MBA International--SEIDO Helps Chinese Consul-General Wish Good Trip to U of S MBA Students

As 42 Edwards School of Business MBA students prepared to embark on an International Business Study Tour to the People’s Republic of China in May 2012, they received a bon voyage from a special guest of the Hanlon Centre for International Business Studies and the Saskatchewan Economic & International Development Officer Program (SEIDO).

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Hanlon Director Nicholas Kokkastamapoulos, who is also Program Coordinator for the external provincial community program, along with SEIDO Student Officers Carolyn Aziz, Luke Coupal and Sonja Shan, helped the Hanlon Centre bring Madam Yongfeng Liu, Consulate-General of China in Calgary, to campus. The high dignitary presented her perspective on the growing trade relationship between Saskatchewan and the Far East to the Edwards MBA class.

Madam Liu explained that seven priorities guide the Chinese people in their international business, the three most important being peace, responsibility, and a sustainable “all-win” relationship with the West. The other four priorities, transformation, innovation, green economy, and happiness, help to show the well-rounded approach China takes toward their economic development and sustainment.

The information Madam Liu provided was invaluable to the MBA students. It informed them of international and Chinese business in a unique and intimate way. “This is the best part of our job at the Hanlon Centre,” said associate Luke Coupal. “Meeting with dignitaries and representatives from the other side of the world and hearing about their ideas and perspectives. Then to follow that up with a trip to their country and to see the differences first hand … Is there a better way to learn about other cultures?”

The interest in international learning goes both ways. Madam Liu explained how attractive the University of Saskatchewan is to Chinese business students. She told the MBA students that the university’s advanced ideas and global vision, combined with a charming campus and a friendly atmosphere, make the school an appealing destination for Chinese students looking to hone their skills.

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Madam Liu also spoke about the Chinese economy, and how China emerged as the world’s 2nd largest economy in 2010. China was able to add $750 billion to its GDP, comparable to creating 140 million jobs for its citizens and, in the next five years, they intend to be the world’s largest importer. But Liu emphasized that importation must also ensure “all- win” sustainability and the happiness of the Chinese people.

Liu provided reasons why now is a good time for economic cooperation between Canada and China to begin, in follow-up to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s February 2012 visit to China. The two countries share a solid foundation of cooperation, Canada’s natural resources and China’s need for such resources creates complimentary economies, and both governments want their industries to go global.

Madam Liu enjoyed engaging with Edwards MBA students directly. “I appreciated the opportunity meeting with the MBA teachers and students, and briefing them about China when they are about to set their feet on the land of China to start their international business study tour,” she said. “Recognizing the difficulty and importance of multi-cultural communication, I chose China’s concept and plan for development as the theme of my presentation, trying to help the students to get some initial ideas about what’s happening in China.”

As for her experience with the SEIDO Program, and how its student officers hosted and coordinated her itinerary, Madam Liu was impressed by their professionalism and insights into global business. “I believe”, she added, “through the Saskatchewan Economic & International Development Officer Program, students will receive the best opportunity to understanding business in China, and they will become good will messengers between our two countries and our two peoples.”

* Please note this article has been updated to reflect the new name change of the “Saskatchewan Economic & International Development Officer Program” (“SEIDO”), from its former program name as the “Saskatchewan International Trade Officer Program” (“SITO”).

The Saskatchewan Economic & International Development Officer Program (SEIDO) allows university/college and high schools throughout Saskatchewan the opportunity build global business knowledge, related skills development, and training opportunities for a career in global business, international trade and development. For more information, please contact Nicholas Kokkastamapoulos (SEIDO Program Coordinator) at the Haultain Institute for Global Business Studies at nick.kokkas@seidoprogram.org or nkokkas@haultaininstitute.org or by telephone at (306) 715-2260. Thank you.