I’ve been quiet lately because school has picked up pace. In the middle of October I had an intensive 5-day course in Project Management. Our lecturer Sikander Khan‘s CV must be 300 pages long, among his past experience you’ll find countless United Nations projects, prior position as the dean of Stockholm School of Business and this guy happens to have picked up 10 languages from the 60-something countries he’s worked in.
He went through the book content in less than 2 hours; the rest of the week was all about story telling from different projects he’s been a part of. I appreciated his way of teaching; the theories and methods of project management can always be found in books but you wont find the same wealth of real life experiences of how it all pans out in practice. He also brought in 4 Guest speakers; Alexander Garbu, founder of iQubator; Martin Pei president of SSAB China, Per Lindvall president of Defa Technology, Ulf Söderström president of SCA Asia Pacific, who told us about their companies and described how they perform projects with examples of recent business projects. The guest lectures were particularly interesting as they really gave us a feel for what its like to work with corporate projects and an insight into why project management is so important. Even if we’re not planning on a career as project managers I’m pretty sure most of us will be involved in projects in whatever companies we’ll be working for in the future.
The course was packed with 3 group case works and 1 larger term paper, unfortunately this whole process was incredibly slow due to School of Managements slow internet and the inability to use VPN on campus which restricted us from collaborating in Gdocs. Fudan should really invest in the technology their own scientists have invented
I’ll fast forward, skipping my trip to Suzhou and Beijing, up to the past two weeks of Operations management according to Lean principles with Dr. Norman G Roth (from Bosch). This class is by far the best class I’ve had at Fudan! Dr. Roth is incredibly enthusiastic about Lean management and has a very creative way of conveying his knowledge and enthusiasm to us students. During the lectures we got to do different games and tasks to solve on site, individually and in teams, which forced us to apply our knowledge immediately or helped us further understand from practical experience why certain methods (such as sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain) are so important. I really wish more University lecturers had pedagogic skills like that
Working in multicultural teams is very educational. Our class consists of people from every continent (except Oceania) and we all have different “right way” of doing things, and different interpretations of “deadline”. For some “deadline” means “the day after the day you’re supposed to finish”, for some it means “the day to finish” and for others it means “the day to start working”. As you may suspect this creates some problems and conflicts which takes us to the next cultural confusion: people giving direct harsh negative feedback to people who are used to indirect communication making them feel like they’re ‘loosing face’ . Then the other way around, people giving indirect negative feedback to people who are not used to reading between the lines and therefor totally missing the point. I’m hoping my next course Managing Cultural Differences will teach me more about how to deal with these issues.
..I’ll save the interesting part about Beijing and Suzhou for another post
Posted from Guilin