The Antai College of Economics and Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University is offering placement programs to help its MBA students gain industry experience.
"It has been the most rewarding experience of my year," said Glenn Budhi Santoso, a Indonesian student currently enrolled in the international MBA program offered by Antai College. He participated in one of the placement programs called the Dragon Team project and served as a team leader.
The Dragon Team project is a consulting program where participating students solve partner companies' business needs by applying the knowledge acquired from their MBA courses.
Participants of the months-long project are jointly selected by the school and the partner company through resume screening and interview, according to Santoso.
Each Dragon Project team is paired with an industry partner. "A Fortune 500 fast-moving consumer goods company in my case," he said.
Santoso, the team leader, and three team members "worked together with the partner company's project champion toward the strategic goal of the project defined at the beginning", he said.
Santoso found the three-month experience "nothing but very rewarding".
"It was the perfect opportunity to use the knowledge I've learned through the course material," he said. "This project is not a simulation－rather, it is true strategy generation for an ongoing vision of our industry partner. "My team had applied knowledge gained from multiple courses including operational management, strategic management, business communications and business analytics to approach our industry partner's vision for sustainable supply chain," Santoso said.
In addition to having been able to apply classroom knowledge, Santoso said he was also able to learn how to communicate effectively with different stakeholders, which is "extremely important for personal development", Santoso said, adding "I am utterly pleased with how this project has transformed me into a more professional individual".
Each Dragon Team is assigned an academic adviser who will help them during the course of the project. Professor Zhu Qinghua, a "world-recognized authority in the field", was assigned to Santoso's team.
"She mentors us in the academic approach to solving our partner company's needs utilizing her expertise in green industrial supply chain management," he said.
Professionals at the partner company had also been very helpful, according to Santoso.
"We received a lot of guidance and support from our partner company's project champion and others on the team, and we've even held multiple strategy sessions with the company's procurement director."
One major learning from the Dragon Team project for Santoso is that stakeholder management and communication skills are extremely important.
"I knew this beforehand, but this Dragon Team experience showed me a good example of how efficient a project can be through proper stakeholder management and effective communication."
These two can be learned through textbooks, said Santoso. "Nevertheless, having the chance to practice and personally experience it is simply priceless."
Santoso, who had worked at Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia before commencing his MBA studies, is confident about his future career.
"I believe the experience with the Dragon Team project will help me immensely in returning to work shortly," he said. "The experience of leading a splendid team and working alongside our partner company's senior management provided me a confidence boost to embrace my future career."
The IMBA program Santoso is enrolled in is one of the two full-time MBA programs offered by Antai College.
The other is China Leaders for Global Operations and both IMBA and CLGO students participate in the Dragon Team project.
Santoso said he chose the SJTU Antai College for his MBA studies because of the university's impressive academic history and reputation.
"The Antai IMBA provides key knowledge based on current world issues, taught by world-renowned professors, and coaches us in the required interpersonal skills to become better professionals."
The program also provides multiple opportunities for international students to immerse themselves in China, including cultural sessions, company trips and internships, according to Santoso.
He said Antai's location in the heart of Shanghai also provides an interesting first-hand life experience to feel the dynamic economic growth of this remarkable country.
The strongest skill acquired from the IMBA program, Santoso said, is the ability to adapt.
"This world changes quickly. Business problems become more complex and new trends can evolve overnight.
"The intense learning style of the Antai IMBA has equipped me with necessary soft skills. I've learned how to adapt quickly to different situations and address different issues, work with diverse team members to solve complex problems professionally, and readily step out of my comfort zone.
"It hasn't been an easy journey," Santoso said. "But I feel much more prepared to face the global, integrated economy."