The ocean, at times, is a metaphor for education - education, which is not confined to only books and thoughts of scholars but also to the exploration required to build pragmatic, broader outlooks. Such an approach and its output is possible in depths where undercurrents are felt and realised by confluence of streams from varied directions and locations: the confluence of various disciplines, objectives, nationalities and cultures with a common objective of attainment of knowledge.
“Ocean Embraces Streams All and Exploring Promises Reaching Far”- is the motto of the Ocean where we are taking a dive to give a practical facet to our programme of Managing Business in India and China.
Surrounded by calm hills and piety of peace, located in the realms of the Qingdao city, ZhōngGuó Hǎi Yáng Dàxué (the Ocean university of China), in all its splendour, is a sojourn for the students around the globe to study, collaborate and enrich their mottos.
And as for us, after an average of 7-8 years of experience, back to the university life, among of numerous departments, disciplines and their pursuers, and an environment as enriching as that of the Ocean University, is no less than the thrill of a plunge in the mighty waves of an ocean.
20th March, we started our journey with inauguration and address by Professor Daihua -Director of OUC followed by speech by the class representative Paras Utkarsh.
As an integral part of the Chinese culture, post inauguration we were invited for a feast with our faculties and programme coordinators. The day ended with warm exchanges and interactions which would further lay a foundation for strong rapport with our Chinese mentors and guides.
From the next day, sessions on areas of Chinese Business Culture, Business Chinese Communication, Marketing studies in China, and China and the World economy have been commenced, to help us develop the Chinese perspective of the culture, business and most important, building business relations.
Since Mandarin is the language of the region and for us English is no more the medium of communication, even our daily chores expects from us to hone our communication skills in Mandarin. Besides, qualifying HSK Certification (Level 1) by our batch provided the threshold to hunkered down for next level.
Moreover, here, learning is not only confined to communication and transaction with people,(especially when there is language barrier) but also to make friends of them, no matter, all of them may not be a great future resource for us. Somewhere, we have to subdue the transactional behaviour and upheave the relation building and harmonious approach.
They help us - whether it’s a university student or a chauffeur, a storekeeper or a passer-by - as if they love to help us understand their language and its beauty.
“Change is the only constant in life”.
Although there is a time zone gap of only two and half hour, yet a change in overall routine (as we adapt according to the Chinese culture) seems to trigger a state of mindfulness.
Moreover, a change in the variety, recipe and taste of the food available, no matter how cumbersome it is to some extent, gives a break to the monotone of the ease of eating, and throws a challenge upon us, to explore, pick, choose and be our own dietitian. And definitely, towards the mid of the second week, we are able to find some sustenance, though not without unease.
As we have mentioned in our previous article: The Strategy of Kuaizi, this very acceptance of our surroundings, the adaptation, and self- control our some of the important milestones for building business relationships with any civilisation of the world and cross – cultural exchanges.
Meanwhile, we had a business excursion tour to Tsingtao Beer museum, which not only is a repository of facts, figures and antiques but also displays the working machinery and models, live process of beer manufacturing, marketing strategies and methods adopted to make the Tsingtao the top most brand in China. The museum in itself showcased innovative ways of visitor’s/customer’s engagement via 3-D experience and giving visitor’s a taste of the raw ingredients (the different grains from which beer is produced).
The cultural complexity as described by the American Anthropologist Edward T. Hall, is like an iceberg with three levels of understanding -the Visible Culture, the Unseen Culture and the Deep Culture. And for a successful cross cultural exchange, its indispensable to understand vivid dimensions of the ice berg.
Apart from the business tours organised by the institute, we have also covered the local markets, high-end malls and tourist spots.
Its enriching to observe, analyse and experiment what we have learnt in theory so far.
It has been just a few weeks of the immersion, but a plethora of imminent opportunities are yet to be leveraged during this 4 months of our stay in deep Ocean of China: opportunity for take away and avenues to research, innovate and implement.