MIMS Global Immersion Trip – experiencing Asian business and culture

Tuesday, 15 May 2018, 12:03 | Category : Masters
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After 4 weeks, the Global Immersion trip of the Vlerick MIMS students came to an end and left an unprecedented and unforgettable impression upon us. More than this, it has been an enriching experience!

Before our departure to China, we had a couple of free days , thus some of us decided to leave Belgium a bit earlier to do an extra pitstop in Seoul. This allowed us to already get a taste of Asian habits and their culture. I found it an incredible city and we had a lot of fun; we hiked to the Namsam tower, walked through Gangnam District, shopped in Myeng-dong, ate Korean BBQ, and off course, sang Karaoke in the famous KTV bars.

Four days later, the official first week of the Global Immersion module started in Beijing, where the whole MIMS group finally came together. The capital of the People’s Republic of China is known for its ancient and beautiful sites such as the Forbidden City, the massive Tiananmen Square and the great wall. As part of the agenda, cultural visits were combined with interesting company visits at different Chinese companies and lectures at Peking University. They both offered us a better understanding of China’s incredible history, Confucianism, Business Practices in China, the Chinese market and customer behavior.

One aspect that totally took us by surprise, was seeing how ‘WeChat’ works in China, the local multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app. Comparable to Facebook, Instagram, Bancontact App and all other apps you have, but everything combined in ONE super app!

Afterwards, we visited Shanghai, where we were totally blown away by the famous and incredible ‘bund’, the riverside from where you can see the majestic skyline of Shanghai. In this location, the program was filled with interesting lectures at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and visits to AB InBev, CFL and Jas Worldwide amongst others. All those visits contributed to deepening our knowledge about the latest major events and trends in Asia and about cultural differences between the East and the West.

A must do experience in China is wandering around the famous fake-markets, where copy-cats of anything you might imagine (or not) can be found; from Gucci handbags to Rolex watches and Rayban sunglasses. Judging from my personal experience, I can already tell, even though you absolutely plan to not buy anything fake, after a couple of hours you will surely end up with some not-needed overpaid gadgets!

Next, was the incredible city of Hong-Kong, for me and many of us, the most beautiful and interesting city of Asia, as it is a huge city build on the hills near the South China sea. As it is a global financial hub, we got a deeper understanding about cryptocurrencies and trading platforms. Further highlights of the trip where the Victoria Peak and the hike on the Dragon’s back trail, with an unbelievable view on the city and surroundings. The hike ended up with an amazing afternoon at the beach, laying in the sun, playing volleyball and sipping some cold drinks.

As Asia is an enormous continent, differences between and within countries are huge, and this couldn’t be more clear after leaving China for Japan, first to Tokyo and afterwards to Kyoto.

Tokyo & Kyoto are two cities, incredibly different from each other. While Tokyo is a huge metropole, rumored to have the busiest crossing in the world and an incredible infrastructure, Kyoto is more of a calmer town, filled with rivers, peaceful temples and a lot of nature. One cannot go to Tokyo and miss the hectic morning at the fish market, or tasting delicious sushi freshly made in front of you! Before leaving Japan, karaoke is an experience everyone should try.

But wat made the trip the most amazing, was the people: the 32 other MIMS students, our awesome programme manager and our cool programme director!!

– Thomas Van der Linden

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