Written by: Rob Stephenson, Rod Kelly, Bogdan Nastase and Vikas Poni (MBA Candidates)
This day started with a great breakfast and trip to get out first location: the Canadian embassy. We were able to see and experience the security protocols at the embassy and also meet with both the Canadian and locals that work for our government in China. We also attended two presentations about the political environment in China as well as the Canadian trade practices in the largest market. The most important part of the presentations was the unique view of the presenters and how they described (sometimes negatively) the Chinese experience. It was also interesting to see how the Canadians are developing the relationships with their Chinese counterparts and how these plans are continuously evolving to reflect the Chinese requirements or strategy. It was vividly stated that the relationship with China is not optional for Canada and that the Chinese have great expectations from the current prime minister primarily based on the Trudeau legacy.
We were able to visit CAM in Beijing. During this visit we met with the executives of the company and received presentations from the senior engineering vice president of the company, a presentation from Eddy Wong, and an ending presentation on export opportunities by our group member Bogdan Nastase. It was very interesting to observe the meeting protocols in China as well as the conduct of the company executives both during and after the meeting. The meeting tone was both respectful and formal, and we were engaged in conversations about the company as well as opportunities. It was also very interesting to learn and experience the conversations that were happening after the presentations. The executives were more relaxed and had casual conversations with the students; executives exchanged business cards and contact information. The last cultural habit that we observed was that the same executives walked us all the way to the gate and one of the organizers waited for the bus to depart before leaving.
Although this was a great day of our trip, it is important to take a moment to mention that we were impacted by the distressing emergency situation in Alberta surrounding the forest fire in the Wood Buffalo municipality and the evacuation of Fort McMurray. One of our team members, Rod, lives in that city and was preoccupied with communicating with his family living there. His son was able to pack and drive out before the city was engulfed in flames. Rod has spent a considerable amount of time on the phone with his family members regarding his house because his wife is still in the region working as a security employee. Our hearts and minds go out to all those affected by this catastrophe.