IBGA Students Learn From Real-World Business Practices

20 Jun 2024

Students from the International Business and Global Affairs (IBGA) MA program at XJTLU’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences visited the company Modula in Suzhou. Modula is renowned for being a leading manufacturer of automated storage solutions, particularly recognized for its cutting-edge vertical lift modules. This visit provided students with valuable insights into modern industrial practices and international business dynamics.

The trip was organized by Dr. Francesco Macheda, associate professor and programme director of IBGA, in coordination with Dr. Alessandra Cappelletti, the head of the department of International Studies, and Dr. Lingbo Shangguan, an assistant professor in the same department.

Dr. Macheda highlighted the educational benefits of such visits. "In today’s labour market, problem-solving abilities are crucial for addressing new challenges. By observing the functioning of an international enterprise and its relationships with suppliers and clients, our students can better understand and tackle the challenges these enterprises face, and think of effective ways to resolve them to maintain and enhance competitiveness in international markets."

Modula was selected for this visit because of its relevance to the economic theories taught in the program. "Modula is an excellent case study for understanding the dynamics of international trade and China's position in the global market," Dr. Macheda explained. "In a short time, Modula has successfully established a significant presence in the Chinese market. Understanding its success helps our students devise strategies to attract foreign enterprises to China, facilitate technological transfer, and focus on innovation, which are pivotal for survival and competitiveness."

The students’ visit included a tour of Modula’s facilities, where they observed the production processes. Juana Huang, Modula’s marketing manager and a master’s degree student at XJTLU, welcomed the students and shared her insights with them. After the plant visit, Dr. Macheda discussed the latest trends in China’s global trade relations, emphasizing the need to continue on the path of economic openness in order to stimulate technology transfer and technological upgrading. Juana Jane also presented Modula’s global market strategies, which are aimed at maintaining a competitive advantage on the global market. Following the presentations by Francesco and Juana, there was a Q&A session where students had the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the company’s operations and strategic approach.

Venessa, an MA student majoring in International Business and Global Affairs, shared her perspective: "The visit to Modula was an invaluable experience. Witnessing firsthand the manufacturing processes, from design to production, provided me with a practical understanding of this sector. This real-world exposure significantly enhanced my academic knowledge and provided context to the theoretical concepts discussed in class. Interacting with Modula's manager was particularly beneficial, giving me a deeper understanding of managing an international business and inspiring me to explore career opportunities within the manufacturing sector."

The trip to Modula is part of the Department's ongoing efforts to enhance practical learning and expose students to real-world applications of their academic studies. Reflecting on the success of this visit, Dr. Macheda and his colleagues from HSS are planning more business visits for students. "We are fortunate to be in an area with a high concentration of transnational businesses, and we must capitalize on this advantage," Dr. Macheda stated. Future visits will focus on strategic enterprises with high technological content, particularly those involved in green technologies, e-commerce, sustainable mobility, and information technology, which play a critical role in supporting environmental and social sustainability.

(Reporter: Yiyi Gu)

20 Jun 2024