By Katie Tedrow
Just a few days ago, our Smith B-School delegation landed in Beijing. We enjoyed a day of visiting some of the city’s most historic sties, including Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden Palace. On Thursday, we took a different kind of tour. Though not historic, the stops on this leg of our journey were to see some of the most groundbreaking organizations impacting business and entrepreneurship in Beijing, China, as well as globally.
Our first stop was at the Zhongguancun Science Park, also known as the “Z-Park”. The Z-Park is a first class science innovation center that is home to over 20,000 high tech companies in Beijing. As Deputy Director General, Zhou Gouin, shared with us during our meeting, the Z-Park has been instrumental in supporting the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Beijing. The impact of the Z-Park to the local ecosystem is apparent by its sprawling 100 square mile, state of the art campus. Because of its global influence, it also has the ability to attract and retain some of China’s top talent.
We received a private tour and I’m still in awe of the technology we saw:
After our tour of the Z-Park, we had lunch in one of the campus’ cafeterias, followed by a visit to Lenovo, one of the top technology companies in the world, which was founded here in Beijing. We had a chance to play with some of Lenovo’s latest gadgets and learned the history of this leading brand. Quick fact: Lenovo was not the company’s original name. The company was originally known as “Legend” – Le and novo from the Latin root for innovation.
Our last stop was a biotech incubator where we met with the leaders of the organization and saw some of the scientists and entrepreneurs in action. In addition to space, the Biotech Center provides resources, such as connections to sources of capital and mentors. Our day culminated with a reception with our new Dean, Alex Triantis, at the Marriott Beijing. Attendees enjoyed networking with current Smith Executive MBAs, alumni and staff from UMD’s graduate programs based in Beijing.
Katie Tedrow is a first year MBA student focused on Marketing Strategy at the Smith School of Business. She has over seven years experience in B2B marketing, client development and corporate communications, and has a passion for entrepreneurship, social value creation and leadership. Katie is VP of External Affairs for Smith’s E-Club and will be interning with a financial services firm in New York this summer.