On March 10, 2011, the Carlow MBA Program welcomed Sharon Feng, PhD, vice president of Business Development of the Coatings, Adhesives and Specialties Division at Bayer MaterialScience. Feng was born in China and frequently travels there for her work at Bayer and to visit her parents. She spoke to MBA students about the opportunities and challenges China faces in the near future.
Jennifer K., an MBA student in the Professional Seminar class, submitted the following reflection:
“Dr. Feng’s presentation was both interesting and informative. I admire Dr. Feng for leaving her home country and creating a very successful life for herself in the United States. This shows her strength, but brings about some challenges as well. In her presentation, she discussed the importance of family in the Chinese culture. It must have been a difficult choice to move away from her parents. I can only assume that her career path has been challenging as well. In the typically white-male-dominated corporate environment, this extremely intelligent Chinese woman has earned the title of vice president four times.
“One of my strengths is that I love to travel, experience new cultures, and meet new people. My challenge is that I would not make such a bold move to better my life. Vacation abroad: yes. Permanently relocate: no. I feel weak even admitting it. I have been saying for years that I would even like to move south, but instead I have been perpetuating the Japanese proverb: ‘Vision without action is a daydream. I have a lot of vision, but I am not sure how much action will follow.’
“In her presentation Dr. Feng’s discussed China’s rapidly growing population, its limited natural resources, its inability to meet its own need for electricity, and that it is responsible for an estimated 84% of the carbon emissions. On a positive note, China is heavily investing in alternative energy sources, and has ambitious goals through the year 2020. By that time, it plans to have 20% renewable energy, wind output will reach 122 gigawatts, and solar energy is expected to reach 10 gigawatts. Other goals include the addition of 16 nuclear plants in the next three years, plus eight more still in the planning stage, and seven new megawatts solar stations in Shanghai that can power 12,000 homes.
“From Dr. Feng I learned the importance of thinking big, and setting long-term goals. China certainly has its challenges, but has not accepted that these adversities will affect its tomorrow.”