March 11, 2015
Written by, Fang Tan, Shengxiang Business School
To expand student’s international vision and enhance students’ innovative and entrepreneurial capabilities, Shengxiang Business School conducted the second International Investigation Report and Silicon Valley Innovation and Entrepreneurship Elite Program (IEEP).Through open application, written and oral exams, 23 students were selected.Led by three faculty members Jingfang Qian, Feng Zhang and Yinfei Shen, they visited Global 500 Companies in the Silicon Valley, conducted in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs, participated in an International Volunteers activity in the Thousand Oaks City and toured the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Visiting Famous Universities
At UC-Berkeley, Stanford, UC-Los Angeles and Pepperdine University, the faculty and students received a taste of the special academic atmosphere. At Stanford, Prof. Yip gave the students a lively and vivid innovation class, reviewing the developmental history of the Silicon Valley and innovative and entrepreneurial environment, analyzing Chinese people’s advantages and disadvantages in the Valley, arousing the students’ self-reflections. The group also discussed cultural differences, entrepreneurship, innovation, studying and job-seeking with three Stanford doctoral students. At the beautiful Pepperdine University, a professor talked about the differences between speculation and investment to the students. His humorous teaching method deeply impressed us. The series of university tours widened our knowledge, letting us see the differences in teaching between China and the United States.
Getting to know Tesla
Learning about the Silicon Valley’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit was what everybody was looking forward to most on this trip. Our group visited Intel Museum, the subversive innovative enterprise Tesla Motors, and Triple Ring Company which develops new products integrating science, biology and technology. Guided by Director Amish of Triple Ring’s Strategic Development Department, we visited R&D laboratories and learnt about the most recently developed medical equipments. Director Amish supports company staff’s setting up garage laboratories for he believes garages are the most free and liberal places for people to wield their imagination, to create and innovate. Through this visit, the students learnt much more about the Silicon Valley and have come to see that innovation and entrepreneurship is not so far away from us.
Interviewing innovative and entrepreneurial people
“Interviewing innovative and entrepreneurial people” was the most important item on the agenda of this IEEP, therefore the students got adequately prepared for it beforehand. We were divided into 5 groups, each pre-assigned a specific task. During the trip, we conducted personal interviews with entrepreneurial elites in San Francisco and Los Angeles, including an airplane part design and manufacture engineer, an independent analyst of software development, an accounting firm partner and a global marketing counselor, etc.
The students learnt about the difficulties the elites met with during their entrepreneurial processes and discussed the resolution strategies with them. Through talking about initial financing, team building, company operations and management and strategic positioning, we could sense fully the atmosphere for self-innovation and entrepreneurship. We accumulated rich and detailed interview materials, had a taste of the hardship of setting up an enterprise and also discovered the significance of realizing one’s own values.
A highlight of every IEEP trip was the International Volunteer activity. This year what we did was to pave the main playground of the community center of Thousand Oaks City with tree barks to prevent weeds from growing tall. The activity also made reasonable use of the tree barks and helped to avoid environmental pollution. Even though it was winter, the sun was shining high, the faculty and students worked with full strength and paved the grassland with tree barks 8 centimeters thick. Afterwards, each student received an International Volunteer Certificate from the city government of Thousand Oaks.
Visiting NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
We were also fortunate to visit the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, an R&D center of the U.S. Federal Government and a landmark of American space navigation science and technology, whose history dates back to 1930 and whose founders included Chinese scientist Xueseng Qian.Guided by scientists of the lab, the students learnt about the establishment and development of the National Aerodynamical Laboratory.We visited the Mars Reconnaissance Simulation Base, saw all kinds of advanced space navigation products and satellites and communicated with senior lab staff workers about their working environments and experiences.This unique and splendid trip taught us profoundly that science and technology is the first productive force, while culture is a crucial soft power.
The IEEP tour was a search for and discovery of knowledge in the unknown.While experiencing the outstanding culture, it tremendously inspired our dreams for innovation!
Translated By Wei Ding