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Where will our sales leaders come from?

In Business Education, DCU Business School, Dublin City University, Entrepreneurship, Ireland, Masters Education, Sales, Theo Lynn on September 26, 2010 at 11:30 am

Last week, the stigma of “sales” was confirmed to be alive and well to my dismay. Of 150 new postgraduates, only a couple would admit to having considered a career in sales. To a certain audience, “sales” is not “cool” or for the matter worthy of “academic attention.” And yet at the crux of any business, if there are no sales, there is no business.

My interest in sales education really started following my experience in Educational Multimedia Group in the late nineties and early noughties. I was then and remain now convinced that sales can be studied academically and indeed is worthy of such study. On joining DCU Business School, I retained this interest and began looking at the area in more detail. At that time, GrowingCo had just surveyed 218 executives in the Chicago area.  They found:

  • 38% of mid-market organizations (defined as having greater than $2.5 million in annual revenues) lack internal agreement on the role of marketing
  • 85% of sales forces have never been exposed to their companies’ marketing strategy or marketing plans.

The survey emphasised the negative impact of poor coordination of sales and marketing activities and to some degree highlighted the difference between the functions. Marketing and sales are intrinsically linked and the success of a sales effort is impacted heavily by the marketing effort – therefore incentives should be aligned. Interestingly in other surveys on sales management perception, one finds that senior management typically view their sales team performance as less than perfect. In Forum Corporation’s survey of 111 senior sales executives in 96 major corporations across 17 industries around the world, the average grade was 7 out of 10 or a C- in this context (although this could be a first class honours in Ireland!). Superior sales forces had no single differentiator – they performed better across the full spectrum of management, process and skills. A 2004 Accenture survey found 56% of 178 executives saw their salesforce performance as average, worse than normal or catastrophic.

Soon after, in 2006, the Harvard Business Review published a special double issue on “Sales” which served to highlight the dearth of academic research and highlight the area of sales management.  This is not the first time academia has sought to highlight this problem, but merely the most high profile. As far back as 1979, the enigma of the study of sales management was recognised – selling costs account for the largest share of marketing expenditure and yet is one of the weakest areas of academic research (Bagozzi, 1979).

Things have not changed much. You rarely find robust dedicated modules let alone programmes on sales or sales strategy in business schools. And I would be surprised where such modules are delivered, faculty either deliver them or if they do, have any real practical and sustained experience in selling at an operational or more importantly a strategic level. Donaldson (1998) summarises the problems of studying sales management as

  1. Traditionally, the emphasis in sales management is on implementation and tactical operations rather than strategic planning and policy, which has been the prerogative of marketing.
  2. The difficulty of isolating the sales response function and its causes. Many factors other than selling effort affect sales response.
  3. A myopic view that behavioural relationships and interactions in selling are not amenable to classification or variables are impossible to measure.
  4. Many principles of sales organisation, deployment and motivation are based on “how to “ principles, some of which are difficult to assess or understand, for example how to overcome objections. Much of the data are highly specific and anecdotal.
  5. The terrain on which operations take place is continually changing (territories, personnel, customers).
  6. Much of the input on sales management issues comes from disparate areas of research, behavioural sciences, operations research and economics.
  7. Much study and evidence is US-based and these findings in empricial research do not remain intact across the Atlantic.

In fairness to HBR, since 2006 they have published on the subject regularly however has the wider business education system followed this lead? Do primary and secondary schools encourage students to pursue a career in sales? If they do, what university programmes can they take? Is there now an abundance of postgraduate Masters programmes for the sales leader? Unfortunately not.

While few business postgraduates, and specifically MBAs, might value a sales position as their post-MBA career entry point,  in practice, good CEOs place an emphasis on spending time in the field with the sales force, view sales teams as strategic resources and understand that sales is critical to their personal career and their organisation’s success. Sales literally is where the money is…..but marketing sounds better to postgrads and….parents.

A couple of years ago, one of my postgrads and I surveyed a small group of students and sales professionals on their perceptions of sales as a career choice. Unsurprisingly, sales was not the most attractive career but for those interested, it was seen as a career that was potentially well paid and where earnings were very related to effort. Yes for sales professionals, one of the main reasons for the choice of a career in sales was that it didn’t require one to work weekends. Pay and control (whether related to effort or creativity) remained important but flexibility more so. These are probably not career attributes we “sell” in school or as parents for our future workforce.

Let’s face facts – it can be a brutal job. It is probably the most accountable job there is – you literally cannot hide from the numbers. Are we developing a generation of business graduates afraid of such brutal accountability?

In today’s post-growth economy, sales should be a huge focus. However, the investment in sales versus other market supports seems comparatively small. In many of the business networks, there are often experienced accounting professionals offering advice to SMEs to control costs and management cashflow, and this is very important, but there are few experienced sales professionals offering advice on how to grow sales.  And they’re not in academia either. And maybe this is the problem.

We need vision not just in R&D-based innovation but across all organisational processes. We want Ireland to be centre for excellence in bio-tech, ICT, financial services and many other sectors. Who is going to sell these products and services?Sales generates taxes. Ireland could be a global centre for excellence in sales.  If we aren’t going to be, someone else will. And that will be to our detriment.

PS – we now do deliver strategic sales workshops and personal selling modules in DCU Business School covering areas such as channel selection, sales models and process, tendering, selling tools, sales competencies, staff selection and sales team structure, rewards and incentive design etc etc. These are delivered by the Marketing Group.

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Selecting an Internet Business Model – Reflections on the Blurry Line between Internet Business Models and Strategy

In Advertising, Business Education, Business Models, Business Plans, DCU Business School, Dublin City University, E-commerce, eBay, Elearning, Entrepreneurship, GrooveShark, Groupon, Internet, iTunes, Microsoft Xbox, Netflix, Salesforce.com, Spotify, Subscription, Subsidy, Theo Lynn, Transaction, Two Sided Networks, World of Warcraft on September 18, 2010 at 11:32 am

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend a two days with my colleague, Dr. Laurent Muzellec, who is currently teaching in ESSCA while on sabbatical from DCU Business School. Laurent had asked me to give a guest lecture on internet business models to some of his ESSCA taking a course on “Web Business Models and Strategy”. Laurent has been involved with ESSCA for a few years and indeed his Lipdub exercise from a previous class there has gone on to epic proportions on YouTube and is now a best practice case of student marketing for higher education – see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw7t4f-ZV3E.

ESSCA, Paris

ESSCA, Paris

The topic was a curious one. As Laurent and I discussed it over dinner last Wednesday, it became apparent that much of what we know refer to as internet business models are influenced by concepts previously applied in the strategy domain – network effects (see Eisenmann et al for strategies for two sided networks), lock-in, switching costs, long tail (power laws), cost leadership, differentiation (and by extension, the economics domain) etc. As we discussed various perspectives and articles, it became apparent the line between internet business models and strategy is increasingly blurry. Should we define internet business models in the context of how a business creates, captures and delivers value or how it generates profits (implying revenue generation and cost management)? The former would seem to bleed in to strategy – after all many companies have the same business model but achieve different levels of success. I left Laurent’s apartment, very late, with my mind in flux to what I should present.

Luckily, Paris is the ideal place for burning the midnight oil…literally. I reviewed some old presentations and articles and found that many of the articles Laurent and I had discussed, although recent in academic terms, were clearly out of date already – they did not foresee the rapid rise and adoption of social networking and the increasing ubiquity of computing, bandwidth and storage. It is easy to forget that Google and Facebook are still relatively recent phenomena. However, the business models hadn’t changed as fundamental in the last 2-3 years as I had first thought – it was more that the adoptions weightings had. The core Internet models are still – transaction, subscription and subsidy models and you can find them everywhere and in particular in the content sector e.g. videogames (gamestop, world of warcraft, farmville) and music (iTunes, Spotify, GrooveShark).

Transactions are still the bread and butter of many of the big players – eBay, Amazon, iTunes although there are new flavours e.g. Groupon. As well as network effects, it seems to me innovation in transaction models over the last couple of years has related to assurance models. Central to eBay is its rating system and trust network which provides assurance on the provenance of merchants; to some extent PayPal provides assurance for both merchants and buyers on transactions. iTunes provides a technological assurance through FairPlay by limiting use of tracks on defined number of devices. Groupon provides a broker-based assurance by making sure merchants honour deals provided the minimum threshold is achieved. Interesting, microtransactions (where transactions are measured in cents not dollars) still have not caught on; although one might argue iTunes and indeed AdWords and other advertising transactions epitomise this model.

Salesforce.com remains the poster boy of enterprise subscription models, and in particular Software as a Service. Its achievement in reaching over $1bn in revenues is to be lauded. There is no doubt their business model is a benchmark for now and the future but for whom. Salesforce’ customer base is very specific – salespeople and their support staff turn over regularly, often work at home or on the road, need up to date data at all times etc etc. Employees in HR or Accouniting do not have the same profile. Nonetheless, many companies are trying to adapt their traditional packaged software model to SaaS. Earlier in the summer, IDC forecast that less than 15 percent of net-new software firms coming to market would ship a packaged CD product and by 2014, about 34 percent of all new business software purchases would be delivered via SaaS, representing 14.5% of worldwide software spending. But the licensed/packaged software market hasn’t gone away – its still worth $300bn+ and many large and small companies alike are still uncomfortable with cloud based services. Why? Well, the larger software companies are still making a lot of money from packaged products and the transition to cloud based subscriptions has to be managed carefully. Subscription models get rid of the need for built-in obsolescence but also change the focus from repeat orders and upgrades to managing churn (or reducing non-renewal rates). They also reduce upfront licensing fees, customisation and service level fees as the customers move from a perpetual to a time-based subscription model. A wholesale change from packaged perpetual software licenses to annual subscriptions would reduce short-term revenues per customer. Lower revenues impacts earnings; earnings impact share price. SaaS means a lot of change from being product-focussed to customer-focussed, short-term revenues to long-term revenues, average revenue per customer to average revenue per user etc etc. But SaaS isn’t the only subscription derivative – e-learning companies have used rental models before Internet Delivery (see SkillSoft nee Smartforce nee CBT Group) and Netflix is doing an admirable job with DVDs. People tend to forget that their mobile service, their digital TV service and many other services using digital networks are “Internet” business models.

