Hello from Beijing! We arrived this morning on the overnight sleeper train from Shanghai. The 11 hour train ride was a first for all of us, and we succeeded in making it here without any problems.
From the train, we took a quick breakfast before heading out to meet James, the Director of Credit Risk at Standard Chartered Bank. Standard Chartered Bank is unique in that they are focused on targeting the emerging market sector of the world such as China, India, Southeast Asia, Africa, and others. The belief is that there is tremendous growth coming in these markets and the investments larger risk will be worth the larger reward. James’s job as Director of Credit Risk is to put the final stamp of approval or denial for companies applying for loans based on the information and the perceived risk. However, some risk is necessary to take on since the bank is reliant on the interest that will be received from this loan. In order to do his job effectively, James computes financial ratios to get a sense of the company’s financial health. From there, he takes the next step in personally meeting companies who he will be working with. He will then have the necessary knowledge to make the correct decision in determining if a loan should be made or not. James highlighted some key differences he sees between banking in China and America and what he sees long term for China. It was unique to see the skills and tools we are learning in our curriculum being applied across the world.
For lunch we enjoyed another traditional Chinese meal where everyone shares dishes. The Beijing cuisine uses more meat and BBQ influence which made it, in my opinion, the best food we have had on the trip so far! From there we went on to the hotel to check in and unwind a bit before heading to a shopping district known as South Bell Hutong. The area was much different then we have seen in Shanghai. There are parks, houses, less skyscrapers, and a more traditional Chinese feel. The night wrapped up on the lakefront watching traditional Chinese dancing with large groups and lively music. Tomorrow we have a long day ahead of us including the Great Wall! Only a few more days left and we are taking in every last moment.