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LSB Center Abroad offers students lessons in adaptability, doing business in Shanghai

A group of Elon business students spent a semester in China, taking business courses and completing an internship.

For 29 junior Martha and Spencer Love School of Business students, the fall 2018 semester involved going outside of their comfort zone as they navigated living and working in the emerging global financial center Shanghai, China.

A local farmer in Dunhuan hosts Elon students for lunch.

The LSB Center Abroad, launched in 2015 by the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business in partnership with the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center, East China Normal University (ECNU) and the Council on International Education and Exchange (CIEE), offers students the chance to take business core courses and complete an internship while living in ECNU student housing.

The 2018 cohort completed the courses Principles of Finance and Doing Business in China with Ifeoma Udeh, assistant professor of accounting and the center’s faculty-in-residence. The students also took courses in management, operations and supply chain, and conversational Chinese, which were taught by CIEE/ECNU faculty.

Beyond the classroom, company visits with managers at Volkswagen, Shanghai Towers and the Azul Tapas & Lounge, as well as internships with firms including Simply Foods, Jiashan Market and AnyHelper, exposed students to the opportunities and challenges of doing business in Shanghai.

“China is extremely relevant in today's economy, and it's fascinating to learn business concepts in relation to their customs,” says North Carolina native Kayla Hedrick. “Studying abroad in China was the best decision I could have made because it really opened my eyes to how much their culture drives their business practices. We got to witness this firsthand at our internships with local Chinese businesses.”

Part of the cultural experience included dance lessons with Northwest Normal University dance majors.

An overall theme for the semester was adaptability. “It was so challenging adapting to a completely new culture, however that was also the best part,” says Hannah Kenny, a finance and management double major from Massachusetts. “Forcing myself to be completely immersed in new surroundings from the food, to learning Mandarin, to interacting with local people was so beneficial to my personal growth. It taught me how to be more flexible and open minded than ever before.”

Robert Lucas, a finance and management (business analytics) double major from New Jersey, adds, the semester in Shanghai “was a once in a lifetime opportunity to immerse myself in a different culture.” He encourages the fall 2019 cohort to “not be afraid to leave your comfort zone."

Udeh’s advice for students who are considering participating in the program in the future: “Do it! The experience will be a story you will tell for life.”

Nicole Filippo,
2/9/2019 3:30 PM