For me, subsidy-based models are the most interesting. Advertising dominates this class of business model. This remains primarily a B2C model – there is little evidence of enterprise acceptance of advertising-backed software and there remains policy issues in relation to advertising/sponsorship based models for education and other public sector sales. However, for those with the time, financial and technical resources, it is possible to fund your business with advertising. I, personally, also think this is a perfectly acceptable way to fund access to software particularly where no other funding is available e.g. in developing countries. However,  selling advertising services (such as Facebook Ads and Google Adwords) is different than funding your business through advertising. But advertising isn’t the only form of subsidy – in the public sector, government subsidises commercial software – and in the NGO sector, foundations, governments and other agencies subsidise various initiatives including open education resources etc. It should be noted a few years ago, we assumed that there would be consolidation in digital advertising platforms and thus advertising-supported business models and choice would be less complex.  The rapid adoption of social networking sites and services has fragmented  – Facebook ads, LinkedIn Direct Ads and others compete with Microsoft Bing Advertising, Yahoo Advertising, and Google Adwords for advertising dollars while Twitter and others generate traffic for free. Selecting your advertising platform is getting more complicated but managing campaigns is more complex still. The number of Internet businesses that can generate enough traffic to sustain a business of any scale remains limited.  This does not mean it is not happening, sites like Grooveshark, seem to be making advertising-funded services work for the music sector.

So how do you pick one? It largely depends on your market and how they perceive key elements of any given business model and again these lie in conventional business academic literature – elasticity, price, awareness, customer type etc. For example, enterprise customers know and understand transaction and licensing-based business models – they are familiar, they know the conditions, the quality and service expectations, and know the procurement dance (discounts for user volume, end of month and end of quarter pressure etc) and they control their data and uptime. They are comfortable with doing business this way. Businesses providing software funded by advertising introduce more questions than answers for enterprise buyers – will the advertising be appropriate? will it distract employees? what are the conditions and level of support (if it is “free”)? Individual users are happy to deal with this ambiguity, enterprise customers are not. Subscription-based models and in particular, the SaaS model play the middle ground. It can be argued that enterprise customers (and individuals) get enterprise software at lower cost, better service, less technical headaches with terms, conditions and procurement process that they know. They get a lot; they need to just give some trust….not the easiest thing to do even at the best of times.

Can you blend them? Yes, and this can be a source of competitive advantage. Microsoft have blended different models in their games business. You effectively license an XBOX and can then buy or subscribe to software through XBOX-Live Marketplace etc. There are free games too. Similarly I note Spotify allows you access some services with ads, a no-ads subscription service and a service where you can purchase MP3s for download and use outside of Spotify. Indeed, the Spotify model, may in time, challenge iTunes and be adopted by other media creators and aggregators; it provides a straightforward framework that addresses all consumer preferences. But this depends on their capacity to negotiate with the media rights owners worldwide (and not territory by territory) and defend against Apple at the same time.

So where does strategy come in to it? Well you can replicate any business model but this does not business success make. You still have to find a way of satisfying unfulfilled (or unknown) needs of a given market segment better than the incumbents, profitably and ideally uniquely. And that is the trick – profitably and uniquely. Whether it is one, two or each of operational effectiveness, customer targeting or innovation, successful companies have to do something better than the competition.  With Internet business models, the same rules of marketing, economics, finance and strategy largely apply – segmentation, targeting, differentiation etc, etc, etc, but the successful companies move fast and tweak continuously and that is critical. They tweak digital rights management, delivery efficiency, payment options, payment process etc. The more things are different, the more they stay the same….just accelerated and more-and-more slightly left of centre.

Oh yeah, what about “free” business models? They don’t truly exist – someone has to pay.
Irish Blogs

Is Ireland ready for Groupon? Online collective buying on the Emerald Isle

In Boards Deals, Business Education, Business Models, BuyWithMe, Collective Buying, Digital Marketing, Dublin City University, E-commerce, Group Buying, Groupon, ICAP Media, Ireland, LivingSocial, MyCityDeal, O2 Treats, Pigsback, StealTheDeal, Uncategorized, VaVaVouch, Wowcher on September 8, 2010 at 5:35 pm

In February this year, a group of us looked at setting up a groupon clone for the Irish market. Following some research, we established that there were opportunities for an online collective buying and group discount service, but as a group we weren’t the ones to exploit them – or at least, not together. Notwithstanding this, the experience offered some valuable insights in to the collective buying model and the importance of immediacy and relevancy, some of which I will share here.

Tuangou is a chinese word that roughly translates as “group buying” or “store mobbing” and relates to the phenomenon of groups of Chinese shoppers congregating at once at a store and haggling for a group discount. A consumer-driven flash mob. (Check out Paula C’s presentation on SlideShare for a brief history of online group buying)

Mercata - A First Generation Collective Buying Site

Mercata - A First Generation Collective Buying Site

The first phase of online group buying sites emerged in the dotcom boom but failed for a variety of reasons:

  • it takes time to organise buying groups
  • discounts needed to be exclusive
  • people needed to have accessible social networks
Groupon - the Second Generation Collective Buying Category Leader

Groupon - the Second Generation Collective Buying Category Leader

The second generation of group buying sites addressed these issues by introducing immediacy and relevancy. Sites, led by Groupon, created demand by building a business model based on immediacy and relevancy. They offered deep, exclusive, time-based collective discounts targetting specific segments and narrow geographic areas. For example, 68% of Groupon’s users were in the 18-34 age bracket, highly education (80% had graduated from university), single (55%) and women (77%). The offers were focussed on large  urban areas. Buywithme has similar demographics – young educated professional women. Discounts were targetted (e.g. dining, health and beauty, fitness etc) deep (50%-75%), exclusive and were only activated if a minimum number of subscribers took up the deal. Typically only 1-2 group discounts offered per day. If a certain number of people sign up for the offer, then the deal becomes available to all; if the predetermined minimum is not met, no one gets the deal that day. The intermediary, Groupon, markets the deal and assures that the deal will happen receiving a commission, on average 22%, from the merchant.  The deals are truly viral – they are extremely spreadworthy due to the heavy discounts and restricted timeframe for decisions. Email, SMS and social networking enabled groups of friends to form groups quickly to ensure the deal happened.  This is a great business model – everybody is happy.

Vendors Customers
  • Guaranteed quantity of customers
  • Fast customer base acquisition
  • Low-cost, low-risk positive exposure
  • High word-of-mouth referral rates
  • High rate of repeat business
  • Deeper discounts than usual
  • Shared experience and membership of a social network
  • Unique offers

The key challenges for the broker, the Groupon clone, is to recruit subscribers and merchants. Subscribers are not that easy – the business model hinges on registration of not only the user details but also their credit card. Merchants are somewhat easier particularly if they are in businesses that may have excess capacity to fill and a cost base that allows deep discounts. What does a deal look like? Here are some examples with the minimum number to activate the deal and actual deal take-up in brackets:

  • $20 Paintball Outing With Randolf Paintball [20/759]
  • Truffle Workshop at Taste of Chocolate [45/1,114]
  • $24 for 24 day pass to drop-in classes at Healthworks fitness [24/3,997]
  • $10 for $20 Worth of Vintage Threads, Costumes, and New Clothes From The Garment District [10/1,334]
  • $35 for $70 Worth of Nutritious Pre-Assembled Meal Kits From Healthy Habits Kitchen [35/815]
  • $30 for a Sushi-Making Class at Sea to You Sushi [30/2,200]
  • $49 for One-Month Membership and One Beginners Class at MetroRock Indoor Climbing [49/1,162]
  • $49 for a Haircut, Blow Dry, and $60 Toward Any Waxing or Skin Services at Amaci Salon [20/2,465]
  • $20 for One-Month Membership and Two Personal Training Sessions at Fitcorp ($189 Value) [20/699]
  • $20 for $50 Worth of Italian Cuisine and Drinks at G’Vanni’s Ristorante [20/2,456]
  • $35 for $75 Worth of Steakhouse Cuisine at the Oak Room [20/943]
  • $20 for $50 Worth of Italian Cuisine and Drinks at G’Vanni’s Ristorante [30/1,248]
  • $20 Football Ticket to Boston College vs. North Carolina on November 21 ($37 Value) [15/862]
  • $30 for a Regular Membership to The Brattle Theatre, Plus Three Bonus Tickets ($104 Value) [45/2,000]
  • $15 for $30 Worth of Casual Fine Cuisine and Cocktails at 88 Wharf Riverfront Grill [149/706]
  • $45 for Lift Ticket at Bretton Woods Ski Area ($74 Value)  [45/2,000]
  • $149 Getaway to the Omni Mount Washington Resort [149/706]
  • $15 for $30 of Tasty Tapas and Cocktails at Tasca [15/2,067]
  • $40 for Acupuncture, Personal Training, or Massage at Joint Ventures (Up to $115 Value) [40/887]

As you can see these deals can be very successful bring in several thousand dollars worth of business. Obviously some businesses work better than others. For example, meal deals work because they are low value amount and groups of people can easily agree to go to one location and therefore subscribe to a deal. I also think there is a lot of value for multi-site retail chains however only if they have barcode or other technologies to manage duplicate submissions in real time or near real-time to avoid the same coupon being submitted in two geographically-disparate stores.

Groupon Dublin Facebook Page

Groupon Dublin Facebook Page

So what about Ireland? Well, Groupon has a Facebook site for Ireland and has acquired MyCityDeal but there doesn’t seem to have been a real push and LivingSocial has been “coming to Dublin” for a number of months.

VaVaVouch - An Irish Collective Buying Site

VaVaVouch - An Irish Collective Buying Site

Vavavouch is a local website but doesn’t seem to have gained much traction and I frankly have not heard much lately about Boards Deals. Is it that Irish people just aren’t interested?

Boards Deals - an Irish Collective Buying Site

Boards Deals - another Irish Collective Buying Site using the boards.ie brand

We surveyed 83 people earlier this year. The respondents were largely female (76%), university educated or some other professional qualifation (85%) and aged between 22 and 34 (76%) – a pretty good sample relative to the US sites. Most (75%) go out to restaurants, bars, events or other social activities at least once a week and spend over €50 on a typical night out (63%). However, only 2 people were familiar with group buying sites and this is the crux of the matter – people simply don’t know about these sites and how the operate.The overwhelming majority of respondents have never heard of Groupon, Wowcher, LivingSocial, BuyWithMe or StealtheDeal. Pigsback had good brand awareness ratings with over 76% of respondents but that is a different business model altogether. It would seem in Ireland collective buying may be a matter of ignorance and not disinterest.

So are they interested? Well, we asked. Firstly, the respondents did use coupons and vouchers – over 35% in the previous 6 months and over 56% had a supermarket or retail store loyalty card. So they do use discount cards and vouchers. When we explained what group buying sites are and how they operated, over 58% said they would consider using these sites. On what?

