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SIBC collaborates with Peking University

Verona Lu | Monday, October 1, 2012

The SIBC-GVI Global Business Forum, established in summer 2011, is a joint partnership between the Notre Dame Student International Business Council (SIBC) and Peking University Global View Initiative (GVI). Its purpose is to develop a long-term relationship between Notre Dame and top universities in Asia through annual exchange trips where student representatives from both universities work on various business projects for major corporations.

This past January, a group of eleven students from Peking University visited Notre Dame as the first stop during their annual trip to top U.S. universities and major corporations. Thirteen SIBC delegates were selected to participate in this three-day Business Forum, where the SIBC and GVI delegates were divided into three groups to work on a consulting project for Dow Chemical. The project focused on analyzing the impacts of the growth of the aging population in the U.S. and the growth of the middle class in China on the hygiene and medical industry, examining similarities and differences between the U.S. and Chinese markets and exploring potential opportunities for a plastics producer like Dow Chemical.

The SIBC is now organizing its first trip to Beijing, China during fall break. Twelve students, led by Monica Laidig, the advisor of SIBC, are flying to Beijing for a similar business forum hosted by the Peking University. The program mainly includes a business case competition, which provides Notre Dame students with a precious opportunity to develop a profound understanding of the global business environment and the Chinese business culture.

The case that the students will be working on will cover both the U.S. and China market to ensure that students from different backgrounds can bring their knowledge together to present the final case. This time, we will be focusing on the automobile industry in China and its drive for more environmentally-friendly vehicles.

Notre Dame students were responsible for analyzing major auto companies, specifically Toyota, GM and BMW. Students researched the overall auto market in Japan, the U.S. and Germany, and then conducted wide range of company-specific analyses. Delegates analyzed overall company performances, how they have been recovering since the financial crisis of 2008, major changes each company is launching, and overall strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats each company faces moving forward.

After understanding more about the major players in the global auto market, delegates analyzed the new energy vehicle market and the similarities and differences among the U.S., Japan, Germany and China in terms of energy-efficient vehicle strategies.

Lastly, Notre Dame students researched the obstacles that stand in the way of America’s green car initiative, while Peking University students researched the obstacles in China’s own green car development. Delegates analyzed the obstacles from the perspectives of consumers, government regulations and competitors then explored solutions to overcome these problems.

Given this comprehensive background research, students will be better prepared to work through the final case question that will be given during the trip to China, while setting students from both universities on a level playing field to work up from. The huge shift in demand and supply of auto parts and vehicles in China offers a wonderful opportunity for Notre Dame students to understand this global shift in a more in-depth and meaningful way.

In addition to the case study, the trip consists of various activities including company visits, academic communication and cultural immersion. Students will be traveling to both global companies like BMW and Chinese companies like China International Capital Corporation Limited, whose professionals will give presentations on their operations in the Chinese market as well as share their expertise in the commercial relationship between the U.S. and China.

Peking University is recognized for its prestige in academic research as well as internationalization. During the trip there will be at least one lecture on historical and modern China offered by a PKU professor, and the delegates may also be able to audit a few regular classes on PKU campus, where they can get some exposure to the academic life at a top Chinese university and communicate with professors and students in and outside class.

The program also includes cultural excursions to China’s famous historical sites, such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. In addition, GVI will host multiple cultural immersion activities like traditional Chinese food making. Students can learn about Chinese culture and experience the cultural diversity through these events.

The SIBC-GVI Global Business Forum is a special opportunity for Notre Dame students to develop a global view of the business world, explore Asian cultures and improve their leadership and communication skills through extensive interactions with Chinese students and companies. Both SIBC and GVI are striving to continue developing and expanding this exchange program year by year.

The SIBC is the largest student-run organization on campus with over 400 active members. We seek to promote “Peace through Commerce” by partnering with leading companies across all areas of business and providing international internships for our members. We can be reached at sibc@nd.edu or at sibc.nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.