By Omar Sofradzija, communications manager
A recent trip to China was a journey of discovery and affirmation for Eli Broad College of Business Dean Sanjay Gupta, who met with academics, alumni, and entrepreneurs and saw first-hand one of the world’s most dynamic economies as part of the Broad College’s efforts to keep itself on the leading edge of change and innovation.
“The takeaway is the tremendous growth that is taking place in China, the changes that are taking place over there, and the pace at which those changes are taking place,” Gupta said after his return from the trip, which lasted Oct. 29 to Nov. 4. “It is stunning and it is also instructive for us to think about what’s going on in the rest of the world, and we cannot take it for granted that we will continue to enjoy the edge that we have had in so many different ways,” academically and economically.
“This notion of worldwide competition is real,” Gupta said. “It requires us to really be sharp in terms of how we develop our initiatives, pursue them with energy, and make sure that we are successful.”
Gupta’s first stop was at the Dalian University of Technology, of which Gupta is part of its business school’s advisory board, and which is home to China’s first MBA program. There, he met with peers and discussed opportunities for business education in China and partnerships between Dalian and the Broad College.
Gupta said China has a “talent pool that is extremely thirsty for knowledge. We need to continue to think strategically; what does that mean in terms of the role that we can play in providing to meet this hunger for knowledge, and how do we attract that talent pool to also be part of our institutions?”
Then it was off to China’s capital city, where Gupta served as moderator in the MSU Executive Forum in Beijing on Nov. 3. The keynote speaker at the gathering of alumni, prospective students, parents of current students, and others was Jing Wang, co-founder, CEO, and chairman of FinTell Financial Services, a Chinese firm which provides technology services in the financial services sector. He graduated from the Broad College with an MBA in finance in 1998.
Prior to starting FinTell, he worked at American Express for 17 years — where he held various leadership roles — and at Baidu, Inc., a dominant search engine provider in China. At the forum, he and his associates talked about doing business in China, their takeaways from MSU, and what it means to be a Spartan, among other topics.
“The goodwill for Michigan State, for Spartans, for the Broad College exists all over the globe, including in these faraway places. That is always heart-warming,” Gupta said. “It tells you why thinking about alumni far and wide is critical to our ongoing mission … (in) continuing to create that conduit for future students to want to come here, as well as the alumni that graduate from our programs to be able to go back home and participate in existing businesses or start their own, as Jing Wang has.”
The China trip follows a journey earlier in the fall to India, and precedes trips Gupta has planned to Canada and Scotland in the spring of 2019.