  1. Restaurants and bars (81.4%)
  2. Concerts (51.4%)
  3. Local retail (47.1%)
  4. Movie Tickets (45.7%)
  5. Spas, Salons and Assorted Pampering (37.1%)
  6. Trips: B&B, Skiing, etc (37.1%)
  7. Events (24.3%)
  8. Tours and Sightseeing (15.7%)
  9. Theater (14.3%)
  10. Lessons and Classes (11.4%)

Interestingly, 46.5% of respondents have received a coupon, voucher or other discount offer via their mobile phone however only 8.5% had used the mobile phone coupon/voucher in the previous 6 months.

Basically, it seems to me that Irish people are interested in group buying, or at least our respondents were, but the group buying sites need to promote their sites and educate customers a lot more. Certainly Facebook and Twitter are much pervasive and this will allow spreadworthy messages to go viral particularly in these more economically-straightened times. Whether the time-dependent deals will take off is another matter.

O2 Treats - a partnership between O2 and ICAP Media

O2 Treats - a partnership between O2 and ICAP Media

Broadcast discount services like O2 Treats seem much more likely to be successful given the high mobile phone penetration, high SMS usage (and ease of spreading messages via SMS), the location-based targeting capability, and the relatively conditionless exchange. Even at an 8.5% adoption, this would generate significant sales for merchants, value for users while generating high revenues for the service provider.  Good news for ICAP Media!

So what about our little startup? Well, we developed the spec, had a catchy (if somewhat quirky name) and had identified a company in the Far East who could develop the site and back office functionality fairly cheaply but…unfortunately too many cooks or maybe too many Indians and no real Chief. Or maybe if it was so easy for us to enter the market then it will just be too much hassle to defend over time.

Irish Blogs

DCU Business School Practicum Day: At the crossroads of academia and practice

In Business Education, Business Plans, DCU Business School, Digital Marketing, Dublin City University, Entrepreneurship, Masters Education, MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management, Next Generation Management, Practicum, Theo Lynn, Uncategorized on August 31, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Last Friday (27 August 2010), we held the first DCU Business School Practicum Day. Starting at 8.30am, students on the MSc in Business Management and MBS in Marketing programmes displayed “research” posters, presented and answered questions regarding their major summer assignment, a group practicum.

A View From Above - some of the poster displays at DCU Business School's Practicum Day 2010

A View From Above - some of the poster displays at DCU Business School's Practicum Day 2010

A practicum is an assignment designed to give students supervised practical application of previously studied theory. In DCU Business School, we offer MBS in Marketing and MSc in Business Management students the choice of undertaking a individual dissertation, which is largely an academic piece of research, or a group practicum. We source practicums from a wide range of organisations, business and not-for-profit, and initial ideas for projects are presented to students via Moodle in February. The students make proposals for these projects and start working on them in March. A report of work completed is submitted at the end of July. Later in August, student groups present their project for 25 minutes to two assessors who then question them on their project. Feedback is provided on this interview and students then present their “research poster” and present and answer questions from an audience of peers, faculty and other guests for 10-15 minutes.

Tiernan Kennedy presenting his group's work on the use of digital marketing for international student recruitment for DCU Language Services at DCU Business School Practicum Day 2010.

Tiernan Kennedy presenting his group's work on the use of digital marketing for international student recruitment for DCU Language Services at DCU Business School Practicum Day 2010.

This year 22 groups presented their projects, which fell in to four main themes:

  • Original business plans – business ideas that students have identified, research and prepared business plans for.
  • Irish e-Business Marketing – marketing projects for Irish e-businesses
  • International Marketing – marketing projects for Irish businesses typically involving an international aspect
  • Local Businesses and Projects – marketing practicums for organisations located on the Northside of Dublin

In addition, two MSc in E-commerce (Business) groups presented their original business plans relating to online mannequins and mobile apps. (The MSc in E-commerce (Business) is a jointly offered programme with the School of Computing and has a separate presentation day earlier in August.)

The Perigord Team fielding questions at the DCU Business School Practicum Day

The Perigord Team fielding questions at the DCU Business School Practicum Day

Overall the day was very enjoyable and interesting. It gave students both the opportunity to (i) clarify issues raised or unaddressed from their report and interview and to (ii) see and appreciate the efforts of their peers. As well as students, guests including faculty,  industry, other members of the University, incoming students and parents attended. All were impressed with the quality and volume of work. Unlike dissertations, students have the opportunity to address a real-world problem with a live client or indeed pursue their own business idea.

The Foodies' Edu-plate Nutritional Learning Toy

The Foodies' Edu-plate Nutritional Learning Toy

As every business and context was different, approaches and projects varied dramatically and really brought individual competences to the fore including ideation, industrial design and digital marketing skills. The DCU Business School Practicum Programme also gives the Business School an opportunity to engage with the wider business community and forms a central part of our civic engagement strategy.

This year the projects had a strong digital marketing element and the students ably demonstrated their skills in integrating a wide range of activities including:

Professor Darach Turley discusses practicums with Marie Mooney at DCU Business School Practicum Day 2010.

Professor Darach Turley discusses practicums with Marie Mooney at DCU Business School Practicum Day 2010.

However, digital marketing was not the only focus. Work on best practice tendering process, brand communications and sales training featured strongly as well as the financial planning skills inherent in any business plan. All groups presented well and confidently fielding difficult and awkward questions at times. It struck me that from a communications perspective, they had all managed to reduce over 10,000 word reports to 25 minute presentations then to 7 minute presentations and then ultimately one page – no mean feat! And at the end of the day, I certainly was satisfied that these students can hit the ground running in the job market with both the theory and practical skills need in today’s economy.

The roll of honour:

Theme 1 – Original Business Plans

  • Foodies – an educational toy for teaching good nutrition.
The Foodies Team - Deirdre Shanahan, Terence Bowden, Aisling Meleady and Sophie Gavard - at their poster. The group brought their multidisciplanary background to develop a business plan for an educational toy for teaching children good nutritional habits.

The Foodies Team - Deirdre Shanahan, Terence Bowden, Aisling Meleady and Sophie Gavard - at their poster. The group brought their multidisciplanary background to develop a business plan for an educational toy for teaching children good nutritional habits.

  • Online Fits – an 3-D body shape visualisation solution for online clothing retail sites.
Katia Zavershinskaya, David Gilchrist and Enkeled Uldedaj explain 3-D body shape visualisation in their Online Fits practicum project.

Katia Zavershinskaya, David Gilchrist and Enkeled Uldedaj explain 3-D body shape visualisation in their Online Fits practicum project.

  • Sample Circus – a circus-themed event-based tryvertising business for the cosmetics industry.
Cara Kennedy, Lyn Whyte, Martina Martinez-Cano and Caroline Mullen present their poster on Sample Circus at DCU Business School Practicum Day.

Cara Kennedy, Lyn Whyte, Martina Martinez-Cano and Caroline Mullen present their poster on Sample Circus at DCU Business School Practicum Day.

  • Dot Dot Dot Fashion Marketing – a digital marketing business for emerging fashion designers.
Stephen Conway, Valeria deFeudis, Emmy Rangel Calderas, Margaret Connolly and Nichola McHugh bring some style to the DCU Business School Practicum Day with Dot Dot Dot Fashion Marketing.

Stephen Conway, Valeria deFeudis, Emmy Rangel Calderas, Margaret Connolly and Nichola McHugh bring some style to the DCU Business School Practicum Day with Dot Dot Dot Fashion Marketing.

  • Afro Celt Airlines – an airline operating between Dublin and Lagos.
Afro-celt Airlines - Charles Okinji, John Keating,  Paul Tyrell and Stephen Osondu

Afro-celt Airlines - Charles Okinji, John Keating, Paul Tyrell and Stephen Osondu

  • SmartLED Lighting – a wholesale distributor of LED lighting solutions.
SmartLED Lighting (Keith Lawless, Andrea Bonnie, Una O'Neill, Lorna NiMhuiri and Ivan Casado) - a wholesale distributor of LED lighting solutions.

SmartLED Lighting (Keith Lawless, Andrea Bonnie, Una O'Neill, Lorna NiMhuiri and Ivan Casado) - a wholesale distributor of LED lighting solutions.

Theme 2 – Irish e-Business Marketing

  • Horseplay – digital marketing research, plan and pilot for horseplay.ie, a specialist equidae website.
Aoibhe Dunne and Conor Quinn display their Horseplay project poster.

Aoibhe Dunne and Conor Quinn display their Horseplay project poster.

  • Tenderme – digital marketing research, plan and pilot for tenderme.ie, an online tendering site.
John Cullen explains his practicum project on digital marketing for TenderMe to Professor Brian Leavy at the DCU Business School Practicum Day 2010

John Cullen explains his practicum project on digital marketing for TenderMe to Professor Brian Leavy at the DCU Business School Practicum Day 2010

Steven Nee and Khaild Hussein pose in front of their poster on their Digitary practicum.

Steven Nee and Khaild Hussein pose in front of their poster on their Digitary practicum.

  • HRLocker (UK and Ireland) – digital marketing research, plan and pilot on the Irish and UK market for HRLocker, an online HR software service.
Antonio Minuta and Carolann O'Sullivan pose in front of their research poster on HRLocker (UK and Ireland).

Antonio Minuta and Carolann O'Sullivan pose in front of their research poster on HRLocker (UK and Ireland).

Theme 3 – International Marketing

  • Toddler Holidays – digital marketing research, plan and pilot for Toddlerholidays.com, a France-based holiday home rental specialist for families with children under the age of 5.
Aideen Murphy and Ailish Tully present their findings on research and work completed for Toddler Holidays at DCU Business School Practicum Day.

Aideen Murphy and Ailish Tully present their findings on research and work completed for Toddler Holidays at DCU Business School Practicum Day.

  • HR Locker (North America) – market entry and digital marketing research on the US market for HRLocker, an online HR software service.
Simon McNally, Katie Murray, Kimberley Ramsay and Siobhan Buckley and their HRLocker (North America) poster at DCU Business School Practicum Day.

Simon McNally, Katie Murray, Kimberley Ramsay and Siobhan Buckley and their HRLocker (North America) poster at DCU Business School Practicum Day.

  • Dabl – market entry and localisation research on the Chinese market for Dabl, an online cardiovascular disease management system software developer.
Brian Joyce, Tien Nghiem, Guang Yang and Rachel Murray researched a Chinese market entry strategy for Dabl.ie for their practicum.

Brian Joyce, Tien Nghiem, Guang Yang and Rachel Murray researched a Chinese market entry strategy for Dabl.ie for their practicum.

Seyed Mohammad Amin Amirkhalili, Zara Walsh and Tiernan O'Kennedy in front of their research poster on international student recruitment for DCU Language Services.

Seyed Mohammad Amin Amirkhalili, Zara Walsh and Tiernan O'Kennedy in front of their research poster on international student recruitment for DCU Language Services.

