UWF business students learn about entrepreneurship in China
A group of University of West Florida students recently traveled to Beijing and Shanghai, China, where they learned firsthand that an entrepreneurial spirit transcends countries, oceans and cultures.
Dr. John Batchelor, assistant professor of management and MIS and faculty advisor for Student Collaborative Entrepreneurship Organization, or Student CEO, said he wanted his students to see what entrepreneurship looks like in a country other than the U.S.
“China is one of the world’s emerging business leaders, so I wanted to take students there to see how the Chinese population lives and works,” Batchelor said. “The amount of knowledge we gained was immense, and it was really interesting to see how eager the Chinese businesses were to have American visitors and learn more about what we’re doing in the U.S.”
During the trip, Batchelor and Dr. Blaine Lawlor, director of the UWF MBA program and assistant professor, accompanied 10 undergraduate and graduate business students (MBA) as they toured different companies, including a Volkswagen manufacturing plant and more. Additionally, they visited historic sites such as the Great Wall of China and Tian’anmen Square.
Meghan O’Donnell, a junior business administration major, said the experience not only allowed her to be immersed in another culture, but also inspired her to broaden her own entrepreneurial dreams.
“Just walking down the street, business was so completely different from how it’s done in the U.S.,” she said. “We visited a company that makes facial and character recognition software, and it was amazing to see how they made it user-friendly for older generations. They had a mouse that you could draw characters on, rather than having to type them all in. When you visit a foreign country, you see that the rest of the world doesn’t think the same way you do, and it makes you appreciate your own country while giving you ideas for new ways to do business that you wouldn’t think of at home.”
Shashank Ganugupati, a UWF MBA student from India, said he wanted to participate in the trip as part of his love for traveling, and to learn more about the Chinese culture and business practices. The aspiring film producer also took advantage of his time in China to film a short travel documentary about the group’s experience.
“Traveling to another country gives you a different perspective from another part of the world,” he said. “There is a lot to learn from China as a world business leader that is growing more each day. For me, it was really interesting to see how much they’re investing in and growing their entertainment industry.”
Student CEO links UWF students who are interested in entrepreneurship to enhance their knowledge of business and create networking opportunities with the business community.
The China trip was made possible by the support of UWF School of Business Interim Dean Tim O’Keefe and the Office of International Education and Programs and Student Government Association. It was also sponsored by the Confucius Institute at UWF, which promotes the study of Chinese language and culture.