"This EMBA module is the right experience for anyone looking to be successful in the Chinese market"

12 July 2019
INCAE Executive Education

From June 16 to 21, the prestigious Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business hosted students from the INCAE Executive MBA 2019-II, where they received the personalized module “Doing business with a changing China”. 

The one week module covered lectures by distinguished professors of CKGSB, who gave students a better understanding of the Chinese market and the factors that affect it. In addition, it included visits to leading companies in China, such as Kuaishou Media, BAIC New Energy Car and Gezhouba; conferences with senior executives from CICC and InterChina Partners; and networking nights with CKGSB's extensive network of Chinese alumni.

During his visit to the Chinese capital, CKGSB spoke with Professor Esteban Brenes, Academic Director of this executive master's degree -qualified by Financial Times as # 1 in Latin America-, who spoke about how this personalized program allows executives and entrepreneurs better understand business in China, their differences and how to take advantage of this to be successful in their companies.

-What are your impressions of CKGSB so far? In your opinion, what makes CKGSB unique?

-I have a great impression of the school, and both the participants and I are extremely satisfied with the program. We are learning how to do business in China, which is a topic of great importance to us. What makes CKGSB so unique is the Faculty and its network. The teachers have a lot of knowledge, a lot of practical experience, and most of them are members of the Board of Directors of very important companies in China. Also, the school is very well connected and has an extensive network. As a result of this network, we have had the opportunity to visit different firms and meet with senior executives from these companies.

- How do you think CKGSB and the module INCAE students have taken this week can help them gain new knowledge on how to do business with China? 

- Both the participants and I have learned a lot about doing business in China, which is not something you can learn simply by reading books or magazines. Experienced professors have taught us how companies behave, how to manage the relationship with the government and how important Chinese culture and practices are to doing business, these are aspects that we did not know before. This will undoubtedly help the participants, many of whom are entrepreneurs, to have better relationships and more success with companies in China.

- What opportunities can China offer to Latin American companies? And how can Chinese companies take advantage or benefit from working and investing in Latin America?

- China has many opportunities to invest in Latin America, mainly in Central America, since the countries of this region already have free trade agreements with the United States. Now that there is a trade war between the United States and China, China has the opportunity to continue to develop and grow by producing in Central America and then selling those products in the United States. In all Latin American countries there are also many investment opportunities in infrastructure, such as roads, ports and airports. There are also some countries that are very strong in research and development, such as Costa Rica, which is extremely strong in research and development of medical devices and chip production. Therefore, there are also many opportunities for Latin American companies in the Chinese market, due to the size of the market. Latin America should take advantage of its variety in tropical areas and latitudes to export food, such as bananas and coffee; agricultural products, such as flowers; as well as mining, oil and gas.

- What are some of the key takeaways for your students from this course that they can apply to advance their careers that they would not have been able to obtain otherwise?

- It is imperative for everyone to know that it is necessary to really understand how different it is to do business in China and the importance of understanding this for its sustained success in the market. We wouldn't have learned this without taking the module at CKGSB. For example, the culture of doing business in China means that friendships and relationships are extremely important in China and often take precedence over contracts. This is in stark contrast to the West. In terms of going to market, we learned that it might be better to create joint ventures and develop from there. We also learned a lot about investment opportunities in the Chinese stock market in certain types of companies. If you are looking to invest in China, there are opportunities in energy, banking, finance and healthcare, among other promising sectors.

- What kind of professionals or business executives do you think would benefit from a program like this at CKGSB?

- My experience with the program and with the school is very high. I think it is suitable for any entrepreneur or business executive looking to succeed and gain insight into the Chinese market. Many of the INCAE participants are entrepreneurs, some of them are already doing business with China and need deeper knowledge or stronger connections, while others are looking to start doing business in China and have now scheduled meetings with their counterparts here, thanks to the Program.

Excerpt from the interview published on the website of Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.

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