As a consultant and Chinese teacher for business professionals for nearly 15 years in Chicago, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and New York, I’ve trained many business professionals, investment bankers, lawyers, executives and many others that were on their way to do business in China. While doing so, I experienced many of the ups and downs of the US and Chinese business world and relations. I caught the 1st wave of professionals learning business Chinese in 2000 – 2-003 in Hong Kong, 2nd wave when I worked in Shanghai to expatriates working in multinational companies in China between 2003-2008, 3rd wave when I set up Wall Street Chinese on Wall Street from 2008 to today.
When providing my services, it was always important to me that my students, no matter what industry they are in, are able to enter the Chinese market with confidence. Besides of learning the Chinese language, they needed to understand the Chinese people and the Chinese business culture. In my opinion, all three are mandatory tasks one has to master in order to make the right decisions in the Chinese business world and to be successful in their professional journey.
My own professional experience, with working in so many different places, helped me to understand the needs of my students. Not only once, but many times, I experienced “culture shocks” after my various moves around the globe. Today, when I prepare business professionals for their journey through China, I don’t limit the textbook to the language, for various reasons. One of them is, incorporating culture, art and people makes the learning process much easier and, second, it provides a much broader perspective. That I still receive “Xie Xie” notes from my past students makes me believe that my approach has carried fruits for my students.
I made it a priority to tell my students that they not only learn the language, you are learning the culture, the business culture and you learn to better understand the people you are dealing with. All of this is important to do well in China. The successes with my approach make me proud that I found a way to pass on my experiences to those that come to me when they prepare themselves for their professional journey into China.