Shanghai Overseas Module: Understanding the Asian Giant

Every year, students eager to learn more about doing business in Asia have the opportunity to participate in our Shanghai overseas module  to gain first hand experience. Tejas Chitnis, Class of 2017 was one of the second year students who spent two weeks in China in January. In this blog post, he reflects on his learnings inside and outside the classroom.


What was the best experience you had during the module?

The trip had several memorable moments both during and outside of class. Academically, there were two guest speakers that made an impression. The first was the CEO of Siemens, China who spoke about the complexity of working in a global company and effective team management in such a setting. The other was the visit to Schattdecor, where the CEO explained to us how successful JVs are built on trust-based and transparent relationships.  Outside of class, I was really intrigued by the changing landscape from a tier 1 city like Shanghai through to a tier 3 city like Xitang. Even through this transition, the one common factor was the warm and friendly people everywhere I went!


What did you find most surprising during your time there?

I was really taken aback by the very real language barriers. We were very lucky to have friends around us who spoke Mandarin, without whom it would have been very hard to move around. I was also very surprised to see the kids very eager to practice their English speaking skills with foreigners. It was heartwarming to see them smile as they could converse with us.


How did this experience help you in terms of your personal development?

The entire module did help me understand the cultural aspects of working in a globally connected environment. I feel more confident now about my ability to understand and adapt to teams in a culturally diverse environment.


Can you tell us what you learnt while working with locals?

It was interesting to hear about how the Chinese businesses are learning to adapt to the western market in order to grow their businesses overseas. For example, the Chinese market no longer believes that opportunity lies solely in providing cheap labor. The market is evolving into a service industry that would add greater value than being simply a manufacturing center for the world. The template used by the Chinese to revolutionize its industry outlook can be something that other countries in the world can try to replicate.


Students doing some sightseeing during the Shanghai overseas module

Students during the overseas module in Shanghai in January

In your opinion, how do the international modules contribute to your overall MBA experience?

I have taken the opportunity to participate in the New York and the Shanghai modules during my MBA program. Both these modules have provided me with unique perspectives of the business landscape around the globe. The intensity of the module, coupled with the chance to experience the places like a local only add to the overall educational experience at IESE. It truly brings into perspective the international nature of all businesses in the world today.


Do you have any advice for students who are considering the Shanghai module?

I would recommend the Shanghai module 100%. It is a great way to get a feel for business in the Asian giant. One can only understand the true nature of the global dominance that can originate in this epicenter of global business by experiencing it first hand. The stories you hear, the things you see and the culture that you experience will broaden your mind in a way that text books and cases cannot!

Students visiting a Chinese company to understand their operations

Students visiting a Chinese company to understand their operations

Camille Chow View more

Associate Director, Admissions (MBA '16)


  1. So cool!!! It’s always so rewarding going and visiting new and different cultures, isn’t it! I’m sure it’s super valuable re learning about business in the area as well.

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