  • Equinome – a marketing strategy for Equinome, an equine genetic testing service for the bloodstock industry.
The Equinome Group (Niall Clarke, Risteard Kinsella, Brendan Davis and David O'Rorke)

The Equinome Group (Niall Clarke, Risteard Kinsella, Brendan Davis and David O'Rorke)

Theme 4 – Local Businesses and Projects

  • Perigord – online communications strategy research, plan and pilot for Perigord, an online digital asset management service provider.
The Perigord Team - Ian Hemmingway, Rosemary Clancy, Eimear Murphy and Anton McMenamin

The Perigord Team - Ian Hemmingway, Rosemary Clancy, Eimear Murphy and Anton McMenamin

Damien O'Ceallaigh, Emer Keenan, Sheena O'Dowd and Roisin Lyons at their research poster at DCU Business School Practicum Day.

Damien O'Ceallaigh, Emer Keenan, Sheena O'Dowd and Roisin Lyons at their research poster at DCU Business School Practicum Day.

Niamh Downey and Laureen Morrissette present their poster on their North Dublin Chamber of Commerce practicum.

Niamh Downey and Laureen Morrissette present their poster on their North Dublin Chamber of Commerce practicum.

The DCU Civic Engagement Group - Cormac Hyland, Jenny Gaynor, Joanne Coughlan, Marie Mooney and Tom Muldowney.

The DCU Civic Engagement Group - Cormac Hyland, Jenny Gaynor, Joanne Coughlan, Marie Mooney and Tom Muldowney.

Aine Morris, Jenny O'Driscoll, Kate McGuinness and Diarmuid Murphy and their practicum poster on work completed for Printpac Services at DCU Business School Practicum Day.

Aine Morris, Jenny O'Driscoll, Kate McGuinness and Diarmuid Murphy and their practicum poster on work completed for Printpac Services at DCU Business School Practicum Day.

Tom Muldowney discusses the Timing Ireland practicum with Ed Dooley, Ciaran Dunne and David Fox at the DCU Business School Practicum Day.

Tom Muldowney discusses the Timing Ireland practicum with Ed Dooley, Ciaran Dunne and David Fox at the DCU Business School Practicum Day.

Irish Blogs

Leaving the ‘Paris of the East’ – Goodbye Shanghai! – Day Nine of the DCU Business School Trip to Shanghai

In Business Education, DCU Business School, Doing Business in China, Dublin City University, Ireland, MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management, MSc in E-commerce, Next Generation Management, Shanghai, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, Travel, World Expo 2010 on August 11, 2010 at 9:18 am
The DCU Business School Group pose one last time outside the Ya Fan Longmen Hotel, Shanghai.

The DCU Business School Group pose one last time outside the Ya Fan Longmen Hotel, Shanghai.

And so our Shanghai adventures come to an end.

We decided to spare ourselves the hassle of  negotiating the Shanghai transport system at 7am and rented a coach to the Airport – it took significantly longer than the MagLev! Unsurprisingly (1) we had more luggage leaving and (2) few people were awake to witness our departure through the outskirts of Shanghai. Checking in at Pudong International Airport was straightforward and only one person had to pay extra baggage charges!

Laurynas Binderis modelling a fetching pair of sunglasses at Duty Free in Pudong International Airport, Shanghai.

Laurynas Binderis modelling a fetching pair of sunglasses at Duty Free in Pudong International Airport, Shanghai.

Pudong International Airport is extremely modern and the range of shops and duty free goods is excellent. I think I did a good job avoiding the propensity to buy unusually large amounts of tacky souvenirs and bought what I thought my wife and kids would genuinely like (and for the record they did!) – a Shanghai Tang scarf for Niamh, a “genuine” Chinese ethnic doll for Aoife, a panda bear pillow for Jamie and last but not least, a Panda hat for Chloe. The Panda hat may be a bit big!

Ciara Dolan models Chloe's Panda Bear hat as Micheal O'Leary looks on enviously in Pudong International Airport, Shanghai. Stylish.

Ciara Dolan models Chloe's Panda Bear hat as Micheal O'Leary looks on enviously in Pudong International Airport, Shanghai. Stylish.

The flight home was a mixed affair. I got upgraded to Business Class so I was as happy as the proverbial pig however the group got randomly spread across the rest of economy rather than together and I think the BA crew could have been more understanding in relation to some specific cultural requirements some of our students had. Equally everyone was tired. The minor stopover at Heathrow, lunch at Giraffe and short hop to Dublin was not worth mentioning – everyone home safe and sound!

6,141 miles, 9 days, 24 postgrads, 3 support staff, one monkey, very little sleep – was it worth it? Absolutely.

The roll of honour:

Andrew Bonello (Research Assistant, DCU Leadership, Innovation and Knowledge (LINK) Research Centre, DCU Business School)

Andrew Bonello (Research Assistant, DCU Leadership, Innovation and Knowledge (LINK) Research Centre, DCU Business School)

Sarah McPartlin (Teaching Assistant, DCU Business School)

Sarah McPartlin (Teaching Assistant, DCU Business School)

Micheal O'Leary (Teaching Assistant, DCU Business School)

Micheal O'Leary (Teaching Assistant, DCU Business School)

Wafa AlMuhamma (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Wafa AlMuhamma (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Laurynas Binderis (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Laurynas Binderis (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Siobhan Buckley soaks up Shanghai on the Big Bus Tour

Siobhan Buckley (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Rosemary Clancy (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Rosemary Clancy (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Brian Connolly (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Brian Connolly (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Joe Cullinan (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Joe Cullinan (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Sean Cullivan (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Sean Cullivan (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Ciara Dolan (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Ciara Dolan (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Sean Donnelly (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Sean Donnelly (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Niamh Downey (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Niamh Downey (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Rob Elliffe (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business Sc

Rob Elliffe (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Martin Hennig (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Martin Hennig (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Dan Higgins (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business Sch

Dan Higgins (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School

Keith Lawless (MSc in Business Management, DCU Business School)

Keith Lawless (MSc in Business Management, DCU Business School)

Tanya McNamara (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Tanya McNamara (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Beatrice Metzler (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Beatrice Metzler (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Laureen Morrissette (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Laureen Morrissette (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Niamh NicClamha (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Niamh NicClamha (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Lorna NiMhuiri (MSc in Business Management, DCU Business School)

Lorna NiMhuiri (MSc in Business Management, DCU Business School)

Nicolae (Nick) Opris (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Nicolae (Nick) Opris (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Carolann O'Sullivan (MSc in Business Management, DCU Business School)

Carolann O'Sullivan (MSc in Business Management, DCU Business School)

Barry Sweeney (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Barry Sweeney (MSc in E-commerce (Business), DCU Business School)

Zara Walsh (MSc in Business Management, DCU Business School)

Zara Walsh (MSc in Business Management, DCU Business School)

Ekaterina (Katia) Zavershinskaya (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

Ekaterina (Katia) Zavershinskaya (MBS in Marketing, DCU Business School)

The Monkey

The Monkey

r. Theo Lynn (Director, DCU Leadership, Innovation and Knowledge (LINK) Research Centre, DCU Business School)

Dr. Theo Lynn (Director, DCU Leadership, Innovation and Knowledge (LINK) Research Centre, DCU Business School)

More photos on flickr.
Irish Blogs

Last day in Shanghai – Day Eight of the DCU Business School Trip to Shanghai 2010

In An Bord Bia, Business Education, CEIBS, Chinese Food, DCU Business School, Di Shui Dong, Doing Business in China, Dublin City University, Elearning, Ireland, Irish Pavilion, MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management, MSc in E-commerce, Next Generation Management, Shanghai Restaurants, The Blarney Stone, Travel, Uncategorized, World Expo 2010 on August 1, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Our last day kicked off with a frenetic visit by Andrew and I to CEIBS to hear about their e-learning publishing business. CEIBS seems to be the equivalent of the Harvard Business School of China and the CEIBS MBA is ranked 8th in the world. The campus is great with a lot of space for contemplation – there seemed to be an abundance of meditation pools (or it could just be good landscaping!) One of our alumni heads up business development for the e-learning business and I was interested in sharing experiences with her. CEIBS has developed a fairly comprehensive suite of e-learning courses for their general business with a judicious mix of interactivity. I could see a suite of elearning modules by CEIBS on doing business in China being a real hit and it was interesting to hear their thoughts and plans although we had very little time – all my fault; I totally misread the traffic an distance to CEIBS.

CEIBS

CEIBS

We had planned to get back to the hotel and get the coach to Paypal Shanghai but it turned out it was faster to meet the rest of the group at Paypal‘s office. Their offices could have been in California – the office block was a modern high rise in a landscaped business park in the Shanghai suburbs and the interior was the same level of modern professionalism. Martin Hennig (one of our MSc in E-commerce (Business) students) works for Paypal in Ireland and organised a tour of their Shanghai office. Martin kicked off with a great presentation to the group on Paypal and its operations and answered any questions we had. We then had a really good tour around each department in Paypal – unfortunately, I can’t share the details as we agreed to confidentiality. I can tell you that everyone we met spoke excellent English and seemed on top of their game.

Paypal China

Paypal China

As it was our last day, we got the coach back to the market under the Science and Technology Museum for people to pick up additional presents and custom clothes ordered. At this stage, we had a regular meeting place at the market, Daisy’s, where we could pick up edible food and big mugs of Espresso. After a couple of hours, I had had enough haggling, stringing the shop-owners along and espresso and decided to go back to the hotel for our penultimate meeting of the trip with Breffini Kennedy (Asia Manager, An Bord Bia).

Sean Cullivan, the happy buyer of a tailor-made linen jacket from Shanghai. Don Johnson watch out.

Sean Cullivan, the happy buyer of a tailor-made linen jacket from Shanghai. Don Johnson watch out.

I have to say Breiffini’s talk with us was great. He gave us great insights in to his career and how his various roles in different organisations resulted in his current placement in China and how various skills and knowledge he acquired in previous roles contributes to his current role. Breiffini is a one-man office representing the Irish food industry in Asia with responsibility for both promoting and generating deals for Irish food companies but also making sure we can sell in the market at all. For example, An Bord Bia were actively involved in getting the Chinese ban on Irish pork products lifted recently following the 2008 dioxin scare.

Irish pork products allowed back in to China. Good for Irish farmers, not so sure about the pigs!

Irish pork products allowed back in to China. Good for Irish farmers, not so sure about the pigs!

