After finishing an adventurous two-week South American trip, I am now in Shanghai, China. At this moment 940 HBS 1st year students are spread all over the world experiencing an exciting time in developing countries under the FIELD 2 program.
On Monday, 48 students from different sections gathered in a conference room of a local Chinese hotel, and the much-awaited field trip finally started. Although it is a field trip to developing countries, the setting is very upscale. We stay at a five star hotel located in the center of Shanghai, each student is given an iPhone, and each team provided a team driver and a translator. Hmm, HBS always spoils us… The first day was spent sightseeing (to familiarize ourselves with the local market, of course).
Currently, we are busy conducting customer research and collaborating with our client partner. The good thing is – Chinese people are really nice; very friendly and patient as we conduct our interviews. We are constantly hearing of the amazing, rapid change China is now experiencing. A telling expression from an HBS alumnus (class of 1981) who is running his own company in Shanghai – “A generation in China lasts for five years.” It’s like we are seeing, with our own eyes, the turbulent days experienced in Japan 40 years ago.
The bad thing is – it’s very smoggy. We see people wearing anti-dust masks everywhere. I guess it was not as bad 3 years ago, but now it can be likened to wandering around in an early morning fog after a rainfall. Another result of rapid development.
Anyway, we are enjoying Shanghai life and the project is going well so far.