A Small Bite of the Business World

A Small Bite of the Business World
Left side: Milla Laisi, Jukka Mustonen, Zhimin Liang negotiating with Right side: Vice president Yuhong Li (middle) of Beijing College of Finance and Commerce and its two representatives.
​From 14th May to 20th May, I, together with the deans and teachers of Faculty of Business and Faculty of Social and Health care, visited different institutions and attended meetings during the one-week trip in Beijing, China. The main goal of the trip was to meet potential partners in China to gain more good Chinese applicants to study in Lahti UAS.

This is the first time I joined a business trip and also my first step or attempt in the business world. Before the trip started, I translated materials regarding Lahti UAS and Lahti into Chinese as well as contacted the potential partners to set up meetings. During the trip, my main task was to introduce Lahti UAS to the incoming applicants and potential partners, to present them what school life and daily life were like in Lahti and to assist negotiating. Also, I acted as an interpreter translating for both parties.  The students and potential partners were amazed by different education environment and life style in Finland and would like to have more interaction with us. For me, our team is not only representing Lahti UAS but also taking the responsibility to represent Lahti and Finland.

I would definitely encourage students to take part in this kind of business trip.  It is an unforgettable experience. Moreover, it is not just a negotiating trip but more like a collision and collaboration between two different business cultures. What impressed me the most was that I could experience two different business cultures and find the balance in between. On the one side, our team from Finland were very relaxing and tried to keep the atmosphere light when negotiating. For example, our dean Jukka enjoyed making jokes to lighten up the mood. On the other side, The Chinese institution representatives were a bit serious compared to us and put on “poker face” when negotiating. 

According to what I have learnt from the trip, here are some suggestions for those who are interested in taking part in such trip. To begin with, they need to have good understanding of both cultures: Finnish and Chinese, so as  .to make the negotiation easier and smoother. Understanding the humor could be one of the main skills that you need to obtain. It benefits both parties when you get the jokes and translate them in the right way so either side of the parties would not get offended. In addition, they must easily adapt to different environment and have quick reactions. Because during negotiation, unexpected situations might happen and translating between two languages requires your brain to think fast and react fast as well.  

“This was first time when we had a student with us in China. It turned out to be a really good decision. Meetings were mainly in Chinese, so Zhimin acted as a translator. Additionally, she translated the internal discussions the other party had, which helped us to understand the whole picture and counterparts’ wishes. I can strongly recommend students’ help in trips e.g. related to global education services!”
- Milla Laisi, Senior teachers & Global Education Services

Text written by Zhimin Liang