2008.06.28  Stanford-Tsinghua Exchange Program 2008
Jul 12, 2020

The STEP (Stanford-Tsinghua Exchange Program) has successfully completed its third year this past March. The exchange involves a one-week visit by the Tsinghua MBA students to Stanford GSB in January, 2008, with a reciprocal visit by GSB students to Tsinghua in Beijing at the end of March.  Visits are organized based-upon three core aspects; academics, business, and social activities. The Tsinghua STEP team was comprised of 2nd year IMBA students; Professor Gao Xudong of Tsinghua SEM supervised the team. The Stanford STEP team was headed by Professor Garth Saloner, who was one of the initiators of GSB MBA reform.

For most Tsinghua students, STEP provided the first chance in their lives to visit America and experience Stanford. The Tsinghua students were impressed very much, through attending the MBA classes in Stanford GSB, visiting world-famous companies such as Facebook, Chevron, KPCB, etc., and touring around best attractions in California. Through the STEP experience, Tsinghua visitors had a better understanding of MBA life as well as the businesses in the U.S. The trip had greatly broadened Tsinghua students’ minds, and more importantly, it helped establish lifelong relationships between Tsinghua and Stanford MBAs.

 For the Beijing trip, The Tsinghua STEP team devoted a great deal of effort in the planning and execution of this exciting 7-day program for Stanford GSB students. The Stanford GSB students left China with a broad understanding of the Tsinghua MBA experience and the general business environment in China. Special topics included corporate cultural differences in commercial banks, the macroeconomic environment in China, and competing strategies of local firms against MNEs. A great deal of emphasis was devoted to the social aspects of the program, an integral component to complement the academic and business programs. The visiting students left with fond memories of Chinese hospitality and a personal perspective of China’s impressive culture, history, business and most importantly, its people.

Business visits are an integral part of the STEP program. The business visits include meeting with senior level management of a wide range of companies who have their headquarters or regional base of operations in San Francisco and Beijing.  Students from each school select the top companies and industries that they are interested in and then submit a list to both school’s leadership teams.  The business leaders from both schools then proceed to secure meetings using school resources, alumni, and previous STEP participants. 

The STEP participants enjoyed the outdoor activities and social gathering as much as we did the lectures and seminars. The time we shared in diverse environments brought us closer together and broadened our perspectives. We found much in common when we mixed with students at Stanford GSB in their social events such as the welcome party at a GSB student’s apartment and the basketball game. We could experience real American family life when we were invited for dinner at the GSB students’ home. Touring around San Francisco Bay Area took us deep inside of Alcatraz, and the festive marketplace that is Fisherman's Wharf. A short walk through the city’s famous hills and taking its famous cable cars gave us the feeling of becoming insiders to this great city, and the NAPA trip granted us a great opportunity to experience the delicious world of California wine.


STEP participants from Stanford GSB enjoyed their China trip through visits to fascinating tourist attractions, local performances, shopping experience at the most popular stops and delicious Chinese cuisines.

The trip to Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and Great Wall gave the Stanford students very deep impression of China’s rich history and cultural heritage, while they could also enjoy modern arts by touring around in the 798 Art District and SOHO Commune by the Great Wall.

The dynamic social and cultural activities provided all STEP participants a perfect setting in which the participants could share their interests, knowledge, and experiences. The program has already received strong positive feedback from participants on how the program is helping to forge lasting relationships that the students hopefully will maintain over the course of their careers.

Every participant recognized the unique opportunity and experience that STEP represents. Student said "they felt fortunate to have been chosen to be participants, creators and benefactors"; "the experience, further developed our student’s teambuilding, project management skills and global perspective"; they sincerely hope that "STEP will grow and flourish and further the integration of our two great business schools."



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