Everyone liked Breiffini’s hands-on approach – he attends trade fairs, chases down leads, does market research and is often the first point of contact for some large deals. He explains that this often means visiting places that he has never heard of, often off the well beaten path to Beijing and Shanghai. He believes and made a very strong case for greater investment in Asia from the Irish food and beverage industry. There are so many direct and complementary opportunities that Ireland can exploit – for example, China is turning in to a major market for non-traditional meat products e.g. offal, trotters etc. These products simply wouldn’t sell in Ireland and while not hugely financially profitable do offset costs and develop trade relationships. Once again, Breiffini stressed the importance of guanxi and raising the profile of Ireland in the minds of the Chinese public. Breiffini did a great job contextualising the Irish World Expo pavilion design by explaining that emphasising the greenness of Ireland helps with agricultural perception etc.

Breffini Kennedy from An Bord Bia answers questions from the DCU Business School group in Shanghai.

Breffini Kennedy from An Bord Bia answers questions from the DCU Business School group in Shanghai.

The meeting ended with some thoughts on living in China and he was very open about both his and his wife’s experience. He praised the International hospitals in Shanghai and also noted that they didn’t realise how well they had adapted to life in China until they had visitors over from Ireland and others told them. Breiffini the fielded questions for over 45 minutes on various aspects of working in China and An Bord Bia – we could have gone for a lot longer!

Eoin Murphy, President of the Le Cheile, the Irish Community in Shanghai.

Eoin Murphy, President of the Le Cheile, the Irish Community in Shanghai.

Our final engagement was dinner with Eoin Murphy from Le Cheile, the Irish Community in Shanghai, in the Di Shui Dong Restaurant. Di Shui Dong is a Huananese restaurant which was recommended by Deirdre Green (ChinaGreen) – it means “Water Dropping Hole” but literal translations don’t work well in China. Basically, everything is spicy! While the decor was modest, the food was excellent, reasonably priced and nearly everything was both recognisable and edible, although in some cases, extremely spicy!

Dan Higgins, Sean Cullivan and Brian Connolly consider what Huananese spicy food really means at the Di Shui Dong restaurant, Shanghai.

Dan Higgins, Sean Cullivan and Brian Connolly consider what Huananese spicy food really means at the Di Shui Dong restaurant, Shanghai.

For approx. 25 euros each we had over 20 dishes and drinks for the night. Eoin was great fun but unfortunately couldn’t be split in three across our tables – hopefully, we will have more time to spend with him the next time. If you are looking at moving to Shanghai, doing business in China or visiting, trust me it is worthwhile contacting Eoin or looking at the Le Cheile website – the Irish welcome is alive and well in Shanghai!

Joe Cullinan outside The Blarney Stone, Shanghai.

Joe Cullinan outside The Blarney Stone, Shanghai.

The Blarney Stone, one of Shanghai’s Irish pubs, is located next door to Di Shui Dong and we invaded en masse. The Blarney Stone is what one would expect – Irish Pub decor and their own balladeer, Big Paul. There were only 5-6 people there so we, effectively, had the bar to ourselves (although I noted our new friends from An Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and An Bord Failte were also there and came over to say hello) and after a couple of rounds we took over the entertainment too.

Sean Donnelly, Carolann O'Sullivan and Barry Sweeney get in to the swing of things at The Blarney Stone, Shanghai.

Sean Donnelly, Carolann O'Sullivan and Barry Sweeney get in to the swing of things at The Blarney Stone, Shanghai.

It is trips like these that hidden talents come out and Sean Cullivan’s rendition of Galway Girl and Seven Drunken Nights will be one we will all remember – maybe Big Paul too! Experience it here on youtube.

Sean Cullivan takes over from Big Paul and knocks out 'Galway Girl' at The Blarney Stone, Shanghai

Sean Cullivan takes over from Big Paul and knocks out 'Galway Girl' at The Blarney Stone, Shanghai. Experience it on youtube.

Before I left for the hotel, the group presented me with a variety of mementos of the trip for which I am grateful and display proudly in my office. “The Man Club” was closed when we got back to the hotel and to some extent, I was glad our last night ended on an Irish note, no matter how out of tune that might have been.

More photos on flickr. Day Nine to follow….
Irish Blogs

Father’s Day in Shanghai, a day of rest? – Day Seven of the DCU Business School Trip to Shanghai

In DCU Business School, Doing Business in China, Dublin City University, Enterprise Ireland, Father's Day, Huaihai Road, Ireland, Jade on 36, MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management, MSc in E-commerce, Next Generation Management, Shanghai, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Urban Planning Museum, Shangri la Pudong, Shopping, The Westin, Travel, Yongkang Lu on July 29, 2010 at 11:56 am
Dr. Theo Lynn (DCU Business School) with monkey at Father's Day brunch in the Westin on the Bund, Shanghai.

Dr. Theo Lynn (DCU Business School) with monkey at Father's Day brunch in the Westin on the Bund, Shanghai.

It’s Father’s Day and I am nearly 6,000 miles from the kids….not a good start to my first Sunday in Shanghai. Unlike Ireland, today is not a day of rest for our group. We kicked off with an informal briefing from Enterprise Ireland‘s Alan Buckley (Director), Kevin Sherry (Director, International Sales and Partnering) and Renee Wu (Manager – East China). Alan and Renee are based in China, in Beijing and Shanghai respectively and Alan is over for World Expo but also the Enterprise Ireland regional meeting. It was a relaxed start to the day and we held the session over coffee in the lobby of the hotel. Alan gave us an overview of Enterprise Ireland‘s activities in the region and the challenges. We all agreed educating the Chinese about Ireland was a crucial first step. Again, the sheer scale of the opportunity was hit home but also that EI‘s activities, while successful, were severely constrained by funding. Alan also stressed the importance of relationships and guanxi but also having a presence in China. Enterprise Ireland are not immune from this either and their presence in the Irish Consulate greatly assists their efforts. I was quite impressed by Kevin as he was very interested in the group’s thoughts and listening to their first impressions.

Jade on 36, Shangri La Pudong, Shanghai

Jade on 36, Shangri La Pudong, Shanghai

We had booked brunch at the Shangri La Hotel in Pudong. Initially this was going to be my personal treat however soon 16 of us had booked in….or so we thought. On arrival, we found that although we had made a reservation through their website, this had not been communicated to the Jade on 36 restaurant…. While we were offered the option of a Japanese brunch, unfortunately this didn’t really suit our palate. In fairness to Clement Jacquel, the Service Manager, and his the staff at the Shangri La, they immediately rang the Westin on the Bund, paid for transport and booked us in to a private room there for brunch.

The Westin on the Bund, Shanghai

The Westin on the Bund, Shanghai

Serendipity struck again! The Westin was great. Brunch was served over two floors from 7-10 serving stations, something for everyone – Italian, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, English, even a caviar bar, candy floss and pick-n-mix sweet trolley! We were on the second floor and we could look down and see the different entertainment the Westin had laid on – a 16-piece orchestra, child acrobats/gymnasts, magicians, clowns and singers – it was like a circus-themed restaurant.

A view of the lobby dining area for brunch in the Westin on the Bund with orchestra on steps in background.

A view of the lobby dining area for brunch in the Westin on the Bund with orchestra on steps in background.

After some champagne, the group attacked the food and two hours later after several desserts, we lazed around in our guilt. I rang my kids which only exacerbated this feeling but its amazing what a good chocolate brownie will cure!

DCU Business School group in our private room for brunch at the Westin on the Bund, Shanghai

DCU Business School group in our private room for brunch at the Westin on the Bund, Shanghai

Just before we were leaving, we ran in to some of the Irish diaspora from Cork working for EMC Research in Shanghai. It says a lot about the Irish that within 15 minutes of meeting us, the offer to visit EMC Research was made. Unfortunately there was no more time in our schedule but the offer was much appreciated. Maybe the “Ireland of a thousand welcomes” may be lost in Ireland but the diaspora certainly make up for it! We all agreed the Westin Brunch is a must for any visit to Shanghai, especially one with kids, even the older ones!

Dr. Theo Lynn, Ciara Dolan and Rosemary Clancy at brunch at The Westin on the Bund, Shanghai. Sean Donnelly auditions as a server.

Dr. Theo Lynn, Ciara Dolan and Rosemary Clancy at brunch at The Westin on the Bund, Shanghai. Sean Donnelly auditions as a server.

While some of the group decided to hit the markets again, Andrew, Martin, Laureen and I decided on some culture. Alan Bradley had recommended the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum and so we jumped in a taxi and made our way back to People’s Square. It says a lot about the Chinese and their sense of scale that they have a museum just about urban planning in Shanghai, Dublin urban planning seems an oxymoron! The museum is huge and has exhibits over several floors which explores different aspects of the evolution of Shanghai through pictures, film and other exhibits. It is not everyone’s cup of tea however the giant model of Shanghai is worth the reasonable admission fee. It takes up an entire floor and you can walk around and view it from an attached gantry. The detail is impressive – Andrew even found the Maltese pavilion in World Expo in the model!

A view from above. The model of Shanghai at the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum.

A view from above. The model of Shanghai at the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum.

Our plan was to get a quick coffee and visit the Shanghai Museum located behind the Urban Planning museum. We popped in to Starbucks for a quick coffee (and to buy a Shanghai city mug) and sat in the drizzle of the People’s Park. It was quite amusing. Clearly Sunday is Date Day for young Shanghai couples and we felt slightly guilty that we were disturbing them. After a few minutes, we couldn’t take it any longer and left Chinese couples to what couples all over the world get up to… And off we went heading towards what we thought was the Shanghai Museum. As we walked through the Park, we couldn’t help but notice the large number of older Chinese people congregated under canopies over the paths with pieces of A4 paper attached like notices to fences and trees. What could they be? We eventually discovered that these were marriage notifications – now we really felt for those couples we had disturbed earlier, little did they know what their parents were up to!

My attempt to negotiate marriage contracts for Andrew Bonello, Laureen Morrissette and Martin Hennig at the People's Park in Shanghai were unsuccessful.

My attempt to negotiate marriage contracts for Andrew Bonello, Laureen Morrissette and Martin Hennig at the People's Park in Shanghai were unsuccessful.

Eventually we got to the Shanghai Museum. I say eventually because we inadvertently walked the entire circumference of Renmin Square. And what did we find? It had closed 5 minutes earlier. So readers, no we didn’t get to see the 120,000+ collection of Chinese artifacts. So much for culture.

Martin Hennig, Laureen Morrissette, Dr. Theo Lynn (with Monkey) and Andrew Bonello outside a closed Shanghai Museum.

Martin Hennig, Laureen Morrissette, Dr. Theo Lynn (with Monkey) and Andrew Bonello outside a closed Shanghai Museum.

We then decided to visit some of the shopping streets – unfortunately I have no idea where we were but it seemed to be more Chinese than western! Before you suggest, no, it wasn’t Monganshan Lu – the famous modern art district – I think Yongkang Lu. Anyhow it was full of little alleys with all sorts of bits and pieces to buy and lots of photo galleries and art shops.

