Today had easily some of the best visits of the week!
While we didn’t get to do any tourist stops since the remaining attractions were closing early, we still ended up having a good day! Instead of doing our usual hotel breakfast, a lot of us went down the road a little ways to a small fruit stand on campus. There was also a crepe stand right next to it, so by the time we left some of us had pineapple, crepes, and a coconut to drink out of. It was a nice change of pace, and it had a good, local feel to it!
Our first visit was to an architectural firm called RTKL. The talk was hosted by Richard Yuan, the senior vice president. We liked him a lot, just because he was so charismatic and enthusiastic about everything he talked about! He talked about how this company didn't do just the "big A" architecture, but rather create enjoyment- place-making, he called it-, creating a love for the place they designed and making an experience and a lifestyle for whoever visited it. Whatever the city didn't already provide, they sought to fill that need. He actually compared it to Las Vegas here in America- Las Vegas was just an empty spot of desert, but we built it up into a fantastic city of entertainment. He also gave us another really interesting tip- don't follow all the traditional rules, or you will fail. You need to be creative! Textbook solutions can't always save you in the real business world, so you can't limit yourself to what has already been done.
Following the talk, we got a little down time before our next company, so we went to another mall. But since most of the people in our group had blown our gift money already, we settled on just getting lunch. Half of the group went to the food court, and the other half I was in went across the street to an outdoor mall, where we got some amazing burgers and pasta (we were feeling a little overwhelmed with Chinese food at this point). We also got some Cold Stone ice cream, so all in all it was a very American break!
The only part we had trouble with was how when we were arriving and leaving the mall, we kept getting ambushed by locals who were begging for money. We've been told over and over again to just ignore these people and keep on walking, but seeing them ask you and your friends repeatedly for money when they look like they are in really bad condition is hard to block out. When we go into the downtown parts of the city, there's actually always one or two people with either a birth defect or a missing limb sitting on the side of the road or in a stairwell with a can for money. It's really a hard thing to look at, and it does remind you that there is a lot of hardship for the people of this country.
But when we did finish up our very non-Chinese food, the group made its way over to the Boeing office! This was a really exciting company for a lot of us, because we all knew about them, and Boeing has also been to a lot of RIT career fairs. Plus, their whole floor was designed to remind you of being inside an airplane, which was pretty cool! The presentation part was great, too- we got to hear some statistics about the growth of both the world and Chinese markets for air travel, but we also got to know more about how Boeing operates specifically in China. The speaker, Josh, told us about the difficulties China originally had getting into the market due to the Chinese versus Western business processes, laid out the 10 major tasks that China had planned out for the next decade in terms of air transportation abilities, and shone a little light on how politics plays a role in their operations (sending Chinese Boeing planes to another country's airlines only happens if the other party is in good standing or if they just did them a favor).
At the end of the Boeing meeting, we were done for the day, so we were finally able to relax a little bit (sleep, shop, eat, or some combination of the three) before having dinner at the Big Smoke restaurant with a RIT alumnae who was visiting China on business. But by the time we all got back, we were tired and ready for bed.
We've only got two more days! And only one more business meeting (which is casual wear, so no more business suits)! We're almost out of time, so we're gonna try to fit in as much in as we possibly can before we head back home to Rochester!