GLOBE CHINDIA: A Faculty Perspective
By Brady Cobb, Eamon Flood, Derek Herbison, and Dan Hermann
This last summer, UW-Eau Claire began offering College of Business faculty and students the opportunity to participate in an international experience. GLOBE CHINDIA is a UW-Eau Claire program emphasizing global opportunities for business and education with a focus on China and India. In June of 2010, Dr. Rama Yelkur, professor of marketing and coordinator of international business programs at UW-Eau Claire, received a U.S. Department of Education grant to prepare UW-Eau Claire students for success in emerging markets.
The inaugural GLOBE CHINDIA participants travelled to China during the 2011 Winterim session. We decided to interview one of the faculty members who took part in the pioneering trip, Dr. Scott Swanson. Dr. Swanson is an assistant marketing professor at UW-Eau Claire and agreed to answer a few questions about his experiences with the new program.
“The intended overall goal is to increase international knowledge and experience,” says Dr. Swanson. During the two-week trip, Dr. Swanson and nine UW-Eau Claire students traveled with other faculty from North America, Europe, and Asia. Daily activities included meeting industry leaders and visiting key cultural venues in order to obtain a better understanding of Chinese business and culture.
The group started in Shanghai and visited multiple sites each day, including Shanghai GM and Hormel. According to Swanson, the group specifically learned about Chinese salary structures, international currency issues, and Chinese policies limiting international business involvement to joint-ventures. Additionally, they learned that Chinese copyright laws provide significantly less protection to both domestic and international firms than American copyright laws provide.
On a personal level, Dr. Swanson used the trip to add class materials such as visuals, personal examples, and international knowledge. According to Dr. Swanson, “Marketing explores the factors that influence the selection and usage of goods and services people use to create and express social identity. Exposure to other perspectives provided a unique learning opportunity for me to better understand how broader marketing concepts apply to the Chinese marketplace.”
Dr. Swanson reports that he has been able to upgrade the international component of both core and elective courses by integrating his first-hand experiences from this trip. For example, one of the business professionals the group worked with was in the process of creating the first Chinese senior center. According to Dr. Swanson, “China Senior Care is the first real attempt at providing a senior care system in China.” To break the Chinese cultural norm of taking care of elderly family members in-home, China Senior Care will create a premium service and target high-profile seniors. If the plan works as intended, being a resident of China Senior Care will actually add prestige to a resident’s family.
Looking to the future, Dr. Swanson imagines UW-Eau Claire with a greater international collaboration and states, “I have set a goal of expanding my research collaborations with additional Chinese faculty, and potentially obtaining a Fulbright award to work in China in the future.”
To learn more about students’ experiences in the Globe CHINDIA program visit china-winterim.blogspot.com.
From left to right: Brady Cobb is a junior business administration major from Lakeville, MN; Eamon Flood is a senior marketing major from Saint Paul, MN; Derek Herbison is a senior accounting major from Eau Claire, WI; and Dan Hermann is a senior accounting major from Stillwater, MN. They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Writing class.