A recent trip to China by a group of University of Sydney Business School MBA students has shown that Chinese businesses are turning to Australia to gain vital skills to tackle European and North American markets.
The group of 24 MBA students, led by Professor of Chinese Business and Management Dr Hans Hendrischke and lecturer Dr Wei Li, joined up as consultants with several top tier corporations in sectors ranging from heavy engineering to manufacturing, real estate and renewable energy.
Working in small business teams, the students helped the corporations develop new entrepreneurial skills and to adjust their corporate sophistication to European and North American standards.
Professor Hendrischke said the experience made it clear that many Chinese companies see Australia as a great deal more than a supplier of raw materials.
“They now want to learn from our sophisticated corporate and legal structures, as well as our well-developed entrepreneurial culture.
“In particular, they are keen to understand and take advantage of the link between university education in Australia and vocational training,” he said.
The companies included China’s leading real estate developer, Poly Real Estate; Shanghai ZPMC, a manufacturer of ports equipment; CHINT Group, one of China’s most entrepreneurial private energy companies; Victory Precision, a rapidly expanding producer of smart manufacturing equipment; and welding company Tayor which see opportunities in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
While many universities offer programs that focus on “how to do business in China”, Professor Hendrischke said the Sydney teams were engaged with Chinese companies at a senior executive level in a search for strategic solutions to long term challenges.
“An engineering firm turned to us for insights into vocational training issues related to plant automation while a real estate firm was keen to take advantage of our legal expertise,” Professor Hendrischke said.
“This is a highly sophisticated and absolutely unique MBA program.”
“While local Chinese firms benefited from the expertise offered by us, our students from diverse backgrounds, gained experience at a strategic decision level alongside senior corporate executives.
“They also learn to work in teams and to pool their resources,” Professor Hendrischke said.
Beyond the factory floor and in the boardroom, the students attended lectures at Shanghai’s Fudan University School of Management, and heard presentations by AMP’s North Asia Managing Director Beng Neoh and the German multinational Henkel’s CFO for Greater China, Terry Lam.
Thanks to the students’ efforts, the University of Sydney Business School was recognised for its willingness to engage with China which has led to a degree of enthusiasm amongst Chinese corporations to work with the Sydney Business School MBA students.