Laureen Morrissette looks for gifts in Yongkang Lu...maybe.

Laureen Morrissette looks for gifts in Yongkang Lu...maybe.

For those interested in modern art or pop culture with an Asian bent, this area is manna from heaven. Imagine an Asian Urban Outfitter-themed diagonal alley (from Harry Potter) and that’s the general impression – a bit like the Laines in Brighton.

One of lanes in Yongkang Lu, Shanghai - I think.

One of lanes in Yongkang Lu, Shanghai - I think.

It also had a couple of fresh food markets which were quite interesting to visit in a voyeuristic way. They looked initially like Irish farmer’s markets but in some ways were like some alternate reality – totally different vegetables, many of which were unknown to us and meats that in Ireland would not be offered for sale – offal, chicken feet etc. I felt for one hapless employee whose job seemed to be cutting the nails of the chicken feet….

Martin Hennig tries to find out where we are from other equally lost tourists!

Martin Hennig tries to find out where we are from other equally lost tourists!

After attempting to and giving up on working out where we were, we hailed a cab to the Huaihai Road, Shanghai’s main medium-to-high end shopping street. As usual, the Chinese cabby wouldn’t let us put on our seatbelts and off we went literally on the Chinese version of a rollercoaster ride. The Huaihai Road is six-kilometre street blending modern department stores with branded stores from most of the Western fashionable and luxury marques. If you are looking for bargains, I am not sure they are here. We popped in to the Apple store which is like its contemporaries in London and elsewhere including the price which was the same as London, if not higher. Authentic luxury and fashionable products are still valued and cost no matter where.

Welcome to Shanghai! The famous sign on the Huaihai Road, a six kilometre Shanghai shopping extravaganza!

Welcome to Shanghai! The famous sign on the Huaihai Road, a six kilometre Shanghai shopping extravaganza!

To some extent, you could be in any major city worldwide but the differences are there in the shops, the culture and the people. Maybe only in China are there signs indicating management is honest (and presumably if you don’t have the sign, you are dishonest?) or food quality is good (and presumably if you don’t have the sign, you will be tethered to the toilet?). It is worthwhile visiting those stores that the Chinese authorities consider good – we went to some impressive specialist tea and jade shops where the difference in quality between their tea sets and the ones in the market were perceptible both to the eye and wallet!

Honest management but food not so great!

Honest management but food not so great!

Middle Huaihai Road seemed to have best selection of designer and luxury shops, a good and varied selection of eateries, and some good views from the walkbridges. The dedicated shopper could spend days here however Andrew and I gave up and let Martin and Laureen continue their explorations.

Dr. Theo Lynn shares a joke with Laureen Morrissette and Andrew Bonello on the walkbridge over Huailai Road, Shanghai.

Dr. Theo Lynn shares a joke with Laureen Morrissette and Andrew Bonello on the walkbridge over Huailai Road, Shanghai.

Day Seven ended with another late night in the “Man Club” chewing the fat with the rest of the group and having a bucket of ice split all over me – it’s a long story and not for this blog!

More photos on flickr. Day Eight to follow….
Irish Blogs

Return to World Expo 2010: What happened next? – Day Six, Part 2 of the DCU Business School Trip to Shanghai 2010

In Angerer & Obermayr Messegastronomie, Ansgar Halbfas, Balancity, Business Education, DCU Business School, Dublin City University, German Pavilion, German-Sino House, Ireland, MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management, MSc in E-commerce, Next Generation Management, Pavilion of the Future, Rhone-Alpes Lighting Pavilion, Rhone-Alpes Urban Case, Shanghai, Travel, World Expo 2010 on July 28, 2010 at 8:30 pm

We had left our story with the intrepid group of DCU Business School students outside German Pavilion at 5pm in the afternoon in the summer heat of Shanghai. The German Pavilion was closed to the public but our new found friend Ansgar had agreed to meet us later in the evening to bring us on a tour….if it opened again.

Balancity.

Balancity.

With time to kill, the group went their various ways. Myself, Lorna NiMhuiri and Keith Lawless travelled back to the Puxi site to visit some of the urban best practice case pavilions in the urban square. Lorna and Keith are working on a group practicum as part of their MSc in Business Management in the LED sector and there were some possible leads for their client in the Rhone-Alpes Lighting Pavilion and in the Pavilion of the Future. After a pretty long walk and a small water fight, where there were no winners except the amused (and confused) Chinese onlookers, we eventually reached our destination. I am not sure there was much to take from the Rhone-Alpes pavilion or their light show but I really enjoyed the various exhibits in the Pavilion of the Future housed in the former Nanshi Power Plant.

Astronaut Haibao outside the Pavilion of the Future at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The Pavilion of the Future is housed in the former Nanshi Power Plant.

Astronaut Haibao outside the Pavilion of the Future at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The Pavilion of the Future is housed in the former Nanshi Power Plant.

As you walked through the Pavilion of the Future, the exhibits introduced different facets that will need to be considered in future urban design including environmental factors. Using giant books, sculptures and other media from history the exhibits go on to contextualise much of the thinking from history. The main display, Dream of Yesterday, however was the best. It was a huge hall with gigantic 36 meter high screen showing an animated film against the backdrop of themed sculptures and other settings. As you leave, you enter the Dream Is Approaching section which focuses on bringing many of the concepts that we saw in to the real world including the Intelligent Home, Healthy Community, Low-Carbon City and Harmonious Environment. There were some really good examples of cutting edge technologies from intelligent refrigerators to home biodiagnostics amongst others. Lo and behold, even Lorna and Keith found some material for their practicum – intelligent lighting is part of the future!

Multiple Possibilities in the Pavilion of the Future features a 36-metre-high screen and animated film.

Multiple Possibilities in the Pavilion of the Future features a 36-metre-high screen and animated film.

The group assembled again at the bar to have a stein of beer at the German restaurant where Ansgar was waiting with our beloved Sennheiser wireless earphones.  Angerer & Obermayr Messegastronomie of Munich run the restaurant and it is worth a visit if only for the beer…..apparently. Despite the quality of the beer, the excitement of the German pavilion was too much of a draw….even for the Irish. It was open again. Steins down, off we go!

Laureen Morrissette, Barry Sweeney, Rob Elliffe and Niamh NicClamha toast Ansgar and the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Laureen Morrissette, Barry Sweeney, Rob Elliffe and Niamh NicClamha toast Ansgar and the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The German Pavilion occupies a plot measuring around 6,000 m² – the largest area a national pavilion can be given – and they have packed in a lot – so much so, I won’t and can’t do it justice in this blog so check out the German’s really excellent virtual tour – the interactive round trip. As we had already toured the exterior, we went through the tunnel which is lit in blue (and features different media representing transport routes to enter Germany) and then in to the urban planning area, The Urban Office, where you could explore some of the German ideas around urban planning.

DCU Business School Students in the tunnel entering the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

DCU Business School Students in the tunnel entering the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The German architects put a lot of effort in to interactive elements that use all the senses so you could see and touch different types of materials as well as explore mini-cases on different ideas like multigenerational housing, the evolution of transportation from individual mobility to public transportation. From the urban space, you transition into The Garden. Ansgar explained that they wanted a contrast in the design and this was achieved by using different material, such as fabrics hung from the ceiling and interactive elements hung from the same that you literally put your head in to. The Garden sequed in to The Depot, a exhibit based on a German Warehouse with towers of crates illustrating the manufacturing and design legacy of Germany – Bosch, Sennheiser, Villeroy and Boche, Hansgrohe and Adidas are just some of the famous brands I recognised. I was particularly taken with the Otto Bock Blizzard wheelchair which I didn’t no much about but is transforming the lives of many physically disabled people. Ansgar really hit home the policy of “Designed in Germany, Made in China” – a true algorithmic economy vision that Irish policymakers should not only be aspiring to but emulating.

e Germans! Beatrice Metzler and Martin Hennig (our token Germans - only kidding!) pose at The Depot in the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

e Germans! Beatrice Metzler and Martin Hennig (our token Germans - only kidding!) pose at The Depot in the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

As you exit the Depot, you enter the Factory exhibit which has a full production system and some sustainable product ideas. It wasn’t working while were there but Ansgar explained that usually you could control the system using some augmented reality applications they have – some of which can be controlled by your iPhone Touch. We continued quickly through The Park exhibit to the Studio.

Siobhan Buckley and Beatrice Metzler (one of our token Germans!) attempt to read their heights at the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Siobhan Buckley and Beatrice Metzler (one of our token Germans!) attempt to read their heights at the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The Studio was a really enjoyable space with lots of interactive exhibits that gave a different more light-hearted perspective on German culture and a bounty of ‘silly photo’ opps ranging from Carnival masks to German karaoke. Oh yes, we had an attempt. Who else but Laurynas, our dependable Lithuanian. He literally will try anything!

Niamh NicClamha as a little girl at Carnival (she really is the one in the middle!)

Niamh NicClamha as a little girl at Carnival (she really is the one in the middle!)

The City Square was the next exhibit. It was good to take a break and rest on some stone blocks and watch a multimedia piece on urban life in Germany but this was just an apertif for the highlight of the German pavilion, The Energy Source. The Energy Source is an interactive experience hosted by two students, a German boy and a Chinese girl. They guide, encourage and cajole the audience in to collaborating to change the color of and move the Energy Source, a large ball hanging from the centre of the ceiling in a spherical room. The Energy Source reflects the sound of the audience and follows the two hosts using concealed packs that they carry. The hosts bring you in to their show until becomes the audience’s. You really have to be there but trust me it’s good. Check out some of our German Pavilion pictures on flickr.

The Energy Source at the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The Energy Source at the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

We must have made an impression on Ansgar. He recalled my interest in interactive education and organised for a private tour of the German-Sino House with the Facility Manager, Soeren Puerschel. Germany is in an unusual situation in that it effectively has two sites at the World Expo, the main pavilion and a second exhibit, which while not officially a pavilion, is nearly more impressive than many of the pavilions at World Expo, i.e. the German-Sino house.

The German Chinese House at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The German Chinese House at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The German Chinese House epitomises the “Designed in Germany, Made in China” philosophy and is the result of a three year study tour of the next four cities after Shanghai and Beijing. Although officially closed by the time we finished in the German pavilion, Soeren welcomed us and gave a great tour. The house structure is made of bamboo and metal – sort of representing Chinese natural resources and German engineering. Soeren explained that bamboo is a material that is cheap, underused, abundant in the Far East, sustainable, very strong but flexible. Unfortunately it has fallen out of favour. The idea of the German Chinese House is to showcase how bamboo can not only support a modern structure but looks good. And it really does!

