Thursday, September 8th, 2016...10:01 am

A Semester at Sea and SUFE for Prof. Yuwei Shi

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yuwei-shiProf. Yuwei Shi is back from a year-long sabbatical at Semester at Sea and Shanghai University (SUFE) where he taught two social entrepreneurship classes through Semester at Sea. Through these classes he was able to recruit 21 teams of students, faculty and staff to compete in a Social Venture Challenge. Several “life-long learners” aboard the ship served as mentors and judges, and teams competed for $5,000 in prize money. “Everyone was dedicated. They were meeting with students all the time,” explains Yuwei. After a 103 day journey (48 days at sea), three winners were declared and Yuwei was off to his second sabbatical project, in his hometown of Shanghai.

Yuwei describes the higher education sector in China as “reaching a tipping point. Parents are not happy with the [Chinese] schools and are sending their children abroad.” As part of the government’s economic reforms, 13 universities in China have been selected to experiment with liberalization. As a result, Shanghai University created a new finance school called “The Model School for Globalization”. “It’s an exciting time in China,” Yuwei explains. “Because these experiments are government-backed, the ideas will not just stay on paper.”

Cue Yuwei’s consultancy at SUFE, where Yuwei primarily conducted design thinking sessions. Working with university officials, members of McKinsey and Co. and Ashoka’s European arm, he explored what students need to know in the world of finance. Design thinking, championed by the Stanford D School, is a mixture of empathy mapping, stakeholder analysis, brainstorming and prototyping. A visual recorder, similar to a cartoonist, typically documents the design process. “Design thinking,” Yuwei indicates, “is a highly sought after skill, and it’s something that MIIS students learn to do in Frontier Market Scouts (FMS) and DPMI.”

Professor Shi will be back in the classroom this fall, teaching the Case Competition Prep Course, Business and Global Issues, Global Business Strategies and the Frontier Market Scouts practicum.

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