Eugene - U21 Student Leaders Summit at Shanghai Jiao Tong University

B Science
July 2019

My experience

I decided to complete the ICCI Young Leaders Summit short term experience to learn more about leadership and gain a deeper cultural insight into China. In particular, I was interested in comparing Asian and Western leadership styles with an emphasis on conflict management, hierarchy establishment and a community oriented focus. Also, the smaller group size of 15 people motivated me to apply as I was excited for a more personal learning experience.

How has the experience changed you?

I was able to gain an insight into the Similarities and differences between Asian and Western leadership styles, as well as the underlying cultural influences behind these styles and how to effectively implement them. Visiting a number of established Chinese businesses and thriving startups allowed me to network and learn from various CEOs, department heads and industry professionals. Personally, I gained an appreciation for the Chinese landscape and culture through visits to a number of museums, famous locations and interactive workshops. These provided me with an experience that just cannot be supplemented by the readings and videos I had previously learnt with from Australia.

Favourite memory

My favourite experience from the program was visiting the Alibaba headquarters. We were provided insight into current projects as well as tips on how to manage a team and develop our own entreprenurship ideas. This was provided through the opportunity to meet with an upper level management spokesperson who provided a personal insights into their career progression as well as how we may learn from their mistakes and successes. Following the meeting, we were  toured around the headquarters and showcased  their management areas and development labs.

Top tips

My advise for future participants is to be prepared and keep an open mind. This is a full-on program packed with classroom lessons, business visits and cultural experiences. Combined with the change in pace of experiencing a city like Shanghai for the first time, you may feel a little out of place. As such, mentally preparing yourself as well as making sure you have packed all the items and equipment for the program as recommended by the summit coordinators is essential. With so many activities, I feel like the best approach is to try keep an open mind and just absorb as much information and experiences during the two weeks as possible, it will pass before you know it!