Interviewing 17.2 million people takes time, patience and plenty of pens and paper. But now I can put my feet up and call the first week a job well done. I may have missed a couple of people, but I am pretty sure I heard from everyone at least by horn. (Next to a table of drunken Australians, this is the noisest place on earth.)
Naturally, I am now thoroughly smitten by Shanghai. If I can persuade Pam, I’d would like to come back and live. She said she’d think about it. And she really will.
Certainly, I could do what I am doing now, consulting. But I notice that American business schools are setting up shop here, and that would be an interesting option.
This would give me a trojan horse with which to get cultural literacy into the b-school curriculum. If I was teaching at a Chinese b-school, or an American b-school in China, I could make a strong case for courses that taught American culture to Chinese students and Chinese culture to American culture. Once we are talking cross-culture, suddenly there’s a license to do what the b-school should have done in any case.
The best model is something like this:
1) teach a class with both Chinese and American students enrolled
2) teach the first half of the class in the US
3) teach the second half of the class in China
4) in the first half of the class, teach American culture and consumer behavior. Putatively, this is for the Chinese students, but in fact this is also an opportunity to teach American culture to American students.
5) in the manner of the case study method, engage the American students to help teach the Chinese students American culture, in the process giving the American students a reason for being in a classroom that teaches something the b-school community believes they already know.
6) in the second half of the class, teach Chnese clture and consumer behavior. Putatively, this is for American students, but in fact it is also an opportunity to teach Chinese culture to Chinese students
7) in the manner of the case study method, engage the Chinese students to help teach the American students Chinese culture, in the process giving the Chinese students a reason for being in a classrom that teaches something the b-school community believes they already know.
I think this could be interesting. The "cross culture" mandate is a useful license, and at this rate it is the only way the b-school community is going to take culture seriously as a educational responsibility. (This despite the fact that business now turns increasingly on innovation and dynamism. Innovation is almost always cultural in origin and it is always cultural in effect. Dynamism, ditto.)
So it’s one of the paradoxes. The only way to fix the American business school curriculum is to move it to Shanghai. Got it.