Role play days, Shanghai nights

Alex Martin
17 March 2014

17 March 2014 | Alex Martin

Alex MartinAlex Martin is writing a series of blogs for Supply Management about studying part-time for an MBA. You can find his previous entries here.

The EIPM offers its MBA programme in Geneva and Shanghai (and soon India), and students can elect to complete modules at either location. I chose to complete the negotiation module in China in February.

The modules are taken over weekends versus a full working week, so I flew to Shanghai over a weekend and started training the following Wednesday for five days. The teachers are the same at both locations and for this module we had Francoise Dousset, EIPM full time professor and in-company training director. There were mostly Chinese students, along with some permanently based European expats.

As procurement professionals, I’m sure most of us have experience of negotiation, through training or on the job practice. This module highlighted academic perspectives on the topic and definitely demonstrated the cultural differences between Europe and China during the role play exercises, which were particularly fun! The concepts I will immediately start using in my daily work are the post-negotiation assessment and Daniel Goleman’s six negotiation leadership styles.

On the personal side, there was a team-building exercise with EIPM staff and students on the first evening followed by many evenings of dinner and drinks. Shanghai has a fantastic range of restaurants and bars, which enabled great networking and sharing of ideas and debate around different negotiation stories and procurement as a subject.

As the two programme schedules are laddered, it was great to see my Geneva programme colleagues supporting the Shanghai programme colleagues on modules they have yet to complete, and both teams working together on their theses.

I took two weeks out of work to visit China – five days of study and the rest was a holiday spread across Shanghai and Beijing. Both cities are truly incredible. No matter which direction you look from the top of a skyscraper in Shanghai, there is nothing but more skyscrapers as far as the eye can see. Due to pollution, it’s only possible to see long distances on a good day, which unfortunately I only experienced once when I was in Beijing.

I’m now back home in Germany and have the best part of four months before graduation. How time flies when you’re having fun!

☛ Alex Martin is IT business service principal consultant at SAP. He welcomes comments and LinkedIn connections

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