China, the world’s second-largest economy, is open for business, and “as the income level in China increases, it presents a lot of opportunities to American and New Jersey companies,” said Lynn Tang, associate professor of international
business and finance.
In an effort to make students aware of China’s emergent economy and encourage them to study in the Asian country, Tang and history professor Qin Shao applied for and received a grant last year to expand international business education at TCNJ. The $125,786 U.S. Department of Education grant has created new business, foreign language, and history classes related to China; given more students the opportunity to study there; and promoted faculty-student research on Chinese business. It has also strengthened TCNJ’s partnerships with local companies looking to do business in China.
The first classes created through the grant were offered in the spring 2011 semester. Jia-Yan Mi, an associate professor of world languages and culture, taught Business Chinese for Beginners; Shao taught Post-Mao Reform and Contemporary Culture in China. Both courses gave students an introduction to Chinese culture, which economics major AnnMarie Pino ’12 said is essential knowledge for anyone looking to work in China.
“To succeed in China, you need to first understand… how [the culture] comes into play when doing business,” she explained.
The grant also funded a Business in China class that was offered during the summer session by Tang. Students spent two weeks on campus analyzing product offerings from two New Jersey companies—Dock 7 Materials Group, a recycling company, and Laureate Biopharma, a pharmaceuticals company—looking to do business in China. Then, led by Tang and Shao, the students traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Suzhou, where they conducted market development research for the companies. During the two-week trip, the students had the opportunity to meet with American entrepreneur Devon Nixon, grandson of former President Richard Nixon, and other business people working in China.
To date, the grant has also provided financial aid for two students to do internships in China as part of their study abroad experience. This past year Maryan Escarfullet ’12, a self-designed Chinese language and culture studies and history double major, worked as a translator for a nonprofit organization that builds villages in rural China, and psychology major Robert Mercer ’12 worked for a Shanghai laundry company.
According to Tang, both the scholarships and the new cultural instruction should help reduce anxieties that might keep students from considering a trip to China.
“We’re [using] this program to show students, both financially and psychologically, that China is not that far away,” Tang said.