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IMBA Students in Asia

Our Intercontinental MBA Students have begun their third foreign residency this week in Beijing. It is a long trip to the other side of the globe and our first days were spent learning our new environment and fighting to overcome initial jet lag. Everyone was struck by what a wonderful resource the Beijing Center is for the student coming from abroad. The Anton Library of Chinese Studies contains English books on almost any topic related to China.  In addition, it is a treasure trove of Chinese antiquities and a quiet and beautiful space for study and reflection.

Our two weeks here will be filled with study and exploration.  In addtion to coursework, we have local speakers on the Chinese history and philosophy in addition to talks on the economy, political environment and financial system.  We are also visiting important cultural sights and businesses.  

We will be traveling and studying in Asia for five weeks.  Our first priority is to establish a routine and to observe and adjust to what is “normal” here.   A first shock for many is that mattresses are extremely firm — similar to sleeping on a box spring.  Another is the air quality.  After an initial few days of “not too bad”, we are experiencing a day of almost zero visibility.  I am confident that this will improve, but it is a phenomenon that everyone should witness for a day to appreciate.   On a positive note, we are finding the food delicious and varied.  In addition, it is quite reasonably priced.  A steaming bowl of noodle soup is under $3; a generously-portioned dinner at a nearby Korean Barbeque is around $10.  We are doing our best to taste everything, and we have found nothing to date we do not enjoy.

As we proceed through our trip, the students and I will be updating our experiences and sharing comments on this blog. My hope is that you will enjoy following our explorations and include your own comments and questions.

Mary Ann


  • By Danielle on 3.28.2014 at 3:46 pm

    This was a great read, especially because I was in China this time last year. I completely agree with everything you said—especially the food (the dumplings were my absolute favorite). I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog posts!

  • By Alex on 3.30.2014 at 10:39 pm

    Hope you guys enjoy your time in Beijing. I will be looking forward to reading more in the weeks ahead!

  • By Tiffany Chan on 4.21.2014 at 12:39 am

    Our first two weeks of our Asia and Southeast Asia residency spent in Beijing was undeniably an eye-opening experience. We were able to observe and engage in the Chinese culture, which is comprised of so many subcultures, mostly based on the different regions of China. One example of the stark differences between different regional cultures of China was The Beijing Center’s stunning library. The library featured two study areas – one with Yunnan furnishings and one with Tibetan furnishings. The Yunnan corner was complete with warm wood and what could be compared to outdoor patio furniture while the Tibetan corner was comprised of bright colors and religious ornaments. Along with this, we have experienced so many different types of Chinese cuisine that really show each region’s character. We have had traditional Beijing food, herbal Yunnan hotpot and traditional dishes, and spicy Sichuan. These experiences combined made it obvious how blanket generalizations of China are as inaccurate as blanket statements of all Americans.

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