Soeren Puerschel and Ansgar Halbfas explain the design of the German Chinese House to the DCU Business School group at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Soeren Puerschel and Ansgar Halbfas explain the design of the German Chinese House to the DCU Business School group at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

So what about interactive education? Well, when we came Soeren had a photo taken of our group on the stairs of the House. He then brought us in to a room to face a wall with a computer application projected 16 times on it – our group numbered 16 on the visit! Serendipity was calling. Soeren and his assistants then guided us through a game whereby we built sustainable buildings through computer software which interpreted our shadows on the wall. For example, the first step required us to create a shadow in the shape of our building – the software interpreted this shape using digital cameras above and behind us and then projected our shadows as buildings.

Sean Donnelly, Niamh NicClamha and the DCU Business School group create virtual buildings at the German Chinese House at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Sean Donnelly, Niamh NicClamha and the DCU Business School group create virtual buildings at the German Chinese House at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

We also had to simulate trees and by holding hands connect our power. When we finished all the steps all our buildings were connected and displayed as a city block in a sim city type environment accessible online at http://www.deutschland-und-china.com/media_de_detal_127.shtml. Our Game ID is 9693 – that is the address of the DCU Business School block designed at the German-Sino House. Come and visit!

Block 9693 (Designed by Irish, Made in China, Developed by Germans)

Block 9693 (Designed by Irish, Made in China, Developed by Germans)

As Soeren explained, whilst our group was the large and we knew each other, most people coming to the House come in twos and threes and have never met. The game, designed with Aachen University, not only teaches some sustainable building principles, it acts as a means of connecting people who had previously never met. Soeren brought us upstairs to show us some of the other products that have been generated from their study tour. This included modular bamboo furniture including some units themed around each of the four cities visited. Soeren urged us not just to consider Beijing and Shanghai but also the next 4-10 cities, all of which are huge by European standards – this may be a good lesson for Irish companies and indeed Irish universities.

Modular bamboo furniture design in Germany, made in China displayed at the German Chinese House at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Modular bamboo furniture design in Germany, made in China displayed at the German Chinese House at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

After thanking Soeren and Ansgar, we had to return our VIP passes to Indrė Kumpikevičiūtė at the Lithuanian pavilion. We were all fading and in need of some nourishment so we headed to the Argentinian pavilion for some beef – it was good, really good! And so, at 10pm we left the World Expo 2010 and caught a taxi back to the Ya Fan Longmen Hotel for a drink…or two.

Time to go home. DCU Business School students leave World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Time to go home. DCU Business School students leave World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

More photos on flickr. Day Seven to follow….
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Return to World Expo 2010 – Day Six, Part 1 of the DCU Business School Trip to Shanghai 2010

In Ansgar Halbfas, Balancity, Business Education, Chinese Food, Chinese Private Enterprise Pavilion, Chinese State Shipbuilding Pavilion, DCU Business School, Dining, Doing Business in China, Dublin City University, German Pavilion, Ireland, MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management, MSc in E-commerce, Russian Pavilion, Saudi Arabian Pavilion, Shanghai, USA Pavilion, World Expo 2010 on July 27, 2010 at 11:30 am

Given the previous late night, the group were given the option of travelling over toWorld Expo in the morning or meeting in the afternoon. Surprisingly a group of 15 managed to get out of bed and we set out for the Expo site, this time without Xiaoxia to guide us. There was a great atmosphere on the train; probably due to the relief from the 36 degree heat outside – apparently the hottest day at Expo so far! We decided to check out Zone D and E this morning. These sites are on the Puxi site on the opposite side of the river to where the country pavilions are located.

Barry Sweeney and Nick Opris follow Wafa AlMuhamm and the others up to the walkbridge at the Puxi Site of World Expo 2010, Shanghai. It is 36 degrees.

Barry Sweeney and Nick Opris follow Wafa AlMuhamm and the others up to the walkbridge at the Puxi Site of World Expo 2010, Shanghai. It is 36 degrees.

There were less queues on the Puxi site and again mostly Chinese visitors. Our first stop was the China State Shipbuilding Pavilion, mostly because it was big, there and not outside! It was surprisingly good and had an abundance of augmented reality interactive exhibits that allowed you control a wall-based mouse to control software on ships etc. You can check me out on Youtube literally missing the virtual boat! Obviously the main focus was celebrating the Chinese shipping industry – China need not worry about the Irish!

Laurynis Binderis demonstrates the augmented reality application at the Chinese State Shipbuilding Pavilion, World Expo 2010.

Laurynis Binderis demonstrates the augmented reality application at the Chinese State Shipbuilding Pavilion, World Expo 2010.

Our next stop was the Private Enterprises Joint Pavilion, where we got full VIP treatment including a tour from Meng Fu, the VIP Reception Manager to the Pavilion. The Pavilion is sponsored by eight Chinese companies from a variety of sectors including the Internet, filming, e-commerce, gaming, anime, mobile phones, household stuff, garments, amusement parks and attractions. Again much use was made of augmented reality and interactive elements throughout. At the end of the tour, we were given prime seats to 10-minute piece that combined music, computer-controlled synchronised balls and dance – it’s hard to explain in words but was amazing to experience. Nick Opris got some of it on video though and you can see it on youtube.  We had very little time before to get back to meet the rest of the group on the main site but decided the Information and Communication Pavilion was worth trying to get into. The queues were huge so we tried to blag our way in with VIP passes and nearly succeeded but got caught at the last line of defence – apparently we weren’t the scheduled group of Irish visitors – the Ernst and Young Entrepreneurs! Our failed attempt was fun in itself and kept us amused on the bus over to get some lunch before meeting the others at the Saudi Arabian pavilion.

DCU Business School Students and Dr. Theo Lynn pose outside the Chinese Private Enterprises Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

DCU Business School Students and Dr. Theo Lynn pose outside the Chinese Private Enterprises Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

We decided to eat in one of the public Chinese restaurants, it was amazingly good value – €2-€3 for a meal, somewhat like a Chinese takeout in Ireland, and a soft drink. The downside was there was very little room to sit so everyone was dispersed around the very busy shared seating space. We ate up and left quickly.

DCU Business School Students wait in the 36 degree heat at the VIP entrance to the Saudi Pavilion, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

DCU Business School Students wait in the 36 degree heat at the VIP entrance to the Saudi Pavilion, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Wafa AlMuhamma, one of our Saudi e-commerce postgrads, organised for us to have VIP access to the Saudi Arabian pavilion. This was a real treat as it is ranked as one of the top pavilions at World Expo.As we waited for the rest of our team, we watched as thousands of people joined the 6-hour queue to get in to the pavilion – remember, that’s 8 hours in 36 degree heat and very high humidity!

The Saudi Pavilion at World Expo 2010 has a bedouin tent with real palm trees on its roof and a 1600m2 inverted screen inside.

The Saudi Pavilion at World Expo 2010 has a bedouin tent with real palm trees on its roof and a 1600m2 inverted screen inside.

So what’s all the fuss? The so-called ‘Moon Boat’ is obviously boat-like and points to Mecca. As well as a rooftop bedouin tent and palm trees, a double helix stairs and other exhibits, the x factor which makes this pavilion stand out is a 1600 square meter inverted screen that visitors pass through on a conveyor belt immersed in a film that visits various regions of Saudi Arabia. Nick tried to get it on video (see it on youtube) but to be honest it doesn’t do the experience justice. It is hard to describe – the room is pitchblack and the audio and film totally surrounds you giving a truly immersive experience, which at times is quite overwhelming. Bono needs check it out for the next tour!


In the Saudi Pavilion, you are surrounded by and travel by conveyor belt throughy a 1600 sq. metre inverted screen showing a film on Saudi Arabia. You are literally immersed in (and sometimes overwhelmed by) the film.

In the Saudi Pavilion, you are surrounded by and travel by conveyor belt throughy a 1600 sq. metre inverted screen showing a film on Saudi Arabia. You are literally immersed in (and sometimes overwhelmed by) the film.

If you knew nothing about Saudi after being in their pavilion, you would leave thinking three things – (1) they have a very old and established culture, (2) they are wealthy, and (3) they are extremely technologically advanced. Whether (3) is a specific goal or not, it has placed them very high on the hierarchy within World Expo and in the minds of visitors. If you can’t visit World Expo, the Saudi Expo website is worth checking out –http://www.saudiexpo2010.com/.

The USA Pavilion Rep was very excited to meet Irish people apparently and was even more excited when we gave her an Irish pin for her collection. Laurynis Binderis, Laureen Morrissette and Beatrice Metzler look on....

The USA Pavilion Rep was very excited to meet Irish people apparently and was even more excited when we gave her an Irish pin for her collection. Laurynis Binderis, Laureen Morrissette and Beatrice Metzler look on....

Having had our breath taken away, we re-entered the sunlight with our additional gifts from the Saudi pavilion – bags, cds and books and headed towards the USA pavilion, which Laureen Morrissette, one of our MBS in Marketing postgrads, organised VIP access for. The USA pavilion is very different than the others we have visited as it seemed to be primarily funded by industry. As well as some exhibits on the US, the pavilion comprised of three video auditoriums where we were presented with “three acts” showing different aspects of USA-China relations and in particulat ABCs – ‘American Born Chinese’. The final video was quite a nice and inspiring film about community greening – all the mommies and daddies out there will empathise! After this, you can walk around various sponsor exhibits. I quite liked this aspect. While many others skirted away from industry, the US didn’t and you left being exposed to some of the world’s greatest brands – Intel, Microsoft, Dell, GE and others. What is annoying is that the Irish pavilion could easily have left the same impression – after all, Intel, Microsoft, and Dell (well, they haven’t gone away you know!) all have significant operations in Ireland. The other thing I like about the USA pavilion is that their online site is pretty good and if you want to get some of the USA pavilion experience, they have a pretty good virtual tour and you can see each of the videos – http://pavilion.expo.cn/c5001/ssize/en/index.html – which is pretty engaging for all ages. Be warned – the music is very catchy! (You can see more of our USA Pavilion photos on this flickr set)

Beatrice Metzler, Joe Cullinan, Brian Connolly, Micheal O'Leary, Niamh NicClamha and Andrew Bonello enter Act I of the USA Pavilion to be greeted by the US good and great on screen while the US corporate sponsors are shown on background.

Beatrice Metzler, Joe Cullinan, Brian Connolly, Micheal O'Leary, Niamh NicClamha and Andrew Bonello enter Act I of the USA Pavilion to be greeted by the US good and great on screen while the US corporate sponsors are shown on background.

