Guanghua 2015 IMBA Class
Guanghua-University of Washington Double Degree Program
As the Chinese saying goes, “read ten thousand books, travel ten thousand miles.” So when I applied for my double degree program, I chose Foster School of Business at the University of Washington — on the other side of the earth — for my second year of MBA.
Now, having spent more than half a year here, I have experienced first-hand of being “alone in a foreign land, where I think of my dear ones far away on festive occasions”. I miss my first year in Peking University ever more than other experiences. People say that one is easy to overestimate his or her short-term targets and underestimate long-term achievements.
In retrospect of my busy year in Guanghua School of Management, I found that I have made profound progress unconsciously through classes, group discussions, homework, activities and internship. In this year, I have built up my business knowledge base and got to know good mentors and lifelong friends. Only when I take up my pen now am I aware that I have spent quite a wonderful time in Guanghua, and that Guanghua has left far-reaching implications on me.
Located in Seattle, Washington, the University of Washington is a renowned public university. University of Washington is also the university with the longest history on the west coast. Suzzallo Library, for instance, is very famous, as it looks like Hogwarts from Harry Potter. Cherry blossoms in spring can rival the beautiful scenes in Japan. Foster School is almost the only modern style building on campus.
Many Chinese people get familiar with Seattle through the movie Finding Mr. Right (Anchoring in Seattle). Some say Seattle is the city easiest for Chinese to find a job in the US. In fact, although the US keeps emphasizing on racial equality, there are still many “glass ceilings”. But because many Chinese people are living in Seattle, especially in Bellevue, Seattle becomes well-known for its hospitality to the Chinese.
By population, Seattle ranks 24thin the US, but by wealth, it ranks fourth. This city hosts the headquarters of Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks and Boeing factory. These are mainly the best job choices in Seattle. Microsoft even pays a visit to Foster School every year to recruit new employees. However, Seattle is outperformed by Bay Area in terms of the vitality of its start-up businesses.
This city is different from people’s impression on Americans, such as being extroverted and optimistic. Local residents in Seattle value their small coteries, thus making others feel introverted and reserved. The term “Seattle Freeze” expresses people’s impression on Seattle residents: politeness. They keep appropriate distance with others, so it is hard to make friends with them.
This trait of Seattle residents makes my MBA experience here quite different from the year in China. Actually, I think it is a fake impression that Seattle people are hard to make friends, and such a fake impression comes from culture difference. In China, we may believe “making more friends makes life easier”, and thus it becomes a social routine to add the people you meet on WeChat (the Whatsapp of China, though much more powerful); while in the US, people emphasize more on private space, and leave contact information only when necessary, so they hardly add friends on social media just out of politeness.
In addition, the University of Washington itself also tends to “introspect”. Its Evans School of Public Policy and Governance enjoys a high international reputation, but students here mainly discuss state policies of Washington in class. Courses of Foster School of Business also put more stress on practical skills, providing students with skills demanded by popular jobs.
For example, the School offers courses of management modeling, big data analysis and programming under the scenario of business administration. The homework also focuses on authentic cases. Many students apply for these courses, and I took some lessons on data analysis, too, which used to be my weak link before. But it is a pity that American universities do not allow students to attend classes they did not apply for. This makes me miss the liberal and open policies of selecting courses and attending classes in Guanghua.