Reseberättelser Peking University Shenzhen
I studied the autumn semester of my second year of my International business master at Peking University HSBC Business School in Shenzhen. In general, PHBS (in short for the school) is a graduate school and primarily have exchange students doing their Master's or MBA, however there were a few undergrad students doing exchange studies here although all courses were graduate courses.
As for the school in general it is newly built and celebrated its 15 years in Shenzhen the autumn of 2019, with this said everything is very modern and updated when it comes to facilities and convenience although at some points it feels unstructured and contingent in some administrative areas. For the first two weeks before the semester there are introduction weeks were different activities are announced by the school and you get a chance to meet all the other internationals. Activities arranged by the school are formal and at some points a bit paternalistic and childish, but you get a chance to engage with local students. Apart from that there is a lot of space for leisure time and the nightlife of Shenzhen is quite good along with the friendly atmosphere at campus gives a lot of opportunities to hang out with fellow internationals.
Course selection is being made just the week before course start and you are not promised a place at any course, this along with an continued increasing amount of both domestic and exchange students being accepted to the school causing the system to collapse every time of registration, in the end you just have to choose a course, have several in mind before. The semester is divided into two modules with three courses per module needed to take as a student from Uppsala University. The teaching is very different to the teaching in Sweden. The teacher thoroughly goes through the assigned course book on lectures whilst none of the students in class listen, all Chinese student work on different projects at class time but are enforced to be there to pass the course. The culture is completely different. I will explain the structure of the courses I took:
- Module 1 Operations Management Workload: Intermediate Difficulty level: Easy The course is very uncertain on the examination, the professor goes through the course content throughout the course and in the end of the module you will be assigned a group project. Supply chain management Workload: Low Difficulty level: Easy Goes through the basics of supply chain theories, small quizzes and a group project. Socialistic economic theory Workload: Intermediate Difficulty level: Medium Fundamental economic theories and assignments.
- Module 2 Brand Management Workload: Medium Difficulty level: Easy All fields of marketing in a applied to real cases. Taxation and business strategy Workload: High Difficulty level: Medium Mostly theories of taxation and equations, fairly interesting if you haven’t studied taxation before. Less focus on business strategy.
- Decision Models and Business Game Workload: Low Difficulty level: Medium Very fun course where you work in groups using contents from all previous fields of business in running a fictional company in Excel. I’ve learned a lot through this course of how to apply everything from finance, accounting to management and marketing.
Living at campus
Due to the increased amount of international student you will be assigned to live with one other exchange student in one room with one bathroom. The rooms are alright with two work desks and a balcony, however some students applied for single rooms as the semester started and got approve to a higher cost. At campus you will find a lots of different food options, however don’t forget to explore Tsinguah canteens as well as the food has a bit higher standards. As for sports there are facilities for everything including gym, swimming, tennis, football, basketball, ping pong, volleyball and more. The first week I went to decathlon to by all different kind of gears.
Shenzhen is huge with a lots of explore both when it comes to night life, food and sightseeing. So I will list a few favourites as follows:
- Best food: Japanese restaurant with all you can eat and drink (including wine) for 208 yuan: 大渔铁板烧
- Best KTV: In Xili next to McDonalds on street 306 Best Brunch: Brunchatt in OCT loft
- Best craft beer pub: NBeer in OCT loft Best club: Oegarden at Coco Park
- Best Park: Shenzhen Bay park
- Best mall: Exhibition center
Other important information
Due to different reasons in Hong Kong you will probably not be able to get a resident permit hence, your ability to leave china during the semester is less although you could try to apply for TWO additional entries to leave during the golden week and one more time. However, travelling in China is amazing, Zhangjiajie, Chengdu, Xian, Shanghai, Beijing, Guilin is just a few of the cities that is worth visiting. All in all I had a very peculiar but amazing exchange period in China with experiences I believe is hard to meet elsewhere, be ready for complete cultural clash but be sure to embrace it!
Subjects that I studied during Exchange
- Marketing Management (credit3.0 )
- Strategic Human Resource Management (c3.0)
- Brand Management (c3.0) CEO
- Top Management Team (c3.0)
- Introduction to Management (c3.0)
- Marketing Strategy (c3.0)
At present, Peking University, Shenzhen Campus is a graduate school so it does not provide any undergraduate courses. I have to choose 6 courses (c3.0) which means 18 credits in Perking University equal to 30 hp in UU. Each semester is divided into two modules, and for each course selection, I will receive an email notification in each module. There are not too many restrictions on the exchange students' choice, but students who are full-time in some courses will be given priority to choose the course. If the course is full, the exchange students will not be able to choose the course.
PKUSZ followed the American teaching system but still kept the traditional education system of Chinese universities. For example, each major was divided into different classes, which was conducive to the cultivation of students' relationships. This is quite different from western universities. For course selection, I did not choose courses related to finance or accounting. Therefore, for courses related to management and marketing, the learning task of a single course is not as intensive as that of UU, but the workload of all the six courses is huge. Especially in the last two weeks, I spent more than 60 hours studying every week. And among the exchange students I know, UU has the highest requirements for course selection. Generally, other schools require students to take 4-5 courses.
I like PKU-PHBS teachers so much. They come from a variety of backgrounds. You can choose teachers from Asia, Europe or North America. PKU-PHBS's extracurricular life is very plentiful, especially in western festivals, the school often holds a variety of activities for international students to spend their own festivals in China.
