Elon Law and MBA students engage China
Twenty-five law and MBA students met with top business and law leaders in Beijing and Hong Kong through an international business course.
Thirteen Elon Law students and twelve MBA students from Elon's Martha and Spencer Love School of Business participated in the collaborative course in January.
The course included business, legal and cultural activities in both cities. Students analyzed U.S.-based businesses operating in China before the trip, and then visited those businesses during the trip to see their operations and speak with executives first-hand about the challenges and opportunities of doing business in China.
“Our trip to China was by far one the best experiences of my life,” said third-year law student Savannah Mangum. “To be able to study and experience a culture so different from ours was truly exhilarating and life-changing.”
“The trip to Beijing and Hong Kong with my Elon classmates was the most memorable, educational, and adventurous 10 days that I’ve ever had,” said MBA student Ben Tario. “We learned much about the Chinese culture and way of doing business and were fortunate to get intimate access to American and Chinese companies and agencies. I also made some great friends through the trip.”
During their 10-day trip to Beijing and Hong Kong, which took place January 12-22, students visited several international businesses (IBM, RF Micro Devices, Cree, VF Corporation, SAS) and law firms (Covington & Burling, Fulbright & Jaworski, Jun He Law Firm). Students also visited the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, heard from Hong Kong’s former representative to the World Trade Organization, and toured port facilities in Hong Kong. With respect to historical sites, students had the opportunity to visit the Great Wall , the Ming Tombs, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
“The Beijing and Hong Kong study abroad trip was an eventful, fun-filled, educational adventure full of company visits, sightseeing, and new friendships,” said MBA student Randall Borror. “We took advantage of the many opportunities provided to frankly question high-level leaders about business and legal practices and issues facing their companies and countries.”
"This trip gave us the opportunity to blend our legal and business knowledge together while in a country that differs from ours both politically and culturally,” said third-year law student Melissa Apperson. “We learned more while we were on the ground, immersed in the Chinese lifestyle and conversing with the people than we could have from a textbook in an American classroom."
In Hong Kong, in addition to meeting law firm and business leaders, the group visited Victoria Peak and Stanley Market, both international attractions. The class also experienced a dinner at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and a boat trip in Hong Kong Harbor.
"China was an incredible experience,” said MBA student Jennifer Tucci. “It is a fascinating culture, both in business and everyday life and I will forever treasure the time I spent there with the MBA and Law programs. Just another way Elon has positively impacted my life!"
This is the third time Elon’s law school and MBA program have collaborated in this joint Winter Term course. Last year, students went to Vietnam and Singapore. In 2010, the class travelled to Vietnam and China, including the Special Administrative Region Hong Kong.
"The trip abroad was a real eye opening experience in looking at how globalized our economy has become," said Lien To, also a third-year law student. "It's amazing to see how much work and how many different entities go into making the most basic goods available to Americans for consumption. The legal implications were very interesting in relation to the influence of culture. While the United States is geared toward an individualistic attitude of accomplishment, the Chinese are very focused on communal achievements and seem to be far less litigious in their dealings because of that approach."
Faculty and staff leading the trip were: Associate Professor of Law Andy Haile, Adjunct Professor of Law Jack Hicks, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Elon Law Catherine Dunham, MBA Program Coordinator Judy Dulberg and MBA alumnus Derek Robinson, Director of International Sales & Marketing with Glen Raven in Burlington, who was instrumental in securing some of the class’s Hong Kong visits through a business associate, Henk Stijweg of BVZ Asia, Ltd.