“CHINA IS A PARADISE FOR ENTREPRENEURS”
HONGTAO GAO, International Master in Management alumni
Assistant Financial Manager at JiangHai Investment Group (Shanghai)
Hongtao (28 years old) has been working in financial management at JiangHai Investment Group for three years. In 2014, he completed EADA’s International Master in Management to hone his skills in the field of finance and work towards a position with more responsibility. According to Hongtao, internationally certified Masters like those at EADA opens up many doors in China, where higher education is very highly regarded. “During the selection process, Chinese companies are looking more and more for highly qualified profiles who know the business world very well and who wave taken part in different strategic projects,” he confirms.
Hongtao sees China realigning itself as an entrepreneurial hub among Asian markets. “China has become a real paradise for entrepreneurs,” he says. “There are still many relatively unexplored sectors with little state control such as renewable energies and ICTs.”
Despite his optimism, Hongtao us a realist. He recognises that China cannot continue to grow at the same rate as in previous years, due to global competition and the long-term environmental impact of this rate of growth.
“CHINESE COMPANIES ARE BECOMING WESTERNISED”
JINGJING FAN, International Master in Management
Purchasing Manager at DOIYCUSTOM (Barcelona)
Before coming to EADA, Jingjing (31 years old) had diverse professional experience in both Chinese and Spanish companies. After a number of years working in the Marketing and Sales Department of several companies, in 2008 she decided to give a new boost to her career with EADA’s International Master in Management. “What I lacked was a more holistic perspective of the company, from administration and finance right up to procurement and logistics,” she acknowledged. Upon finishing the master, Jingjing landed a post in risk management at Mango before becoming Head of the Purchasing Department at DOIYCUSTOM, a leading accessories and DIY brand in Europe.
Jingjing believes that “discipline and the capacity to carry out decisions are valued more in China than they are in Spain”. She compares the reaction of a Sales Department in China with its Spanish counterpart when assigned a difficult target: “in a Spanish company people ask why, whereas in a Chinese company, they think about what they must do”.
Although Chinese companies are currently in a state of change, according to Jingjing, traces of the traditional Chinese management style still remain. “Although the type of management and the structure of Chinese companies is becoming more and more westernised,” she confirms, “there continues to be a strict hierarchy.”
“THE INITIAL CULTURAL SHOCK IS ANAVOIDABLE”
PABLO PADILLA, International Master in Tourism and Hospitality Management
Head of the Guest Experience Area at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (Hangzhou)
Pablo’s position at the Hyatt Regency involves guaranteeing the best experience for its guests, from the moment they make the reservation right up to a few days after they leave. “The most important –and most difficult—aspect of my job is to create a personal connection with the guests,” says Pablo.
After almost two years in Hangzhou (the capital of Zhejiang province), Pablo (26 years old) has begun to get used to his new life in China. “The cultural shock you experience at the beginning is unavoidable,” he says, “even if you are somewhat prepared for it because you know that the way people think, eat and live here is totally different from ours.” According to Pablo, the key is allowing yourself to retreat into your own culture occasionally, while also integrating into the local culture by going to their restaurants, visiting exhibits by local artists or taking a walk.”
In the last two years, Pablo has learned to adapt to the Chinese way of doing business. “The most highly valued skills in China are your capacity to adapt, to demonstrate an open mentality and to have a proactive attitude,” he says. He confirm that while the Chinese management model is becoming more westernised, it continues to be based on many traditional elements of the local culture. Pablo sees China as an especially challenging place for entrepreneurs, due to the strict government control and bureaucracy when it comes to doing any kind of paperwork.
“SPAIN HAS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY IN CHINA”
ZOE CHEN ZENG, International Master in Tourism and Hospitality Management
Regional Sales Manager in Travelzoo (Beijing)
When Zoe (28 years old) completed her master five years ago, she opened the doors to her great passion: the world of hospitality. “The communication and negotiating skills, as well as the work in diverse, multicultural teams at EADA were things I was able to apply in my future positions,” she confirmed.
Last February, Zoe took on a new professional challenge in Travelzoo, a cutting-edge website in the travel and entertainment industry. “I manage the sales area in northern China, which enables me to be in contact with a lot of people in the hospitality and tourism sector,” she said. Her intention is to continue in the sector, although she doesn’t rule out the possibility of starting her own business one day. “I’m not in a hurry,” she emphasised. “It will be when I identify a real opportunity, and when I can offer a product that makes a difference.”
According to Zoe, now is a particularly interesting moment for collaborating with China and Chinese entrepreneurs. “Spanish companies have a great opportunity in this field, because they can help entrepreneurs to go international,” she says. “It’s a win-win for both countries, who need each other get common projects off the ground.”
Originally published in EADA View Issue 28