Ekaterina Zavershinskaya, one of our Russian MBS in Marketing postgrads, organised VIP access for us in the Russian pavilion. This was quite a jarring experience after the corporate tight controlled feel of the US pavilion. While the outside of the Russian pavilion is very, well, Russian, the interior  is ideal for kids because it was designed by them.

DCU Business School students walk through the fairytale world of the Russian Pavilion at World Expo, 2010.

DCU Business School students walk through the fairytale world of the Russian Pavilion at World Expo, 2010.

Featuring dayglo plants, spaceships and buildings the Russian designers have recreated a city from the perspective of a child’s imagination. Great for kids, not so sure about the rest of us, for me it was…immersive.

Dr. Theo Lynn being devoured by Russian dayglo flowers at Russian Pavilion, World Expo 2010.

Dr. Theo Lynn being devoured by Russian dayglo flowers at Russian Pavilion, World Expo 2010.

The big event for us was the German pavilion. Despite the valiant efforts of our two German marketing and e-commerce postgrads, Beatrice Metzler and Martin Hennig, getting VIP access to the German pavilion proved difficult. Like the Saudi pavilion, the German pavilion had huge queues of several hours however the Lithuanian’s came to the rescue and through various contacts got us a special tour with one of the interior designers/architects, Ansgar Halbfas.

The DCU Business School Shanghai 2010 Group outside the German Pavilion, Balancity, at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The DCU Business School Shanghai 2010 Group outside the German Pavilion, Balancity, at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

And so at 4pm, we headed over to the German pavilion where calamity struck! The air conditioning had failed and the pavilion was temporarily closed – cue dejected Chinese and Irish! It says a lot about Ansgar’s passion that he didn’t give up – equipping us with Sennheiser wireless headsets (designed in Germany, Made in China!) – Ansgar brought us on an exclusive tour of the exterior of the pavilion. This was really excellent – rarely do you get the architect’s view of design and it was very special to hear how they put together the pavilion and the changes they made as the pavilion evolved.

Ansgar Halbfas (Chiarc Sights) on the exterior balcony of the German Pavilion at World Expo, Balancity, giving the DCU Business School Shanghai 2010 group a tour and talk on the design of the German Pavilion using Sennheiser wireless earphones and mic.

Ansgar Halbfas on the exterior balcony of the German Pavilion at World Expo, Balancity, giving the DCU Business School Shanghai 2010 group a tour and talk on the design of the German Pavilion using Sennheiser wireless earphones and mic.

I note that the Germans also had their fair share of grass covering different parts of the pavilion and I note that wasn’t the only thing borrowed from the Irish pavilion. As the Irish pavilion was located opposite the German one, the German sign was lit by a large spotlight placed on the top of the Irish pavilion. Unfortunately after our exterior tour, the air conditioning hadn’t been fixed. Ansgar didn’t give up though and asked us back at 7pm – fingers crossed! (You can see more of our German Pavilion photos on this flickr set)

More photos on flickr. Day Six Part II to follow….
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University Day at Shanghai – Day Five of the DCU Business School Trip to Shanghai 2010

In Chinese Restaurants in Shanghai, DCU Business School, Dublin City University, Ireland, M on the Bund, MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management, MSc in E-commerce, Next Generation Management, Shanghai, Tongji University, Uncategorized on July 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Andrew and I had an early start attending an Executive Breakfast briefing, to be attended by President Mary McAleese, organised by Enterprise Ireland at the Shangri-La Hotel in the Pudong district of Shanghai.  We represented Dublin City University with Xiaoxia Wang, DCU’s China Rep. We also invited and were delighted to host two guests, Ms. Grace Shou, Vice Director of the International Office at the School of Economics and Management at Tongji University, and Professor Xu Xiaowei, Vice President of Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade. After arriving at 0715 and admiring the view of The Bund from the 7th floor, the breakfast kicked off with introductions and gift giving to our guests. We also briefly met with Deirdre Walsh (ChinaGreen), Breiffini Kennedy (Asia Manager, An Bord Bia). Everything about the Shangri-La was five star – the food, the service and the company! While we had a pleasant discussion with Ms. Shou and Professor Xu, unfortunately President McAleese didn’t arrive until 0830 and Andrew and I had to leave to travel to Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade where we had prior arrangements.

Pudong Shangri-La

Pudong Shangri-La

Like all good plans, this didn’t go smoothly either. We hit rush hour in Shanghai and then our taxi drive drove right past our hotel, nearly in to an oncoming bus and then in his attempt to correct things tried to do a u-turn on a one-way highway in to a flash-mob of Chinese workers on mopeds! In the meanwhile, Micheal met our translator and got everyone on our coach for the day as we arrived 45 minutes late. Founded in 1960,the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT) has approx. 10,000 students and focusses nearly exclusively on international business. This focus has allowed faculty to specialise and the much of the teaching is bilingual. We were heading to their new  Songjiang campus, part of a university city-type development on the outskirts of Shanghai – similar to our trip last year to Dubai, this development had 6-7 colleges and the entire town was designed around student needs with each institution sharing some central services – possibly a good idea for all that NAMA-land. The trip to Songjiang took about an hour and we got to see the sheer size of Shanghai from a different view. Needless to say, we got lost but eventually 45 minutes late, we arrived at our destination to be greeted by Xu Rui (Cherry), our student organizer, faculty and some 20 postgrads. It was one of the most memorable and colorful welcomes to any university I have visited.

DCU Business School and Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade Faculty and Students, Shanghai, 2010

DCU Business School and Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade Faculty and Students, Shanghai, 2010

After posing for a group photo with faculty and students, we proceeded to a formal welcome from the students and some members of faculty. Again we were overwhelmed by our welcome and after an able introduction in English by one of the SIFT students, we were welcomed formally by Professor Shu Hong,  Deputy Zhang Yan and other colleagues. I said a few words and we exchanged gifts. I felt bad as SIFT went to immense trouble and gave everyone in our group a tiger gift and I only had gifts for the faculty and some smaller gifts for some of the students – note for next time.

Niamh NicClamha, Tanya McNamara and Ciara Dolan pose with SIFT students at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade College Museum

Niamh NicClamha, Tanya McNamara and Ciara Dolan pose with SIFT students at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade College Museum

Next stop was a tour of the SIFT College Museum. This was extremely impressive. Again one of the students explained the history of SIFT through the various. The pride in their institutions accomplishments was impressive and it is something that we need to try and imbue a sense of within our students and universities in Ireland. After a brief walk through the campus, we joined the students and faculty for lunch in the student restaurant which again was an educational experience. It was great for us to get to sit with and share food with the Chinese faculty and students. Both sides were very inquisitive and engaged and the students’ English language level was excellent. See more photos of our SIFT visit on flickr here.

Dr. Theo Lynn and Xu Rui (Cherry). Cherry is a postgraduate at SIFT and helped organise our itinerary at Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade.

Dr. Theo Lynn and Xu Rui (Cherry). Cherry is a postgraduate at SIFT and helped organise our itinerary at Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade.

And so after posing for some more pictures, we said farewell to our new friends in SIFT and headed in to our next stop – the School of Economics and Management in Tongji University (SEM-Tongji). SEM-Tongji is located in the centre of Shanghai and is partnered with over 50 business schools worldwide and is one of the leading management schools in China. We were greeted by Grace Shou, who we met at the Breakfast Briefing, and were lead to one of their lecture theatres where I was due to present.

DCU Business School Students visit the School of Economics and Management, Tongji University

DCU Business School Students visit the School of Economics and Management, Tongji University

I gave a brief introduction to DCU, the Business School and then discussed some observations on the Irish competitiveness and LINK research relating to the role of ICT usage in education. This visit was very different than SIFT but no less satisfying.  The Chinese attendees were very attentive and asked for insightful and direct questions.

Dr. Theo Lynn presents at the School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai

Dr. Theo Lynn presents at the School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai

In particular, as well as our research, I think they were both impressed with and curious about our research and teaching approaches for digital marketing and e-commerce, Next Generation Management and industry engagement. One of the last questions was particularly interesting in that they asked how many of our students would like to work for the government/civil service – the answer was probably a bit surprising for the Chinese. None.

Micheal O'Leary and Andrew Bonello Professor Wu questions Dr. Theo Lynn at the School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai

Micheal O'Leary and Andrew Bonello watch on Professor Wu questions Dr. Theo Lynn at the School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai

While the students toured the SEM-Tongji campus, I held meetings with Grace, Professor Wu and Susan Zhou. These were very informative and I hope to collaborate withSEM-Tongji on some e-commerce projects and visit again later in the year to deliver some workshops. Hopefully next year some of their students will join our classes on an exchange and vice-versa. As it was getting late in the day, we exchanged gifts and said our goodbyes to Tongji University and left for the hotel.

Niamh NicClamha, Laurynas Binderis, Sean Donnelly, Carolann O'Sullivan and Sarah McPartlin ready for dinner at "M on the Bund", Shanghai

Niamh NicClamha, Laurynas Binderis, Sean Donnelly, Carolann O'Sullivan and Sarah McPartlin ready for dinner at "M on the Bund", Shanghai

It’s Friday night in Shanghai! Some of the group decided to hit the town and check out the German bar for the World Cup match however a group of us put on our glad rags and went for dinner in ‘M on the Bund‘. M on the Bund is one of the best restaurants in Shanghai and one of the most reasonable fine-dining experiences I have had. It has a great location overlooking the Bund but the size of our group meant (i) our menu was restricted and (ii) we couldn’t sit on the terrace.

Siobhan Buckley, Ekaterina Zavershinskaya, Zara Walsh and Ciara Dolan on the terrace at 'M on the Bund', Shanghai

Siobhan Buckley, Ekaterina Zavershinskaya, Zara Walsh and Ciara Dolan on the terrace at 'M on the Bund', Shanghai

Despite this, everything on the group menu was great, our seating superb and the service excellent. I had the politically incorrect foie gras and beef and gorged myself to the limit on the “truly grand dessert platter to share”  – it was truly grand and more than enough to share.

The Grand Dessert Platter at 'M on the Bund' was worth attacking!

The Grand Dessert Platter at 'M on the Bund' was worth attacking!

I have to admit I bailed at 11pm whilst the youngsters hit the incredibly stylish Glamour Bar on the floor below the M. I quickly got a taxi and for the first time in five days, got to bed before midnight!

Rosemary Clancy, Siobhan Buckley, Sean Donnelly and Rob Elliffe glam it up at the "Glamour Bar" at "M on the Bund", Shanghai

Rosemary Clancy, Siobhan Buckley, Sean Donnelly and Rob Elliffe glam it up at the "Glamour Bar" at "M on the Bund", Shanghai

More photos on flickr. Day Six to follow….

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