Wu Fellowships foster globalization
For Chinese national Huimin Ma, conducting research at Berkeley Haas through the Wu Fellowship provides more than a personally enriching experience. It’s an important step toward realizing true globalization. “Cross-cultural communication has become more important not just for developing countries but developed as well,” Ma says. “For the U.S. and China, smooth communication can remove misunderstandings and strengthen mutual trust, critical elements to keeping peace in the world.”
Established by Haas Board member Hsioh Kwang Wu, the founder, executive chairman, and director of Straco Corp. Limited Singapore, the Wu Fellowship brings promising leaders from China to campus for up to nine months to attend Berkeley Executive Leadership Program courses, conduct research, and network with leaders. The curriculum focuses on leadership, managing change, and turning opportunity into growth and action.
Ma is an instructor at the China Executive Leadership Academy in Pudong (CELAP), which offers leadership training to officials from China and developing countries in Asia and Africa. Government officials from developed countries seeking to invest in China, such as Australia and Russia, also come to CELAP to better understand the country. Ma will use the new leadership training techniques, advanced theories, and practical skills he’s gained at Berkeley Haas to aid his CELAP teaching. For example, there is more small-group discussion of case studies in the U.S., which he finds beneficial, and some of the studies have focused on China, giving him an enhanced perspective on how to better solve management problems.
A PhD candidate at the Shanghai Academy of Social Science, Ma is also researching Internet governance, which involves both information technology and political theories, under the supervision of Professor Teck Ho, chair of the Haas Marketing Group and faculty director of the Haas School’s Asia Business Center. Ho helped him find undergraduate and graduate classes to audit, including California Politics and Intro to International Relations, and suggested readings and professors to meet. Ho also acclimates fellows to life in Berkeley, hosting them for dinners and encouraging them to soak up American culture.
The Wu Fellowship is one of the programs offered by the school’s Asia Business Center, which seeks to form strategic partnerships between UC Berkeley and Asian institutions. Already the fellowship has helped Haas expand its global presence. In January, Berkeley Haas signed an agreement with CELAP to provide a program in innovation and leadership skills to top Chinese leaders to help them understand how creative thinking and problem-solving skills can aid their decision making.
Six Wu Fellows have come to Berkeley since the program started in 2010. The first fellow, Diana Ding, founder and CEO of information technology service provider Edensoft, remains involved with the school as a member of the Asia Business Center Advisory Board, an annual fund donor, and a resource for current Wu fellows.
“The most important things I learned from Berkeley Haas are a globalized vision and the need for innovation and collaboration,” says Ding, who divides her time between her company’s offices in the U.S. and China. “Both American and Chinese business methods have benefits and drawbacks. At Berkeley I have learned, and am still learning, how to effectively synthesize the best of these different approaches.”