In China, businesses are built on loyalty and honesty, says University of North Texas student Adam Hasley. It’s what drew the finance student to his minor, Asian studies.
After three years at UNT learning about the culture and business practices of Asian countries, Hasley was finally able to see how the Chinese business culture values honor and integrity during a three-day conference July 12-14 in Beijing.
Hasley, a Forney native, was one of four U.S. student ambassadors for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) China CEO Forum, where he observed international business leaders discuss the future of China’s economy and was able to speak with several of the executives to learn about their businesses.
“They were very interested in hearing what we had to say — what we as students care about,” Hasley said. “APEC realizes that we’re the future, so they want to incorporate us into the conversation now.”
For Hasley, the conference was more than a networking opportunity — it was a chance to experience a culture he has spent years studying.
“Words cannot describe it — it was an incredible experience,” he said. “It basically took everything I had learned and put it to use, and it shattered my own personal perceptions of how I viewed China.”
For example, Hasley said he thought before his trip that the Chinese hated their government, but he found most attendees are content as long the economy continues to develop. In one conversation with a Chinese student, Hasley said the student explained he was appreciative of Internet censorship because it kept him from getting too distracted from his studies.
In spite of these restrictions, Hasley said he saw that most Chinese students knew more about U.S. news and politics than the average American student. By seeing how interested Chinese students were in countries other than their own, Hasley realized what his competition will be like once he graduates college.
“It just really helped me realize that there’s so much more out there — they’re trained to be global,” he said. “It sort of put a little motivation in me to realize what else is out there and develop myself as an individual.”
He also was impressed with the differences between Chinese and American business models. A large focus of the conference was discussing how to incorporate sustainability and environmental awareness into their business models, a part of the assumed corporate responsibility there.
“When you go to Beijing, you can literally see the pollution — it looks like a fog. It’s just terrible,” he said. “They realize that if they want to survive, they have to incorporate more environmental awareness in their daily business.”
Hasley learned about the opportunity through Lou Pelton, a marketing and logistics professor at UNT and a fellow forum attendee. When Hasley contacted his professor about a special research project, Pelton suggested Hasley apply for the ambassador program.
Pelton, who is also the chief operating officer and vice president of the U.S. Virtual Trade Mission Foundation, said his longtime colleagues were impressed with Hasley at the conference.
“Adam undoubtedly embraced the APEC China CEO Forum with intellectual curiosity and appropriate business etiquette,” Pelton said in an e-mail. “These characteristics were not missed by the business, government and media leaders in attendance.”
After returning from Beijing, Hasley said he’s excited for his next international trip, which has already been planned. In October, he will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in Indonesia, a much larger event where he will be one of 30 student ambassadors, while international leaders such as President Barack Obama will be in attendance.
“I do think it will be a lot more of a broad focus — so instead of focusing simply on China, it will focus more on the globe overall and how every country in APEC can look at how they’re doing things.”
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.