Michael Addessi radically embraced the basic concept of "new experiences" during the Business School's annual undergraduate field study to China. He leaped from picky to passionate in the cuisine category.
The senior Finance major
from Hudson was one of 10 business students and two faculty who crossed the
Pacific to engage in academic programs, company visits and cultural experiences
in Shanghai, Beijing and Suzhou.
"We have an obligation as educators to
provide our students with new and wonderful experiences in other parts of the
world," said Dr. Carolyn Mueller, leader of the May expedition. "The field study
really opens students' eyes to the amazing differences in culture, living
styles, food and business practices."
Food photographs are a main theme
of field study albums. Everyone is encouraged to taste a few exotic foods.
Addessi needed no encouragement.
"I consider myself a picky eater," he
said. "But in China, I tried everything. I ate scorpion, silkworm, bird's nest,
starfish, grasshopper, cow tongue, duck tongue, chicken feet, baby pigeon, quail
egg, chicken heart, chicken liver and ox. I figured this was a
once-in-a-lifetime experience and I needed to try as much as I could."
Food is only part of the story.
"We went to
some incredible manufacturing plants," said Drew Whitaker, a senior General
Business major from New Canaan, Conn. "Each one gave us a different perspective
of what doing business is like in China."
The students engaged industry
leaders in meetings and manufacturing plant tours of General Electric Aviation
and Haworth furniture. They gained business insight from American entrepreneurs
at Wise Dragon Academy and met with media and public relations experts about
business coverage in the booming country. Academy owners Stephen Berning and
Christina Homan hosted the group in Suzhou.
"Everywhere we went, huge buildings were under
construction," said Scott Pearson, a senior Finance major from Carterville, Ill.
"Between Shanghai and Suzhou, there was constant construction on apartment
buildings and other high rises. It was very impressive."
Elizabeth (Lisa) Frickert, a senior Business Administration major from
Davenport, admitted that before going to China, her conception of Chinese
business was colored with a "sweatshop" stereotype, but that impression quickly
"GE Aviation and Haworth were state-of-the-art companies,"
she said. "Their energy efficiencies and initiatives were considerably more
integrated into their daily operations than any company I have ever worked for.
If not for the commute, I would be happy to be employed by either
Besides business and food, the field study included a
large helping of culture that ranged from day-to-day scenes on waterways to
conversations with people in markets and on crowded streets, and visits to
nightclubs and historic sites.
Students and faculty wandered through
the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, visited the 600-year-old Taoist Temple
of Heaven and the Yonghe Gong Lama Temple (one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist
monasteries in the world), hiked along the Great Wall and cruised the Huang
River flanked by Shanghai's historic and modern iconic buildings.
they did far, far more.
"China is a major global player, and will
continue growing in importance to businesses around the world," said Mueller,
chair of Management and International Business. She was
accompanied to China this year by Dr. James Mallett, Finance Department chair, who will
lead the 2011 China Field Study.
With each trip, said Mallett, the Business School
strengthens its contacts in China. The trip helps give students a "superior
educational experience in the very different culture of a rising major world
power," offering insight into global economies and job and business
It's "critical," said Mueller, that the school promote
and support these international experiences for students to see how business
works in China and other countries, and to meet business leaders who share
first-hand knowledge: "It helps open their eyes to wonderful opportunities they
may not have considered before."
The undergraduate field study was the
fourth Asian field study undertaken by the Business School in the last 18
months, two of which were for graduate students. One included Vietnam. Other
field study destinations are being planned for 2011, including Malaysia