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Friends are coming from afar 2024-04-03

Across mountains and seas, we gathered at ACEM to keep our appointment for the summer of 2023. On March 25, 2024, Dr. Thomas Roemer, Executive Director of MIT Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program, and Dr. Joshua Jacobs, Co-Director of the program, led 33 LGO students to visit the Antai College of Economics and Management (ACEM) at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) for an annual academic and cultural exchange. The visit of LGO faculty and students to SJTU after four years holds great significance.

Attendees included Chen Fangruo, Dean of ACEM, Dean of Industry Research Institute, Dean of SJTU-BOC Institute of Technology & Finance, and Dean of Shenzhen Industry Research Institute; Cao Yufeng, Academic Director of the CLGO program at ACEM and Associate Professor of the Department of Management Science; Lu Lin, Director and Professor of the Department of Organizational Management at ACEM; Li Guohao, a CLGO2008 alumnus and Global Supply Chain Procurement Director at Apple Procurement Operations Management (Shanghai) Co., Ltd; Zheng Yang, a CLGO2007 alumnus and General Manager of B2C Retail Logistics for Domestic Supply Chain at Cainiao Network Co., Ltd. of Alibaba Group; Lu Jiasi, a CLGO2010 alumnus and Global Supply Chain Procurement Manager at Apple Procurement and Operations Management (Shanghai) Co., Ltd; Zhang Jianfeng, a CLGO2015 alumnus and Senior Manager of Digital Business & Innovation at Haleon; Chen Xingyu, a CLGO2018 alumnus and Head of Marketing Department and Systems and Software Business Department at Emerson China; and Li Jincai, a CLGO2019 alumnus and senior customs expert from Cainiao Network Co., Ltd. of Alibaba Group. The event was also attended by 23 current CLGO students and hosted by Cao Yufeng.

i. A sincere and warm welcome

Dean Chen Fangruo began by extending a warm welcome to the LGO faculty and students. He introduced the history, culture, and current development of the CLGO program at ACEM. Founded in 1896, Shanghai Jiao Tong University is one of the oldest and most prestigious higher education institutions in China. The history of ACEM can be traced back to 1918 when SJTU established the Railway Management Department. After a century of development, ACEM has firmly established itself as one of China's top business schools. Adhering to the strategy of "Two types of scholarship, horizontal (academic) and vertical (industry), reinforcing each other and connecting theory with practice", ACEM has developed a vertical research model oriented by industry issues based on the traditional discipline-oriented research model, creating a new landscape where academic and industry research mutually reinforce and complement each other. ACEM is striving to become a world-class business school rooted in China. Dean Chen then reviewed the history of the CLGO program, emphasizing the importance of connecting theory with practice, and affirmed the significance of this academic and cultural exchange event. Finally, he expressed his hope that LGO students could deepen their understanding of Chinese business and culture through this visit.

Dr. Thomas Roemer delivered a speech expressing his gratitude for the warm hospitality. He recalled the deep friendship between LGO and CLGO, echoed Dean Chen's message to the students, and affirmed the importance of learning about Chinese culture and business. He agreed with the principle of "connecting theory with practice", emphasizing that learning should take place not only in the classroom but also in practice. Finally, he encouraged students from both sides to communicate and become good friends.

ii. An enlightening lecture

Professor Lu Lin from ACEM gave a lecture on "Cross-cultural Communication", which analyzed cross-cultural operations of multinational corporations in China and Chinese companies abroad in a concise and accessible manner. The lecture explained the differences in the definition of communication between Eastern and Western cultures and the behavioral differences influenced by different cultural values. It inspired everyone to reflect on and understand the principles of mutual learning, seeking common ground while respecting differences based on mutual respect, allowing the communication process to evolve from interaction to friendship and ultimately to a meeting of minds.

Professor Lu's lecture presented the AACC (Aim-Audience-Credibility-Context) communication model in a clear, in-depth, and thorough manner, with rigorous and progressive logic. First, Professor Lu elaborated on the key abilities required for cross-cultural communication - understanding different cultural beliefs, respecting and empathizing, discovering synergies in different perspectives, and identifying effective information. She then allowed students to experience firsthand the communication differences in various cultural backgrounds and practice methods of conveying sincerity and trust. At the end of the lecture, Professor Lu presented to the MIT faculty and students a fundamental Chinese attitude in dealing with "relationship issues": harmony without forcing uniformity. The entire lecture, conducted in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere, broadened the audience's horizons, expanded their perspectives, and allowed them to see a larger world.

iii. Insightful exchange

The alumni discussion built a bridge for communication and exchange among attendees from different cultures and backgrounds. Everyone engaged in a full and active discussion on the LGO and CLGO education philosophy, the needs of enterprises for operational talents, and the impact of AI (Artificial Intelligence) on operations. Both sides shared their insights and feelings, which were vivid and thought-provoking. They encouraged and deeply inspired each other, deepening their understanding of each other's life pursuits and national economic and cultural aspects, continuing the trust and friendship.

iv. Campus stroll and dinner

Shanghai Jiao Tong University has a long history and profound cultural heritage. After the discussion, students took a stroll around the campus together. Volunteer tour guides explained various unique architectural styles and historical stories, such as the Antai Building, the Victorian-style old library, the Chinese classical Huashan Road gate, and the Centennial Anniversary Memorial Monument. This allowed MIT students to learn about the university's century-long heritage and the profound spiritual pursuit of SJTUers, who have accumulated the motto of "Cherishing the source while drinking water, loving the country and honoring the university". On campus, the spring breeze gently caressed their faces. Flowers such as crabapple, tulip, magnolia, and azalea competed to bloom and showcase their beauty. Trees such as heather, magnolia, cedar, and sweet osmanthus continued to grow outward, with every branch stretching and thriving. The students encountered cute kittens, saw free birds, appreciated beautiful gardening, and felt the beauty of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature.

After the campus visit, the faculty and students of the two universities continued to exchange ideas during meals. Although it was a short time together, the shared educational philosophy and ideal pursuit of LGO and CLGO have nurtured a deep friendship between the two sides.

The China Leaders for Global Operations (CLGO) program is China's first full-time, interdisciplinary MBA program. It is jointly cultivated by ACEM, the School of Mechanical Engineering, the School of Electronic Information and Electrical Engineering, the Dong Haoyun Institute for Intelligent Manufacturing and Service Management (formerly the China-US Logistics Research Center), and the School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering at SJTU. The program is jointly developed by SJTU and MIT, adopting the model of MIT's renowned "Leaders for Global Operations" (LGO) program while incorporating Chinese business characteristics and management practices. It has gained support and cooperation from well-known multinational and local enterprises. By leveraging SJTU's disciplinary strengths and features in engineering and management, the program strives to cultivate well-rounded, modern business management elites who are proficient in both engineering management theories and practices and possess outstanding leadership skills. The young talents in the CLGO program have their own strengths and expertise. This exchange activity allowed them to deeply experience China's excellent traditional culture while broadening their global perspectives and reinforcing their sense of responsibility. The CLGO program creates a favorable environment and atmosphere, committed to providing a continuous stream of innovative talents to accelerate the development of new productive forces.