Today is Monday, July 25th. Our Center for Global Education group began our business excursions as part of the MSOM 305 course. Raining cats and dogs was an understatement this morning, instead it was more reminiscent of Noah and his ark. Trudging past the waterfalls and lake sized puddles we made it to the Mercedes bus that would be our mode of transportation for the day. We all dried off en route to our first business excursion, the computer and accessory developing company called Lenovo. “Le” standing for their previous name of Legend and “Novo” for the Latin word new brings together a name that is more than just a sound but is also a story. The story is one of people in the right place at the right time producing the right thing and having the right vision to create a company with the magnitude that Lenovo has. The story is also something that can be looked up if there is any interest in the subject. I must applaud Lenovo on their architecture though, just walking around the compound is more than just big office buildings, it is also very easy on the eyes. They begin the tour by throwing a paper airplane through a portal which is supposed to symbolize that dreams can become reality, this resonates as the trip continues. Following, we learned some of the history that Lenovo was founded on, or should I say that the New Technology Developer Inc., funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences was founded on. Our tour guide led us through a time capsule of Lenovo, the products and past hardships and triumphs it had been through. They then surprised us by allowing our group to pose with and idol the actual torch from the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Of course by time it was put back in the case it had been posed as a golf club, baseball bat and oh yeah a torch! We came out on the other end to find their multitude of new products including but not limited too think pads, tablets, phones, 3-D touch screen monitors and indestructible water-proof laptops. One of the group mates Rheal exposed her inner-child by tossing…I mean, testing out the indestructible laptop when she threw it too the ground and proceeded to stand on it in triumph of her symbolized win by not having to pay for a broken laptop. From what we learned it also has the capability to be opened and operated all under water, very impressive, but I don’t think even Rheal’s inner-child had what it would take to test that one and risk buying a new think pad. Leaving Lenovo felt like we had just exited one of the longest sale’s pitches in history. We learned much about Lenovo’s past and current challenges but after words I just felt the urge to test my MacBook by standing on it then go buy a Lenovo think pad when it breaks.
An IT outsourcing company named hiSoft was the next excursion on our list of places to visit for the day. While not as big as Lenovo, hiSoft was a very enjoyable experience that offered more than a cookie-cutter tour. After entering their offices we were directed into one of their many meeting rooms, each chair had it’s own water bottle for us honored guests. For some reason the chair right at the end of the table, opposite to the projector was screaming my name so I sat down thinking nothing of it. As the hiSoft guide began his schpeal he mentioned how someone had taken his seat, having a decent amount of common sense I realized he was talking about none other than yours truly. After a few duibuqi’s I insisted we exchange seats and the show began. HiSoft’s technique was much more hands on and informal compared to Lenovo, of course we had the usual explanation of their background and business model. What caught my attention about hiSoft’s technique more than Lenovo was how they seemed very tentative to being crystal clear from the bottom to the top of their company. They had one of their experienced receptionists lead the power point presentation and we soon found out that it was her first time leading an all English presentation. Our guide gave us the real talk on everything hiSoft had to offer as well as some advice on international travel. His advice was definitely key, he told us to visit the usual tourist destinations as well as talking to the people in the area to get a better idea of how people think and believe in that area. This has definitely come full circle since I have been here learning about Chinese businesses and business practices compared to the Western view of business. HiSoft was definitely my favored excursion for the day because of our guide’s frankness towards our travels and opportunities in life. Of course some of it was rehearsed but it was not the same talk our guide at Lenovo had given out numerous times before, the guide at hiSoft had more room for improvisation and it showed.