The school offers both single and double rooms. But because there were too many international students in the fall semester, I was assigned to a double room with a Russian roommate. The dormitory building of the school is very safe with security around 24 hours. International students may choose to live on campus or off-campus. I don't recommend mainly off-campus because the price of off-campus accommodation is relatively high. In addition, living on campus allows me to meet students from different countries, which is very interesting. Generally speaking, the consumer price of Chinese food is much lower than that of Sweden, and you can find different restaurants that suit your taste, and they are cheap as well.
Since I am Chinese, I have learned much more about PKU-PHBS and participated in many 2019.09-2020.01 Exchange-Department of Business Studies Peking University, Shenzhen Campus more activities than other international students in a semester. I attend all kinds of interesting Chinese lectures and enterprise recruitment seminars, where you can get access to the most cutting-edge information of Chinese business, provided you are proficient in Chinese. In my opinion, PKUSZ represents the highest level of Chinese graduate schools, where you can meet professors with high academic level and Chinese students with strong learning ability.
Finally, welcome to China for exchange.
In the newly build business school on campus you will be challenge by overall excellent professors from all over the world. The entire University is a graduate school. The different majors on the Business School are Economics, Finance and Management. There is a quite wide selection of available courses but since it’s not a specifically big business school, the possibilities are not endless. If your major is Economics, Finance or Management, you should have no trouble finding courses. I found that the finance courses were on a completely different level compared to the courses in management. As you can imagine the quantitative courses are a challenge, however not impossible if you are prepared to study.
The courses are selected on two occasions and beware, the spots are limited and are given on a first come first serve basis. Once the course selection opens everyone pours into the system which causes it to crash, this will happen. Therefore, you will need to prepare and consider several options in advance. I also recommend accessing the network while in School since that is your only chance of getting your first pick options.
- Module 1
1. Financial Markets and Investments in China (General finance) (Easy difficulty) An interesting course discussing topics such as bond markets, shadow banking and financial regulation within a Chinese context.
- 2. Theory and Practice of Socialist Economics: Economics of Development (Economics) I do not recommend this course if you have studied the topic during your Bachelor.
- 3. Market Microstructure (Reasonable difficulty) (Finance) Great teacher and the best course of my exchange semester with professor Daniel Kim. I recommend you taking a class with this teacher.
- Module 2
1. China studies (Easy difficulty) A course emphasizing cultural exchange with company visits and cultural experiences. Did not include any written examination.
- 2. Financial Risk Management (Extreme difficulty) Provides you with a foundation to all quantitative aspects of risk management. However, prepare to study a lot. 2 exams and a group project.
- 3. Behavioral Finance (Difficult but manageable) Very interesting course covering the development of behavioral finance from prospect theory and EMH to today. Includes two exams and two group projects with corresponding presentations.
The first day is absolute madness so do not arrive tired from your flight or with too much clothing as the temperatures get tropical during the summer months and throughout a big portion of September. Signing up for a mobile phone, checking in to your dorm, creating a bank account with WeChat etc. Tip. Do not download WeChat until you get your Chinese phone number.
Most students at PKU live on campus since the dorms are very generous and cheap, especially for westerners. All the students live in five different buildings with around 10-22 floors and 15-22 dorms per floor. Domestic students share rooms of 2 or 4 people while the international are very likely to get assigned a private dorm of 16 sqm, bathroom and a balcony. Pictures can be found on the University website. There are no kitchens available in the dormitory but there are several affordable food options on the ground floor and outside the dormitory. Recommend that you learn how to navigate your way to Xili to eat Chinese BBQ which is more enjoyable than the canteen food, the university restaurant or Subway. I also recommend that you buy cleaning equipment and moisturizers for your dorm immediately to avoid bug invasions.
Shared room costs 3300 RMB which is around 4500 SEK. You can expect to spend a similar amount of money as back home depending on your shopping and traveling habits. A meal at campus range from 14 yuan to 50 yuan. Eating out is cheap, taxi is cheap, metro is cheap, clothes are cheap, but the thing is that it accumulates. Tip. Book your October vacation week (Golden week) early. Tip. Do not spend your money in Coco Park
Chinese students love to do sports and are quite good at it, don’t be surprised I you get asked to join them. The campus provides the students with fields and courts for badminton, ping pong, tennis, basketball, soccer, volleyball as well as a swimming pool and a gym all closely around the dormitories. There are also a lot of different committees and societies on the University and I honestly can’t tell you how many because it seemed like it popped up new ones every week ranging from movie clubs, golf clubs, entrepreneurship, marketing, finance etc. all arranging events regularly.
There is also a lot to discover by just sightseeing around in the city and it’s growing fast, from 1980-2010 Shenzhen grew its population from 30.000 people to 10.000.000 and currently the population is around 15-18 million, but it is impossible to know exactly. Shenzhen is the kind of like a small Silicon Valley in Asia mostly for tech companies and new startups who can’t afford Hong Kong. Shenzhen is a city in the making and it’s very cool to just travel around in the city with the very easy and cheap transportation system.
When it comes to nightlife Shenzhen has surprisingly much to offer! There are of course the famous karaoke bars which must be tried, as well as several bars and nightclubs for different tastes, a lot of craft beer brewery pubs and lots of different restaurants. Partying in Shenzhen is cheap which means you don’t have to plan your night out as much as you must in Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and all those expensive places. This leaves you more money to travel around inside China and all-over South-East Asia.
Make Chinese friends and travel as much as possible within China. Learn how to use apps such as Didi and Meituan. Overall impression Mainland China was undoubtedly an insane culture shock. However, my time in Shenzhen at PHBS was overall an amazing an unique experience that helped me grow a lot as a person.
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