tour at the Tiananmen square. This place became sadly famous as the student massacre in 1989. In honour of the death of the many thousand students we wanted to take a picture with the ZHAW banner. We already took the photo when a soldier came and angrily ordered to delete the pictures.

After this incident our guide Eric brought us the entrance of the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace of the Ming und Qing dynasties. The world`s largest palace complex impressed us with its detailed craftmanship.

To end the day we went to a traditional Chinese barbeque restaurant where the house speciality is lamb haunch. The food was delicious and even the 5 power blackouts couldn`t stop the good atmosphere.