Shanghai Residency: Tour Diary

6 08 2008

Medill IMC’s global residents are back from sumptuous Shanghai.

Shanghai was sizzling…in more ways than one. In the more apparent way, the weather was rather warm. It was common to experience temperatures up to 90 degrees during the day and, on top of that, the women among us had to wear business casual and high heels. But Shanghai also sizzled because it was a great trip in terms of the exposure we received to a new culture, new people and, of course, a new way of working.

19 students and two faculty members made the two week sojourn to China. The IMC student contingent was split into four groups. Two groups worked on the corporate side (Pizza Hut and KFC), while two teams were assigned ad agency projects (Draftfcb and McCann Erickson).

The team working on Dannon (a Draftfcb client) led a very healthy lifestyle during the trip as their work involved understanding breakfast preferences for Chinese locals. They woke up very early to be on the streets at 7 AM to observe food stands (and consequently fall asleep by 9 in the evening).

The Pizza Hut group had their entire schedule mapped out by by the client (including the weekends). The Pizza Hut staff also ensured that the team had their fair share of Pizza Hut cuisine!

IMC in Shanghai

Serious work in Shanghai

The KFC team tuned into amazing presentations one after the other and visited the offices of three client partners: Ogilvy-Shanghai (a creative agency), Synovate (a market research agency), and Tencent QQ (an online portal and instant messaging service).

The students assigned to Puma, a McCann Erickson client, also found themselves traversing the Shanghai streets to visit sports stores. McCann Erickson had given the IMCers a lot to explore, and they were assigned to build Puma‘s brand image in the face of stiff international and local competition.

IMC’s global residency teams also listened to a presentation by Yum! Brands on KFC, Pizza Hut and East Dawning (a Chinese fast food restaurant). The same afternoon Prof. Frank Mulhern gave a talk on “What is IMC” for Yum! Brands – China employees and had in-depth discussions with them afterwards.

IMC at YUM!

The KFC team with employees of YUM! Brands - China

It wasn’t all work though. Yes, we worked hard, but we played even harder. We went out at night. The students collectively tried many cuisines around Shanghai. Several of us took a trip on Huangpu River to appreciate the magnificent night view.

The IMC Welcome Drink on the night of July 7 was a great success. The venue, Bar Rouge, has a breathtaking view and served as a great treat for the newly arriving IMCers. In addition to the touring group, 7 alumni and 6 from the upcoming class of 2009 joined us (even though only two were part of my contact list). 3 more potential IMC candidates also arrived to pleasantly surprise us, and one of them had traveled all the way from Beijing!

Before returning we also gathered for a Shanghai experience-sharing dinner. We also united once more to celebrate the birthdays of our beloved Prof. Mulhern and classmate Bronwen Murray.

All in all we had a great time in Shanghai.

……….Wendy Hsiao-wen Chen

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