The CRRC (China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation) International Talent Development Overseas Education Programme, delivered by International Business School Suzhou at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, concluded on Wednesday 26 October with a series of presentations by participants.

The group presentations, delivered by executives who had participated in and graduated from the six -month executive education programme at XJTLU, highlighted key learning and covered a wide range of business topics.

Presentations provided practical and relevant recommendations for how CRRC could improve and embolden its international operations, as well as focused on participants’ overseas trips to the US and Germany, which formed part of the third stage of the programme.

Jiao Zhou (pictured below), from Qiqi Ha’er city in Heilongjiang province, is a division manager in the international marketing department of the freight side of the company, responsible for business with North America, the Middle East and North Africa.

She chose to go to Germany as she’d never visited Europe before: “Visiting Germany was very useful for me,” she said. “CRRC is a manufacturing company and there are a lot of similar companies in Germany.”

The Germany trip included cultural immersion, chances to listen to industry speakers and visits to companies including Bombardier, Siemens and Porsche.

Jiao and her fellow CRRC employees were particularly impressed by the workings of the German businesses they visited, such as Mercedes Benz: “We visited their factory and saw cars being assembled by robots,” she said. “The automation rate was very high, very impressive.”

Chao Gao (pictured above with Dr Ellen Touchstone, programme academic director), took part in the visit to the US, which included collaborative activities with elite universities including Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, as well as management training and company visits.

The trip was useful to Chao because of CRRC’s ambitions to expand into North America: “We’re setting up two regional subsidiary companies that are vital for coordinating our business, so this trip was very beneficial,” he said.

Chao shared some of CRRC’s exciting prospects in North America, including contracts for new metro systems in Chicago and Boston: “There will be brand new metro systems there. The designs of the train carriages are based on the Transformers films.”

He also revealed how brand recognition was key to CRRC’s development abroad, including working with different media including websites, Twitter, television and newspapers, to ensure people get to know the CRRC brand.

“We found that US people know about our products, the high speed trains in particular, but not the brand name,” he added.

The event attracted senior officials and representatives from CRRC headquarters and subsidiaries, such as Song Xue (pictured above), deputy chief economist and director of human resources at CRRC headquarters, and Jianchun Jiang, division chief of personnel division at CRRC headquarters.

Song Xue spoke at the event and noted the tangible achievements of the participants on the programme: “The internationalisation of talent contributes to our ongoing strategy. I hope that participants can apply the knowledge gained during in the work placement and devote themselves to business growth,” he said.

He commended IBSS for its “devoted and dedicated” support and spoke highly of the cooperation and close friendship formed through the programme between CRRC and XJTLU.

As well as the field trips overseas, the programme, which was the first to be delivered as part of a five-year cooperation, included language lessons and business classes.

Chao remarked on the quality of the Language Centre classes during stage one of the programme: “The classes were very interactive, with a lot of good discussion,” he said. “They weren’t purely focused on language skills, but also how to manage your time, how to find valuable resources from the Library and the internet.”

Jiao enthused about the classes delivered by IBSS staff during stage two on subjects including big data, business models, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

“Most of it was very new for me,” she said. “I graduated from university several years ago and it’s great to come back to a university environment where the professors know about the latest developments in their fields.”

“My experience at XJTLU was very positive and I’d love to return some day,” added Chao. “The people here are nice and the teachers have a lot of experience and offer very positive guidance.”

As programme chair, Professor Jean Chen, dean of IBSS, delivered a concluding address saying that the close relationship between CRRC and XJTLU could not be further strengthened without mutual cooperation and understanding between the two sides. She described how the relationship between the two had developed from a teacher-student basis to partnership and eventually to friendship.

She also expressed her thanks to IBSS staff members who participated in the delivery of the programme, as well as programme participants themselves: “I hope students on the programme can become representatives in their own fields within CRRC, while demonstrating XJTLU sprit and global vision,” she said.

CRRC is a Chinese state-owned rolling stock manufacturer with around 175,700 employees. It was formed in 2015 with the merger of China CNR Corporation and CSR Corporation Limited.

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