Off We Go To Shanghai- Posted on Inside IMC

In the very beginning, I wrote this for Lakshmi's "The Fourth Quarter" newsletter. But I shared the entire article with the Branding Committee, too, to get it posted.
Feels really good about the update somewhere else, in a more formal way :)

Off We Go To Shanghai

30 06 2008

While most of our classmates are all over the country working hard at their individual residences, a group of us have been hanging out in Evanston for the past two weeks. What have we been up to? Here’s a short update from those of us going on the Global Residency!

This summer, 19 IMC students are heading to Shanghai for two weeks as part of the first-ever Global Residency program. Accompanied and advised by two professors, Tom Hayden and Frank Mulhern, students formed teams to work on four projects for three multinational companies: Yum! Brands (KFC), Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut), Draftfcb (client: Kraft), and McCann-Erickson (client: Puma). We had three days of mini-courses and meetings before leaving for Shanghai and will be on-site from July 7 to 18. But that’s not all. All the teams will keep working on their project after they return to the U.S. The final presentation and proposals to our respective clients will keep us busy until the end of August. Our first class was on Wednesday, and we were so inspired by Don Schultz’s lectures and the guest speakers’ presentations. In a very short time, we learned a lot about marketing in China from both Don and Ron Jacobs, president of Jacobs & Clevenger. Both of them also made some observations about global marketing, especially the Indian and Japanese markets, to help immerse us in “a whole new world” outside the U.S.

Prof Martin Block joined us on Thursday afternoon to introduce newly updated research that was conducted in China for 10 quarters up till the first 2 quarters of this year (it’s REALLY FRESH!). Besides the lectures, students had to deliver a presentation that afternoon on eight areas in the Chinese market using a new tool called MindManager (mind-mapping software). We had another assignment due the next day: each team was to present their discoveries so far on their specific projects (KFC, Pizza Hut, Puma and Kraft). You know what made that difficult? The four teams either got a) very limited information about the project, b) too much information about the project, or c) some information about the project in Mandarin Chinese! The challenge continued when Don Schultz gave us 1.5 hours (originally the lunch break) to shift our product-focused presentations to customer-centric ones. Who are our consumers? What do we know about them? What more do we aspire to know about them?

Currently all four groups are raring to go. We will meet as a full team again on Tuesday, July 1 and then fly to Shanghai for our exciting on-site exploration. We will definitely work as hard as everyone else doing individual residencies!

……….Wendy Chen

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To companies who possess, or are passionate about obtaining and maintaining global reputation, Wendy is the diligent and professional digital marketer who is experienced in digital marketing, is always energetic about solving challenges in the new media field to help the business grow, and can optimize her contributions by utilizing her multilingual and multicultural background.