Chinese Consul-General Visits Edwards
Release Date : May 14, 2012
Story By: Luke Coupal
The Consul's MBA "Meet & Greet"
As forty-two Edwards School of Business MBA students embark on an International Business Study Tour to the People’s Republic of China in late May 2012, they first received a “bon voyage” from a special guest of the Hanlon Centre for International Business Studies. Hanlon Student Associates & SITO Liaison Officers Carolyn Aziz, Luke Coupal and Sonja Shan helped the Hanlon Centre for International Business Studies bring Madam Yongfeng Liu, Consulate-General of China in Calgary to campus, where the high dignitary presented the Edwards MBA class her perspective on the growing trade relationship between Saskatchewan and the Far East. Madam Liu explained that seven priorities guide the Chinese people in their international business; the three most important being Peace, Responsibility, and a Sustainable “all-win” relationship with the West. The other four priorities, Transformation, Innovation, Green Economy, and Happiness, help to show the well rounded approach China plans on taking towards their economic development and sustainment.
On average, three to four foreign consul-generals visit the Edwards School of Business each year as invited guests thanks to the Hanlon Centre's partnership with the Saskatchewan International Trade and Development Officer Program (SITO). This particular visit, however, will mark the second occasion where a dignitary came to Saskatoon with the Edwards MBA students in mind and delivered an international business presentation, to prep their departure on the program's annual international business study tour. Last year's annual tour took the Edwards MBA students to Brazil for ten days, for which Brazil's Consul-General to Vancouver, Sergio Florencio, traveled out to offer best wishes.
The information Madam Liu provided was invaluable to the MBA students. It helped to shine a light on international and Chinese business in a very unique and intimate way. “This is the best part of our job at the Hanlon Centre” said Luke Coupal, a SITO liaison officer and an associate with the Hanlon Centre. “Meeting with dignitaries and representatives from the other side of the world and hearing about their ideas and perspectives. Then to follow that up with a trip to their country and to see the differences first hand, is there any better way to learn about other cultures?”
Interest in international excursions and exchanges goes both ways. Madam Liu emphasized how attractive Edwards is to Chinese Business students. She told the MBA students that Edwards’ advanced ideas and global vision, combined with a charming campus and a friendly atmosphere, make this school an appealing destination for Chinese students looking to hone their skills.
Madam Liu reminded the MBA students that in 2010 China emerged as the world’s 2nd largest economy. China added $750 billion to its GDP, which is comparative to creating 140 million jobs for the Chinese people, and in the next five years they intend to be the world’s largest importer. But she emphasized that importation must also ensure “all-win” sustainability and the happiness of the Chinese people. In February, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited China to discuss economic cooperation between the Canadian and Chinese economies, and Madam Liu provided three reasons why this is a good time for this cooperation to begin: the two countries share a solid foundation of cooperation; Canada’s natural resources and China’s need for such resources creates complimentary economies, and both governments see it as a good time to cooperate as both countries want their industries to go global.
The MBA students also learned from Madam Liu about international business in general. The students asked questions covering everything from culture, to poverty, and even Uranium. Madam Liu’s advice to the students was, “Learn the culture. Integrate yourself into the community.” But she also emphasized that it’s not all about money. “Happiness is more important than Foreign Exchange Reserves.”
Madam Liu's "Saskatoon Dignitary Visit" through the Hanlon Student Associates
A unique aspect of SITO's Visiting Consul-General Series is the students' opportunity to host high government dignitaries, like Madam Liu, and practice their "ambassador" and "trade assistant" skills on behalf of the foreign official. In an effort to involve local government and business community members, the China Consul-General's visit to Saskatoon included meetings (arranged by SITO students) with Tim LeClair and the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority. Carolyn Aziz, Luke Coupal, and Sonja Shan also brought the Consul-General to visit His Worship Don Atchison (Mayor of Saskatoon) and arranged Madam Liu to visit many local economic authorities including Enterprise Saskatchewan, the Provincial Inter-Governmental Office, Canpotex (the world’s largest Potash exporter), and the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron.
“Throughout this experience I’ve met several members of the Saskatoon business community who have worked in China, including diplomats, entrepreneurs, and educational administrators.” said Ms. Aziz. "All of them have such an enthusiastic energy when it comes to increasing trade and relations with China, and it’s contagious! It really makes you want to be a part of it.” After a farewell dinner, the SITO students staff took Madam Yongfeng Liu back to the airport and bid her farewell; yet they are excited to know that the Consul-General will be back very soon, likely this fall, and the adventure will continue.