OPIM Professor Dowding forges relationship with Shandong University School of Management in China
China (8/12/2008) - As the world delights in the athletic and cultural displays brought on by the 2008 Olympics, being hosted in China, UConn Professor, Timothy Dowding, shares with Chinese MBA students at Shandong University School of Management (SDU) best practices in how a top American MBA program develops creative business leaders in a globally competitive environment.
(Media-Newswire.com) - China ( 8/12/2008 ) - As the world delights in the athletic and cultural displays brought on by the 2008 Olympics, being hosted in China, UConn Professor, Timothy Dowding, shares with Chinese MBA students at Shandong University School of Management ( SDU ) best practices in how a top American MBA program develops creative business leaders in a globally competitive environment.
Drawing on UConn President Hogan and School of Business Dean Earley's tenet to expand and develop the School's international focus, Professor Dowding was invited to teach the UConn version of Introduction to Operations Management to 30 Chinese MBA students enrolled at SDU.
"Developing a partnership with SDU, considered a top 10 MBA program in China and the flagship university for the Shandong Province, was one of our first choices, but we did not initially have any contacts there," says Dowding. "It turns out that Dr. Qing Cao of UConn's Department of Management had worked with Dr. Hongping Zhang of the SDU Management Sciences Department during a one-year post-doc, so we were able to utilize her contact and build a relationship."
The interest in partnering with a major Chinese university has been in the making for several years now. Dowding and his colleague, Dr. Wynd Harris, both have taught courses that allow students to work towards an advanced business certificate in international business ( ABC-IB ).
"These courses have been offered for many years, and expose students to the cultural and corporate differences and similarities between the US and China," notes UConn School of Business Dean, Dr. Chris Earley. "If we want to be truly considered an international university, then I strongly believe partnerships such as this one are excellent advances toward that goal."
SDU provided the perfect fit. Located in Jinan, the capital of the Shandong Province, Shandong and Connecticut have enjoyed an official "sister state" relationship for over 20 years. There are over 6 million citizens located within the city limits of Jinan, and over 90 million citizens throughout the province. Shandong Province is also the home to the famous Chinese philosopher Confucius – revered for emphasizing the importance of education.
Teaching at SDU was a tremendous success for all involved. Dowding observed that the students were most interested in seeing how a top American MBA program provides instruction, which is considered a much different style than what is done at most Chinese universities. Typically, they [China] will conduct a lecture, sometimes without any audiovisual aids, and students do not ask questions during the class.
Professors Dowding and Harris also plan on continuing to build the relationship by bringing UConn MBA students who participate in the International Supply Chain Management and Global Marketing courses to SDU in November to see how life is in China as an MBA student.
Before heading back to the US, Dowding was invited to tour one of China's most successful water bottling plants, the Jinan Please Mineral Water Co., Ltd. Several members of the SDU faculty are on the advisory board for the water bottling plant, a privately owned bottling company that emphasizes quality in the purification of the water and construction of the bottles, which exceeds both Chinese and American Standards.
"Visiting the plant goes against many of the stereotypes generally held about Chinese industry. In order to achieve the quality standards, they purchase the best equipment in the world – all the filtration equipment was subsequently purchased from American companies and not from Chinese partners," said Dowding. "In fact, they are the most highly automated water bottling company in China for both manufacturing their own bottles and bottle caps, purifying the water, and filling the bottles for distribution. They are the largest water bottling company in Shandong Province by being so automated and vertically integrated."
Looking ahead, students on both sides of the globe will benefit from the SDU-UConn relationship. SDU plans to send 2 faculty members and 20 students to the US in October to visit the Stamford campus and an invitation has already been extended for one of the SDU professors to come to UConn in April 2009 as a visiting scholar.
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